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Leading Teams Through Market Shifts

By OpenComp


During an economic downturn, it is imperative that people leaders know what and what not to do, especially when leading a global team.

Sheri Kelleher, the Senior Vice President of People Success at Incorta, has helped high-growth organizations navigate shifting economies several times. Incorta is a customer of OpenComp's compensation data, benchmarking, design, and activation tools.

Join us as we discuss:

  • How being an ally to your team outperforms traditional feedback
  • A strategic way to approach organizational redesign and budget cuts
  • Building a global team while keeping regional nuances
  • The importance of compensation data




CAITLIN ALLEN: Welcome to High Growth matters and open comp podcast for influential players in the pre IPO ecosystem. This show shares insider knowledge about building a badass business and the expert conversation you're about to hear. We'll cover everything you need to know about hiring and retention, fundraising, leadership, diversity, and more. Let's get to it. Welcome, everybody. Today, we are talking to five time Human Resources executive for high growth companies, Sheri Kelleher, her who is currently the senior vice president of people success at Incorta. Welcome Sheri, we are so excited to talk to you. And, folks, this is not the first economic downturn that we're living in that Sherry has ever navigated. So today, we are going to dive into what to do what never ever to do when the market shifts, particularly when you're leading a global team. And we'll also talk about something that's top of mind for leaders right now, which is retention, Sheri is going to share some advice for people, managers and stay until the end, because we have a super fun Saturday Night Live Inspired question, as we conclude. So Sheri, let's dive into your amazing background to let everyone know a little bit of what you're bringing to the table. Our listeners are operators at high growth companies, much like the ones you've been a part of. So please tell us a SparkNotes version of of you and how you got here.

SHERI KELLEHER: Great. Well, thanks for the introduction, Caitlin. It's nice to be here with you in Nancy. Yeah, I've been in HR for like, you know, on and off for about 25 years, which is amazing, since I'm only 35. I started when I was 10. I'm kidding. But But yeah, I mean, my journey started, you know, and at BCG, actually as a recruiting associate, and then I just went into a startup after that, you know, kind of kind of went in, in the recruiting side, and then ended up just moving over to to straight HR, mostly with startups. But I did land a couple of times at, you know, a more established privately held company. And, and, you know, have just kind of like Gone with the flow, you know, really before I'm now at Incorta, which is a startup based in San Mateo, data analytics startup. Before that, I was at a biotech company called Berkeley lights, and we went public during the pandemic actually helped work on some of it was, it was a crazy ride, we actually had people coming into our labs, you know, really working on site and going public, you know, and navigating the unprecedented times, and it was a wild ride. A lot of fun. A lot of lessons learned from that one. But, but now I'm at Incorta, you know, a really great, fast paced, data analytic company, and I'm still learning every day. And, you know, using my wonderful network to help me along the way, that's great.


CAITLIN ALLEN: Out of curiosity, Sheri, I know, Incorta, I think just raised a series D round. And obviously, your previous employer went went public, what's the breadth of kind of funding stages you've been a part of, and maybe team size as well, just so our users have a context or some of the information you're going to share?

SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah, you know, at Berkeley lights, we did our series D, and then we went public. And so at Incorta, we just our series D, we're not ready to go public. Now, of course, but I don't know if there will be, you know, another fundraising round, or what will happen next. But, you know, my sweet spot has really been in that like, you know, 500 to 1000. person company. And my sweet spot, I should say, is actually under 500, you know, that the high growth phase is where I've just really enjoyed and been able to contribute the most. So I haven't worked for a company that's 10,000 person company. I'm not sure how I would do that company, because I might be like, a little too, too structured for me, I don't know, like, I kind of get super excited about the end of spectrum, you know, Chicken Little way of working like, Oh, my God, let's fix this, you know, so. So, I mean, I do love it, I like having no process and then putting in processes, you know, to to kind of build trust and build consistency. So that's my background.


NANCY CONNERY: Thanks, Sheri, you have done amazing work at many companies, and they are all very lucky beneficiaries of your experience. And we actually share the same love for stages of companies. So that's wonderful. As the economy, you know, is shifting right before our eyes. What are common mistakes that high growth companies tend to make? And how do you see that they respond?


SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah, you know, it's super interesting. And we're in it right now. Right? Like, I think, you know, it's so fascinating. If you would ask for months ago, what our you know, strategy was it's wildly different, you know, and so, I think, you know, From my perspective, I think that the biggest mistake would be a knee jerk, right. And so I do think to say, like, oh my god, you know, and for our company to, we really start to dive into operating expense, you know, op x op x, but trusting your team and having built that foundation is super important. And so the knee jerk of like, Hey, you got to, you know, you got to carve off 10%, or whatever, I think that that is a mistake, because, you know, you don't know the unintended negative consequences of those quick actions are hard to overcome. And so, you know, for my company, you know, one of the things that was super important is to establish a lot of, you know, performance management, like driving performance from the beginning, you know, we didn't have a great process. And so coming in and doing, you know, quarterly check ins, and a non box, when we got to this position, where we're like, Oh, hey, wait a minute, you know, we might want to be really diligent, we had the compensation data to say, who are the business detractors right now, right. And we can't afford to necessarily, you know, in a great system, you'd have people that maybe needed some skill set training and things like that. But when the going gets tough, we don't really have time to dedicate to that versus dedicated that time to our top performers. And so we were ready to go with the people that were really detracting from our business into we make quick decisions, you know, but I think the knee jerk, let's just do this without really having been able to vet it, or understanding who does what, in these crazy times with everyone, there's a lot of hats. That's a big mistake. 

CAITLIN ALLEN: Out of curiosity, at what stage? Maybe, maybe team size is the right way to answer this question. But when do you see companies start developing merit cycles? And when should they start?

SHERI KELLEHER: Gosh, you know, I want every answer. It depends. You know, I think it's important early on, right? Because I mean, I think that when you're when you're a brand new company, you know, you're not a name company, you're kind of bringing in people from your network, right? That's the way it goes. And so I think early on establishing some sort of performance communication cycle is, is super important. Because it creates, it creates some consistency, right? And it doesn't feel like favoritism. And it doesn't, you know, just be like, Oh, I worked with that guy before, you know, he's immune from this or that. So I think at the early stage, you should always be doing these check ins, you know, deliberately, obviously, like, oh, I don't need to know how great someone is that communication? I could probably hear that. But I would like to sit down with people quarterly and ask, you know, maybe five really deliberate questions, right? What was tough last quarter? What do you need for this quarter? You know, how are things going? Like? What what are you? What are you getting out of it? What what, how can I help you and really change the kind of the culture into being an ally versus a critic? You know, we're all grown ups here. Right? And we're all probably pretty smart. Um, so I think that doing something deliberately early on is when, as soon as you can, you know, I don't I think as soon as I come in, that's what I like to do. Just because I can already see like, oh, this group, just they kind of keep it in the back of their head, you know. 

CAITLIN ALLEN: So that's a no you another question, Nancy. But just sharing something really quickly that our team has done that I've really enjoyed, we're, we have something that we do every 90 days. So quarterly as well, I collect pure feedback on we call them glows and grows. So two or three things, people are doing great two or three things they could work on. And then I anonymize the feedback and document it. And then also document my two or three glows or grows as their manager. And we start that the session together where they tell me how they think they're doing so I kind of can get a sense of their self awareness, then I share with them my feedback, and then follow up with the document. And it's actually, like, sometimes peer reviews can take so long, but it on average, I think it probably takes about, I don't know, 60 minutes to prepare. And then you've got the 30 minute meetings, which is really, I've really enjoyed it. And with a team, like mine, that's, you know, kind of in like late 20s, early 30s. It's something they really appreciate.

SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah, I love that. Caitlin, I think that kind of getting real. And Nancy, you probably you probably taught me this, you know, at one of the times that I've worked with you, but I think just being real, instead of being formulaic is always going to move the needle, you know, when you tell someone Oh performance, valence band, or performance improvement, or whatever you decide to call it, whatever clever name, I've come up with video of him. But um, you know, when he was talking about that, people start thinking, Oh, my gosh, I have to give constructive feedback or whatever. And I don't think that that's the case. I think that, you know, we, I have been really trying in my team to change the story, right? To be an ally to your people. This is a one on one meeting. It's not going to take any longer than that, right? It's just deliberate. And it's maybe it's documented so that you can refer to it, right? And so, I think that it's time to step away from like, whoa, you know, your meeting, you could have done better at blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I know, okay, I was in that meeting. And so, instead of, you know, coming to someone and saying, Hey, I saw that meeting, she was pretty frustrated. You know, I know you've got it, but let me know if you need Help. That's an ally, right? That's someone who you will go to for everything. And I think changing the voiceover for what performance feedback means, because we need it, I need it. Am I hitting the mark? What is the mark? You know, I think that that is a game changer. And I love what you've done with the glows. I can't remember what you need it. But I think that that's fabulous. Because we want to know what we're doing good. We hold on to what we're doing bad. I'll tell you right now, like, I just messed up something. And I'm going to be writing that down and kicking myself later, you know. So that's super important. And then how you're contributing is really important, and I have the benefit of having six teenagers. And so that generation, they they try hard, you know that they give 110%, when they're going to do something, they do it fully right. And they need to that feedback for it. How does this matter? You know, so I've had the benefit of having these, like reverse mentors every day, every single day, you know, help me to be like, oh, you know what, that's what's important to people that are really coming up in the world. So I think that's great.

CAITLIN ALLEN: I just want to double click a little bit into your your comment toSheri on the gut reaction, or the thing that people want to do in an economic turn is to cut budget, redesign your org, and sometimes, sometimes those are necessary responses. Can you talk a little bit about how, at Incorta, you have approached the last couple of months of going through those motions of or redesign or budget cuts? And Nancy, I would even be curious if you can speak to anything from your Salesforce days, or what you advise clients on this front to cuz I'm sure this is Top of Mind with a lot of clients at the moment.

SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah, I mean, you know, I mentioned that we had kind of a performance nine box, you know, in place, and so really looking at, at making, you know, deliberate changes in those areas was important. The other thing that I think is is important in a startup, especially is looking at the org design, and again, probably something that I picked up from Connery consulting, but you know, looking at span of control for managers, and making sure that you don't overload someone. So if, if all of the work is not repeatable, and it's like experience based learning, every day, a manager can't have, you know, eight direct reports, it doesn't scale, and nobody gets the I mean, you'd have for a quarter or two, but But beyond that, everyone gets super frustrated. And so I think that, you know, with the economic downturn, of course, you know, recruiting kind of stops being like, super intense, right. And so taking that time to really start to look at your org and look at, you know, how your managers do what the span of control is, how many direct reports people have, you know, who could have more, who need to have less in order to be successful, because that, I think, is is a mistake that people could make saying, hey, you know, they can handle eight people, eight people learning every day, and not repeatable work is really, really tough. And in HR, and I'm sure you agree, it's exhausting, you know, and so really kind of taking a look at what your managers can sustain. Is, is a, it's a great time to do that. Right? Like, look at your organization and make sure that it's it's designed well, and that it works for everyone.

NANCY CONNERY: Yeah, I think it's also a great opportunity to look deep in your organization and see some of the projects, the operational internal projects that maybe got deprioritize over that period of time, and looking at the skill set of your team members, and how you can have them stretch a little bit without overloading them, but learn new skills that benefit the business that lead you to additional operational excellence. And we've actually done a lot of that on the Connery consulting side over this period to is looking at kind of what are the those core skills that are transferable? And how does that translate into the projects that have needed to get done for maybe the last five plus years, but there's never been an opportunity to do that. I think it's also an incredible time for you know, these folks and these employees to you know, build their loyalty for us to show our loyalty. It's a different phase right now, you know, we had the great resignation that happened. And now we have the reverse, where we have people who actually are appreciating their jobs, their roles, their managers, their mentors, and this opportunity to learn. So in a way, while it's a shift that's somewhat difficult, there. There's a lot of silver linings, I think that we can find during this period of time.

CAITLIN ALLEN: And I think that phrase is so apt. It's one of the example for instance, if expanding past your job role, we've got a few folks on our team that are doing the same thing where like one person who runs events has design experience. So we've canceled exterior contract help and she's doing a lot of the design work and they're great cases to really invest in your own career beyond what might be available to you, I think is a really valuable point. And I love what you said as well about just getting more operation really mature, leaning into how can we be as lean as possible? I think that that's a very valid point it,

SHERI KELLEHER: it's a really fun opportunity to, you know, particularly at a startup and, you know, we were opening an office in Austin and all that they're like, Okay, Sheri, can you go look at it? You don't even want me negotiating anything. And there was someone on our customer success team that I had heard in a meeting that she was a, you know, commercial real estate person before. And I was like, meet me in Austin, you know, and how fun was that, like, neither one of us had experience, I didn't have experience. She knew exactly what she was doing. She got on a plane and met me and we got this great office there. These are the like, these are the things that you'll remember. Right? But that Talent Exchange or like, you know, being able to be creative. We weren't gonna hire someone out to do that, right? No, no way, just as a start up, but it was so fun. You know, I learned a lot. She totally contributed and something that was not her job, you know, weird like lockstep now, if she's, you know, one of the leaders in customer success, and it's just a cool opportunity to kind of go beyond maybe your, your deliberate skill set, right, and just say, like, I'll do it. What is it? Let me let me figure it out. You know, so I think that that makes a lot of sense, Nancy.

NANCY CONNERY: Yeah. And I think also, as leaders, you know, one thing that we always remember is the people who went above and beyond. And you know, a great example, I think back, you know, share, you just made me think about this back to the Salesforce days where, you know, we were very lean in the early days, and we had our one front desk receptionist, and when she had to go to the restroom or lunch or you know, do something, guess you sat at the front desk and greeted people I did, right. And it's like, you do what you need to do. And by the way, that was some of those, that was some of the best times that I had the people that you've got to meet things that you saw come in the front door, and you know, going on, and it was just, I also just think it's really a great opportunity to look at the company through a different lens. And as long as people can have that positive attitude during a more difficult time in the workforce, it will pay back in spades.

SHERI KELLEHER: Absolutely. Yeah. That reminds me of that story, the guy that is like sweeping up, you know, that janitor or whatever, at NASA, and someone says, What do you do here? And he says, Oh, I'm putting a man on the moon, right? Like that, that has like, it's just so you know, poignant. Let's say like, oh, I work at NASA, we're putting someone on the moon. So and that's exactly it. I totally agree. I think there are opportunities to, you know, increase your operational excellence, do something, you know, that, like, just just raise your hand, those are the best opportunities when you're like, I'm outside of my comfort zone a little bit. You know, it's, it's a lot. It's a it's a great experience. You know,


CAITLIN ALLEN: I'm curious, so important. Global, right, you have a team, a pretty big team in Egypt, I think. And Nancy, you advise global companies right now, you took Salesforce global? I'm, I'd love to hear what, how well, you're building a global team. And when you have a global team and seasons like this, what are the important regional nuances that need to be kept top of mind, both for people leaders and for the teams they manage?

SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah, I mean, I think I think in times like this, and always is that there, you know, the, the idea of like, one Incorta, you know, with certain caveats, you know, is really important, you know, regionally things are going to be different, you know, regionally, you know, Egypt isn't having the same economic impact that we are right now. Right. And so, when we're, like, you know, being conscientious, you know, they're like, we're talking about, right, like, the dollars are strong. So, but but but we are one company, right, and so it does play off of each other, but I think, you know, for my experience, and I don't know how you feel, Nancy, but my experience is that, like we you know, communication and understanding, like optics is off X wherever you are, right. And so, you know, if one area is really impacted, you know, if it's Egypt and not as thick, we are one company, right? And so we rally together, and we do the best thing, overall, understanding the regional, like nuances and differences. And so I definitely think that the like, the best practice is being one company, lots of communication, and just being able to be honest and communicate it and then also listen, you know, to what's going on in that particular region, you know, so there's no need for us to not have interns in Egypt right now, even though maybe we're not doing an internship program here. Right. So it's different, right? We don't have to do the same thing in every single region because of what we're doing in one, but we have to be, we have to be conscientious of of operating expenses. So maybe we do something a little smaller there.

NANCY CONNERY: Sure. And I think also, you know, Sheri, to your point about the communication and being one global company, you're one global company, not a company that has more multiple different offices are headquarters. And I think that that's very important. And I think, you know, this goes back to the fundamentals of building a very strong culture right out of the gates, because that culture is going to permeate all the different geographies across the world. And if you do that, and you do that, right, and I think that Salesforce did an incredible job at that as a great example of a global company, Airbnb as well. And you know, we were front and center with Airbnb when they went global. And a lot of it is about the consistent consistency and people that consistency and pay the consistency in the way that you treat and reward people and promote people and build them, and help them build their careers. And so I think, again, to Sherry's point, that consistency, while recognizing the small nuances that come along with the different geographies, and the different, you know, kind of ways that maybe the Europeans go about their day versus Americans, but how do you Blend that all together to be one global company that also supports each other as well, it should never be set up as an us against them situation. And I think, you know, to the point of even open comp open comm helps you with that level playing field, you know, right out of the gates, right, and knowing exactly what you should do and adding in that transparency piece that is so important from the beginning.

SHERI KELLEHER: Now, I absolutely agree no to anyone fact, when we came to open comp, we were using Mercer in or, you know, Wilson Towers Watson in Egypt, and then we had, you know, some other compensation data here. And I was like, we're not using two different compensation consultants, you know, we are one company we had, even our LinkedIn was like, Incorta, AMEA versus Incorta, you know, that all changed, we had different bonus play, payout, you know, regimes, all of that changed. And what and I've been here for over a year, in one year, we got everyone on the same page, it was a huge undertaking for the people in our regional areas, you know, the RA Gyptian team in particular, that was a lot of change. They I don't I honestly that they're amazing. I don't know how they did all that change, and still just persevere, like the greatest people you will ever meet. Right? And we just did our recent survey, we did one last year and one this year, and it's like seven points higher. And they did it and they still love it, they embraced it, right? But we were honest, we, we came in and said, Hey, we're gonna do this, some things didn't work straight away, we pivoted, that was a bad idea. We're going back to this, you know, so I think that, you know, having a strategy, right, we want to be one Incorta. We said that from the beginning. You know, that was my goal. When I came in, I was like, not everyone's gonna do the same thing as much as we can. And we told them, and we did it. And, you know, using compensation to that is a big game changer, we use one consultant, and they work tirelessly to get us regional compensation data in a not so popular region, you know, so it's worth the effort. I think that being consistent and making sure that you lay that foundation is super important.

NANCY CONNERY: And putting in that foundation when you are, you know, growing, but not you know, a 5000 10,000 person company, I always say this to leaders, it's much easier to kind of get consistent behavior and practices in place when you have a couple 100 people, even 500 people, you know, once you cross 1000, it, you know, that is like trudging through quicksand to make the change. And so the sooner you know, to share his point, the sooner that you can kind of put that hard work and that consistency in place, it's going to pay back in spades, and especially during times now, right, where the consistency is so important globally. So I think that's great. And great to hear that you guys did that.

SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah, no, we had we had a lot of help from our great partners. And it's all the people right that the we put it in place, but they actually did it and embraced it and made it work. And I'm super, I'm really impressed with all the the change that that they endured, and then kept it going. It's it's pretty remarkable.

NANCY CONNERY: Great. Great. And then, you know, Sheri, what are the the top two to three worst and best practices that you see right now, you know, for empowering and retaining top talent?

SHERI KELLEHER: Oh, my gosh. I know, should I go with the negative first? You know, for retaining the top talent, you know, one of the things that that I think a lot of companies do, and us included, you know, oh my gosh, you know, this person is so important, you know, and when I need to give them a bunch more money, right, like so throwing money at the problem, which just a little caveat, that is my model in my personal life, like I might just throw money at that problem, right? You know, it doesn't scale, right. It's actually a very bad idea and you You never want to tell your children that you do that. But it's the same thing, you know, you can see like, somebody's like, Oh, this guy is looking for another job, or they have another job, you know, let's save him. Such a big mistake, you know, and, and look, I have said so many times, you know, prove me wrong, but But when someone tells you that they have another job offer, they're gone, they've been looking at that job, they've been interviewed for that job, they are gone. And even if they are the best person, and they might be and we may have failed spectacularly at recognizing it too late. But but saving someone or throwing money at them, you know, it's a bad idea, it creates a lot of inequity across the board. And it just feels bad, right? And that person is already one foot out the door. So what are we doing? You know, so I think that, you know, identifying all these great people and throwing money at them without using some compensation data is is a worst mistake. I think the best mistake would be again, you guys are gonna think I'm like a nine bucks champion, but but looking at your talent, looking at your top performers identifying that in whatever way that you do, right? And deliberately saying, How do I make sure that this person is happy and engaged? And you know, and these these important roles, like, look, payroll, payroll is really important role, right? That person might not be like, you know, a PhD in payroll, right. So like, that role is really important. If no one's getting paid, nothing else matters. But identifying the roles that are important, and the people that that are important, and then making sure they have what they want, and what they want might not be money, you know, it might be something else. So I think that if you have like the top 10% of your company, and you know who they are, you got to get to know them right? out what motivates them. And it could be money, and it could be getting, you know, taking a break from three to four to watch their daughter swim, you know, and I've had that happen to you. And I think meeting people where they're at is, is a big win every time. 

CAITLIN ALLEN: We've heard a lot recently from from business leaders, that retention is so top of mind right now, because of the costs of hiring new folks. So I think that's really valuable. Insight there. What, how do you approach things like meetings, which I think are you know, that's a really can impact people's experience, right, particularly in a virtual environment? What do you how do you approach those?

SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah, I mean, you guys, we got some serious resume fatigue, right? I mean, honestly, it was like, What have another meeting, I would be on meetings, like all day long. Like, it's like, you actually work all day long. I was like, what did you think I did when I left here, just lunch and coffee. But, you know, you get zoom fatigue. And so there were times and even in, you know, my company, now we'll send out something saying like, hey, you know, be diligent about your meetings, like, make sure that everybody in the meeting needs to be there. As a leader, if you see that your team has zoom fatigue, or that there have a lot of meetings, you know, shake it up a little bit, send someone to a meeting without you, right, let them stretch into something that is, you know, how the stretch goal, right, push them outside their comfort zone. You don't have to be in every single meeting, right. And I think that as leaders, we can empower each other. And in our teams, smart people don't need to be told which meeting they have to go to for sure. And, you know, and say, Look, if you don't need to be there, don't go so and so. And so, you know, I think that's fine. I think it's an opportunity for people to grow. Hey, if you did need to be there, get the Cliff Notes from someone be at the next one, you know, whatever. But I think not taking those chances and sitting in a meeting like, you know, not listening or typing away. You know, that doesn't really that's weird, too. So I think meeting refreshers are really good, I think just kind of stopping and saying, I don't need to be there. You on my team are brilliant, you can be there. Right? What do you think that sort of thing when I was That's my record.

CAITLIN ALLEN: When I was at Lyft. Our CMO at the time, Joy Howard, she branded this, this idea and called it Jomo, Joy Of Missing Out, which was extra great because her name is Joy. So I've actually taken that and we just started using it on my team too. For the same same reasons you're highlighting to almost like give not just permission, but like encouragement of, like, have the joy of missing out. Let's make it a thing.

SHERI KELLEHER: I love that. That is actually brilliant. I wrote it down just now. Yeah, I mean, I think that that is is so spot on. I think everyone would appreciate being allowed to have Jomo make it a requirement.

CAITLIN ALLEN: So moving on to a couple kind of final last questions that are quicker than than the first few. What is one thing, call it in three to six months, whether it's a piece of advice or a strategy or a tactic that you want to be able to look back and say my team did that? We implemented it. Hurray.

SHERI KELLEHER: That's a good one. Um, you know, I think like when I look back and think, you know, Uh, what I would be really proud of this is a little bit out there, but I'm just gonna go with it, I kind of touched on it earlier, I am a really big fan of like the concept of reverse mentoring. I'm not a huge big fan of mentorship programs in general, my feeling because I get a little negative sometimes is that I'm sometimes begging people to do a one on one, you know, check in with their own team, right. And so to say, and now mentor this other person, it just feels like it like comes up a little toned up for me, you know, and so, I've not really championed for a mentorship program, but my reality and being a more mature, older person, I'm coming into the workforce, and working with you know, some people just entering the workforce really bright, really smart. Just, you know, total go getters. And having been blessed with my six children, you know, three in college, I think reverse mentorship would be awesome. I talked about it a lot. And our core team, which is basically our D and I team, you know, sign me up with someone who is new to the workforce, right? Let me learn from them, I can impart my infinite wisdom on everybody all the time, I'll ask my family, I do it. But to help me learn what motivates people, right, help me understand why something that I'm doing is so five minutes ago, you know, and help me be current. And so I've talked about this on so many levels. And I think if I, if I had somebody that I would really love to be able to champion it would be reverse mentorship program, you know, and see how much I can learn from all of you know, all of these amazing, new to their career people that that we get blessed to work with.

CAITLIN ALLEN: I love that. I feel like it's such a it's such a good mindset to have. I don't know things. I'm curious. Tell me.

SHERI KELLEHER: Right, right. And, I mean, I there was one woman that when I first came to Incorta, I think this, she was so great. She's helped me with my social media, you guys, I'm so old, I was like, wait, what? And then she ended up she left, she was leaving, and I was on a call with her. And I said, Katie, you can't go, you are going to be my mentor. She's like, you are gonna be my mentor, you know, and it was just so fun that we both were like, you know, she ended up going and I still follow her on LinkedIn. She's amazing. But it was so fun. Because we both were like, I think I need you, I think I need you. And I love that I love that connection. You know, and I feel like, as long as I'm learning, you know, in the world, and I'll work forever, you know, but I don't want to just sit there and like, rinse and repeat. That's not inspiring to me.

NANCY CONNERY: Yeah, and Sheri, to your point I completely agree with with you about kind of the forced mentorship programs, I think that when it can happen organically, it's a beautiful thing that actually happens well beyond just that company that you're at. And if I think about the people who have been the mentors in my life, you know, they have, it's never been formally said, this is your buddy. Yeah, they're gonna help you onboard into the company, you know, when that happens, and it's it's forced that that just doesn't work. But when you can find that person, regardless of the generation or stage that they're at, in, in, in their careers, you know, it is really this lifelong gift that you have. And it teaches you far beyond just even the workplace, which I think we've seen that happen over, you know, the last few years of the way that the whole workforce has shifted and change, kind of this blurring of lines between, you know, work and personal and that's okay, now. Right. And so I think that that supports even more what you were just saying, so I think that's, that's outstanding, and I know, I've personally been the beneficiary of that as well. And it's the next generation that's gonna take us places so so that's right.

SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah, it is. Yeah. And we're so fortunate, right? I mean, being in the Bay Area, technical, you know, it and even in, in Egypt, I see these people new to their, to their career, and I am so impressed. I'm just like, Tell me more, you know, so I think it's great.

NANCY CONNERY: Yeah. And in that vein, you know, what's the most important advice that you would actually give to people managers today?

SHERI KELLEHER: Um, you know, I think I was I was talking to my executive coach this morning, that, that I love it. And he said something about, I said something about me, and he's like, who are you? And I said, you know, what, I'm just me. I think that, you know, having my journey is my own, but I think the most important advice that I would give is just, you know, there is no race to the end, right? You don't have to have the answer. You don't have to come up with the answer and get it done. I would say you know, what, be like be real. And it sounds so trite and I don't mean it to I authentically mean like listen, respond. You're so smart, right? Like be Real and create some sort of genuine asked me anything type of culture because if you have it, they will ask, right. But I, I would just encourage people to like, don't have the answer before you go into something and be real say, I don't know, let me find out that's fascinating, you know, be real. And again, it sounds trite and I wish I could explain it in a better way. But through all of my great companies, and not so great experiences, I've found being able to be real at Incorta the best, you know, living my best life for sure and loving it every day.

CAITLIN ALLEN: All right, so final question that's based on something that you said on our prep call, you commented on how there's probably a Saturday Night Live version of things that you say versus things you actually mean. So we're going to ask for a podcast version of that list and close up there.

SHERI KELLEHER: I know, I was getting nervous. And he said this Saturday, I was like, I didn't know I don't know if it's all like G rated. But I think, I think one of my favorites is like, maybe I should just do one like that. Like, why wasn't I included in that meeting? Or why wasn't I consulted on that, and you know, you know, ladies that you're like, because we didn't want your opinion, like, we didn't consult you, and you're gonna invite you because we don't really care what you think, you know? But then like, so that the version is like, the truth is like, Well, why do you think you're not invited? You're disruptive or whatever. But then I think the reality is like, you know what, we thought we'd give it a go without you. Happy to share with you what we discussed it if you'd like to join the next one. Absolutely. But you can tell this, like CloudSearch coming out of your head were like, because you're asking me that is why you're not included in. And so I don't think it's necessarily that nice. But sometimes you get these questions, and you're like, oh, my gosh, are we really going to do this? And then you know, I mean, I say this, but I know that that that person probably is like, wait a minute, I had something to contribute, or I felt left out right. So I definitely get my empathy hat on, even when I'm in my Saturday Night Live, and I would love it. Well, that you have when I said do you have one, Nancy? Or are there too many to share?

NANCY CONNERY: I think too many to share. But you know, I to you know what you just said though about I think it's a learning opportunity to for people to really understand that. They don't need to be involved in everything. And I definitely, you know, I'd say in my early Salesforce days, you know, when a meeting would get so big, and then you were, you know, very nicely or not so nicely moved out of that meeting, and then you got all upset and hurt, you know, back then it was more feeling like you were in control, I think is you hit different points in your career and feel more secure in yourself and who you aren't what you contribute to the company. You're like, Okay, that's great. I don't need to join that meeting. You don't need me, I do that all the time with my team, you know? And if they say, will you join this meeting, I actually turn it around, and I flip it back. And I say I'm happy to join. But why do you need me? Yeah. And I think that that's a very important point for people to think about, as if they're at any stage in their career, right. And it's not about you wanting to be catty, or hurt somebody, right? It's more about do you need to be there, maybe there's a better use of your time. And so turn it into more of a positive.

SHERI KELLEHER: Yeah. Asking. It's just funny when you get the you're like, how about your welcome.

CAITLIN ALLEN: Let's take you the context. Right. Well, I will say a wonderful note to end on Nancy, you just dropped some serious gold there. Sheri, thank you so much for your time and your insights and your amazing career and lending some of those insights with us.

SHERI KELLEHER: Thank you. And thank you so much, Caitlin, I had so much fun prepping with you and Nancy, honestly, highlight of my year getting to do something with you, thank you for everything that you have taught me and for being able to continue to work alongside you and OpenComp and Connery Consulting.

NANCY CONNERY: Well, thank you, Sheri, for your continued lifelong partnership. And it's been amazing just to you know, be on the sidelines and see the incredible journey that you've had and that you continue to have. So congratulations on on everything.

Thank you so much. You guys have a great rest of your day.

CAITLIN ALLEN: Win top talent while strengthening runway with open comm 1000s of the world's fastest growing companies use our compensation intelligence platform because it offers the most competitive benchmarks and insights available. To learn more visit app dot open up thanks for listening to high growth matters an open comp podcast stay connected with us by subscribing to the show in your face. favorite podcast player and if you like what you hear give us some five star love so we can keep serving up the latest info to help you keep building a badass company until next time


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