Leading can be lonely. Hear Lauren Schuman’s secret for navigating the tough stuff.
The former growth lead at Sidebar, Mailchimp, and Mural shares a few of the toughest moments in her career - and her advice to others hitting speed-bumps in theirs.
Hey - it's Andrew 👋
I just got back from a destination wedding in Puerto Rico celebrating one of my closest high-school friends. PR was beautiful (and a nice break during a gloomy time of year in Boston) but after 4 days in 90% humidity, I'm happy to be home.
Below, you'll find highlights from my convo with Lauren Schuman (former growth at Mailchimp, Mural, and Sidebar) where we explored a few of the toughest moments in her career - and her advice to others hitting speed-bumps in theirs.
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Leading can be lonely.
Lauren Schuman’s professional life had just been turned upside down.
The company where she was VP of Product Growth had just gone through a dramatic strategic shift that directly impacted her role in a big way.
The new CEO was hiring a lot of people from their previous company, and Lauren was suffering from a major case of self doubt as she tried to find her footing in the new business model and company culture. “I started questioning if I even knew what I was doing,” she says. “I didn’t understand why I couldn’t convince the new CEO that I was good enough and had the right pedigree to stand on my own.”
It was a really rough time, but Lauren made it through with a little help from her ‘personal board of directors.’
“As leaders, it gets lonely,” Lauren says. “Sometimes you have support internally, but sometimes inside the company isn't a safe space. During that time, my ‘board of directors’ — my hype men and women — helped me see beyond the situation.”
In my experience, having a group of peers you can lean on is one of the most valuable professional assets you can have. We all have our ups and downs, and when you’re down there’s nothing like having a crew of professional peers who give you perspective, keep you steady, and pump you back up when you need it. Having that personal board of directors gives you a very real competitive advantage.
In addition to sharing how she navigated corporate upheaval, we also talked about:
Using common language when educating your team on the value of growth
How to assess feedback, and find helpful insights from the worst criticism
How employees are putting themselves in the driver’s seat of their careers
Starting growth from scratch at Mailchimp
Knowing when it’s time to move on
Specific things to listen for:
[10:20] Starting growth from scratch at Mailchimp
[17:40] The value of a professional peer group
[19:51] Swallowing brutally honest feedback
[21:32] Dealing with significant changes within a company
[32:08] Being selective about the feedback you apply
[35:17] Finding the company that meets your standards
[36:42] Knowing when it’s time to move on
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