The Art of Success: What Our Leaders Have Learned: Part 2
Three different hiring managers, three different angles on success
(This is Part 2 in an interview series, for the first installment click here.)
We sat down at Banger’s, one of Austin’s favorite local spots, to chat with Main Street Hub leaders Navin Jagannath, Associate Director, Customer Success, Ellie Terry, Director, Brand and Communications and Luke Wilson, VP of Sales and take on their experience as hiring managers.
Here is the continuation of their interview and insights on how to succeed along your career path:
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on your career path?
Luke Wilson: My experience is probably a little different than these two other individuals. Growing up in a family business, you were expected to win. And you made it about the family business. It was not about you. It was about the name. Whether you were at the barber shop or the grocery store, your name was on the line. The largest lesson I’ve learned is that every part of my career has to be that way. It has to be about everyone else. It has to be about the company and the mission.
Navin Jagannath: My folks were first generation immigrants, so a lot of their growth was basically winning and putting the family in a position where we were going to be successful. And I was an only child, so like Luke’s point, you are expected to win. And I think that has been really helpful for me in my career path. For me growing up and on my career path, it was I’m going to work hard and I better see results from it, if not, I’m going to work harder and find a way to work smarter. I was in finance before this and now here it’s: You’re going to work hard, you’re going to be the best and you’re going to win. And then you’re going to coach other people to do that.
Ellie Terry: You have to learn from your mistakes, own them and be accountable for them. And depersonalize critical feedback — especially in brand management.
What have you learned at Main Street Hub?
LW: My path at Main Street Hub has taught me that change is constant and passionate debate is necessary.
NJ: I started out as a CSM and now I run the division: The whole mentality of I’m going to be number one. I’m going to put in the effort and the hours and I’m going to do right by the customer and by the company. And in doing so, I’m going to be on the top of the list. It’s going to give me the opportunity to take on more leadership and the opportunity to coach other people.
ET: If you see an opportunity, don’t be afraid to speak up — it’s one of our core values at Main Street Hub. I am fortunate to have built out a team of dedicated brand and corporate content writers here because I raised my hand. If you vocalize what you want, you will be rewarded and you see the benefits of that play out for your team and for the company.
What are you most proud of working at Main Street Hub?
LW: I have been able to do a lot of great things in my career, but I am very proud of taking a team of 40 sales reps and 2 sales managers and turning it into the number one sales team in the organization, and being able to impact policy, procedure, the environment and culture. Looking at the culture we have built, that is the one thing that I have gotten right that I am most proud of.
NJ: At Main Street Hub, I started from an entry-level position because I wanted to help grow the division. I have been able to do that at every level to this point and I am now helping shape policy, helping define what our culture is and grow it from a 15 person team to a hopefully in the hundreds or whatever we see down the road. So at Main Street Hub, that is what I am most proud of so far.
ET: My husband and I started up our company 3 years ago, and it completely resonates with me what every one of our customers is doing and the pressures they face. We took the risk to leave our corporate professions, and now I feel so embedded in our mission to create thriving local economies. That’s why I love it the most and why I fought hard to get this job at Main Street Hub.
What’s something else on your resume you are really proud of?
LW: Most people don’t transition out of careers. I am a third generation retail automotive dealer. When I took the transition to Angie’s List, I completely changed careers. I mean completely mid-streamed everything that I knew about life. I transitioned to this new role and did it successfully. I’m very proud of that.
NJ: Outside of Main Street Hub, my really diverse background. Believe it or not before actually getting an adult job, I was teaching scuba diving. I taught when I was at UT.
ET: Have you done the Barrier Reef?
NJ: I have. I actually lived on a boat in the British Virgin Islands.
ET: Stop it. That’s awesome.
ET: I have worked for 3 of top 100 companies in the world, 2 are in the top 10. I’m completely blessed in terms of training and development, products that I’ve worked on, sizes of brands and campaign budgets. It’s ruthless, competitive and damn hard work. They have flown me around the world and I’ve had a great time working in movies and television. But you can completely burn out (and I’ll never do it again!)
How can people get ahead at Main Street Hub?
LW: There are 2 really simple things. First, you have to have work ethic. Because you’re not ever going to do everything correctly. It’s just not going to happen. But you have to be the one that’s just working consistently all the time. The second thing is, you’ve got to ask for it. I don’t know how many times I’ve run into people heard, “I’ve been wanting to do this for years.” And I think, “You’ve never once told me that this is the trajectory you want your career to take.” I want someone who wants to take the next step. You’ve got to ask. There’s no shame in asking.
NJ: Ask the questions. We have people who believe they got get passed up for promotion because we never knew they wanted it. And so once you have that conversation, let’s talk about what should you do, what are the 4 things you have to get locked up and then, do it. If you can prove that you can take feedback and do it and you’ve got that hunger and that desire to take those things and execute and then build on top of it. And say, “I’ve thought of a couple more things that I could be doing better that you never mentioned and here’s what I’ve done to fix that.” That’s great.
ET: Create your own opportunities, persevere and don’t be afraid of rejection. Always try to exhibit assertiveness, a sense of urgency and a willingness to take risks otherwise you’ll never grow and evolve.
What kinds of people do you think succeed here?
LW: Resilient people. Those who have intestinal fortitude, because you have to be able to dig down deep to win at this job. This company is growing at such a rapid rate that you have to be resilient and you have to have fortitude inside of you.
NJ: I think there are 3 things that play into it. You have to be hungry, you have to be coachable and you have to be intelligent.
ET: Team players, there is no place in our world if you’re not. That’s it. We don’t need any ego. I would strongly suggest you need to be competitive. If you’re complacent, you’ll be overlooked. You need to have some sort of competitive spirit; it’s healthy. And you need to be humble, coachable and a sponge. You need to be able to take feedback the whole way through your career and not be precious.
What do you like most about working at Main Street Hub?
LW: The fact that we are accomplishing a mission with core values that are at our base. I would not have the opportunity I have today if it wasn’t for small business or local business. There are a lot of companies that grow as fast as we do, and have a great presence, but don’t have strong values at their core. And we do. And that’s what I appreciate most about it.
NJ: That you create your own destiny.
ET: That it’s small enough that you can make a big difference.
What’s your favorite Main Street Hub value?
LW: Win-win-win… In many sales organizations and as a sales leader, I have always been taught to handle revenue or the attainment goal. Our focus [at Main Street Hub] is on the customer experience, then the MC or employee experience and then the company as an overall goal. If you align all three of those, you are unstoppable. So that’s what win-win-win means to me and is also why it’s my favorite core value.
NJ: Take Ownership. I think we have a great company and there are a lot of moving pieces. I think having a value that is as cut-and-dry as Take Ownership is great because at the end of the day, you’ve got to do your job. And if you do your job to the best of your ability and you’re successful, then everyone else is going to level up and step up to the plate and we’re going to win as a company.
ET: I am Main Street Hub. If you can’t be the authentically be the brand, then you can’t be in this role. You need to be reflective of all of our values, live and breathe them everyday and set the example.
What is your favorite local business?
LW: The Texican Cafe in Cedar Park because I am a suburban person and I go there every Friday night.
NJ: Super Burrito. It used to be this tiny hole-in-the-wall place on the East Side. Some of the best food I’ve ever had. They ended up losing their physical location, but being resilient small business owners, they opened up a small trailer closer to downtown.
ET: Texas French Bread. I always get a coffee and freshly baked pastries for my daughter before work. It’s a father and son that own it, they make all the bread on the premises — it’s beautiful and feels so inviting.
Outside of Texas?
LW: Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant [in Clinton, Indiana.] It’s the best. My grandfather came over on the boat with the guy that owns Giuseppe’s. His name is Fredo. We used to eat there every single night, we had our own table… It’s still open, his son actually owns it now.
NJ: This place up in [New] Jersey called DeLorenzo’s, tiny little mom-and-pop shop, pizza pie place that my dad and my uncles, they grew up in Trenton, New Jersey, used to frequent. It was one of those places they would go, never have enough money and the owner would hook them up with pizza.
ET: Jane on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. Husband and wife duo, coolest cafe ever and employed individuals that were a little bit hard done by in life. Everyone had a story and it was the best way to start the working day.