5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO: With Tina Lux-Boim, President and CEO of Managed Maintenance
“Work/ Life Balance is critical to success. Being a CEO of a start-up is a full-time endeavor. Everyone does not work for you. You work for everyone. Without carving out time for life outside the office, burnout occurs. Not just exhaustion, but the inner conflict that it can create doubt on your ability to parent, love, relax and contribute to your community. Your confidence in yourself will diminish, and resentment and lack of patience will creep into the workplace.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tina Lux-Boim, President and CEO of Managed Maintenance, a cloud-based contract management platform. In this role, Lux-Boim oversees the day-to-day operations of the business, and works with the rest of the management team on setting overall strategy and driving execution. A successful serial entrepreneur, Tina has launched several businesses from the ground up and built them into multi-million dollar operations. She brings nearly 20 years of experience in the technology industry, with in-depth expertise in hardware service and maintenance and software licensing.
What is your “backstory”?
After spending 5 years as the Director turned General Manager of the not-for-profit National Police Athletic League (PAL), I needed a change. I was a single mom with a newborn son, looking for a position that required less travel and a shorter commute. I landed at Champion Solutions Group, a leading technology reseller, as its administrator. That was already twenty years ago. While there, I saw an opportunity around the company’s maintenance and support business — an afterthought for the company at the time — and ‘pitched’ how they could capitalize on this line of business. The CEO approved of my idea and took a chance on it. After just five years, this business accounted for 50% of the company’s gross profit. Around it, we built an energetic team, comprised of mostly young women looking to build careers in technology. From the ground up, our team built the processes and tools to manage the business successfully. This effort would lead Champion ahead of its competitors.
This line of business germinated into Managed Maintenance, Inc. I was its novice CEO, supported by this ambitious, smart and energetic team. Our primary tool, ONEview, would soon morph into one of the preeminent and transcendent SaaS solutions in the contract and maintenance marketplace. Today, MMI is a global player with clients that include Lenovo, IBM, Tech Data, Ingram, and more prestigious names. Our executive team members are recognized as leaders in our field and amongst the most influential women ‘in the channel’ by CRN magazine.
Since then, our team has grown and we have created one of the most culturally diverse companies in South Florida, and the even the U.S. Our corporate culture encourages innovation and empowers its employees to explore their potential.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The way our management team at MMI interacts often stuns new employees, especially our newer managers. Think of our leadership team as a cadre of sisters and two brothers. We hold nothing back. At times, there are high levels of emotion on display, followed by what would appear to be a group of lifelong friends headed out to lunch. We vigorously debate our issues and leave no emotion off the table. We are both family and a professional team with years of experience and expertise. Everyone who joins our management team gets indoctrinated quickly. It’s the quintessential confront and resolve culture, built on a foundation of trust. And it works!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
MMI is committed to our community and over the years has selected various local organizations, like Boca Helping Hands and Family Promise, that provide employees unique ways to give back. We strive for 100% employee participation in the program.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why?
- Learn to manage up. Managing up and learning to build trust is important. You must be able to provide constructive feedback and new ideas to both shareholders and the leaders of your customers. This is critical to my success and for developing solutions and new ideas for success. It can be a struggle to discern and balance this as the CEO. However, it is the best course for the business and for meeting the expectations of both my shareholders and customers. To realize success, a CEO must be able to manage up respectfully. The goal is to develop a trusting and open relationship. Like any relationship, open communication and trust is key to success. Without the ability to manage up effectively, it is nearly impossible to earn the respect, trust and support that a CEO needs to implement change for growth.
- Change is good, embrace it. The world changes at the blink of an eye. Successful businesses must be willing to change and evolve, always planning the next versions of themselves. When change becomes the norm and employees feel comfortable in a culture that not only accepts but encourages change, the opportunity for success expands exponentially for both the business and the employee. The workplace then provides a daily opportunity to be creative and to learn.
- Work/ Life Balance is critical to success. Being a CEO of a start-up is a full-time endeavor. Everyone does not work for you. You work for everyone. Without carving out time for life outside the office, burnout occurs. Not just exhaustion, but the inner conflict that it can create doubt on your ability to parent, love, relax and contribute to your community. Your confidence in yourself will diminish, and resentment and lack of patience will creep into the workplace.
- A good CEO works for every client and prospect. The goal is to provide the best solution and the best service for our clients. The conundrum is that there are times when our clients do not know what they want, or their requirements are in a constant state of change. Learning to lean on our experience and manage the client to a high level of satisfaction, while minimizing any additional cost or internal business churn, is critical to pleasing all the entities the CEO find himself or herself responsible for.
- Ensure that your corporate culture promotes your core values, and sets the expectation that every employee (regardless of their position) lives those core values daily. Employees should reflect those values in both their jobs and daily interactions. Accountability is one of MMI’s core values that we test every day. Accountability must be practiced daily to build strong relationships internally and externally with our customers. Trust is the cornerstone that allows for debate, and debate leads to creativity which leads to the change necessary to sustain and grow our business. We aspire to the expectation that accountability permeates every relationship — with each other, our clients, and our community.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, or I might be able to introduce you.
Laura Bush. I admire Mrs. Bush’s ability to remain graceful, regardless of the chaos or criticism that she has endured as the wife of a U.S. President. I have respect for the children she’s raised, even when their most tender years were spent under the scrutinizing eye of the media and U.S. public. Her children are well-rounded, successful and self-confident women who demonstrate genuine humility. What I find most inspiring is their genuine appreciation and gratitude towards their parents and family.
One might ask as a CEO, why is this the one person you would most like to meet? The answer is simple — a great CEO can certainly bring something positive to our world and make a lasting impact or mark, but the most important contribution any parent can make is gifting the world with a happy, self-confident child. I see that transpiring with both the Bush daughters, Jenna and Barbara. Understanding Mrs. Bush’s philosophy for raising a healthy child and adult, I would appreciate the opportunity to thank her for her contribution through Barbara and Jenna.