Maintain an open-door policy — your team is looking to you for advice and leadership. When they know your door is open, they will feel comfortable reaching out to you when issues arise. You will have earlier insight into opportunities and challenges, and see qualities in your team members that will allow you to identify future leaders or potential performance concerns. To accommodate larger teams or aggressive travel schedules, you may need to schedule these meetings as a weekly one-on-one to keep these conversations a priority.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Shreve. Stephanie was named Vice President of Customer Success at PowerChord in 2019. A 20-year industry veteran with a history of demonstrated success in marketing and brand messaging, Shreve provides a seamless on-boarding program for new PowerChord clients in order to expedite each company’s time to launch. In her role as Vice President of Customer Success, Shreve collaborates with potential and existing clients to identify their business goals and opportunities, and bring them to life through their digital presence. She provides ongoing education and training for existing clients to encourage continued growth. She does this through webinars, presentations, emails, videos, case studies and testimonials. Away from PowerChord, Shreve serves the profession through providing thought leadership to the Forbes Agency Council. Her education includes a Master’s degree in Communication from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Southeast Missouri State University.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I began my career as a graphic designer, where I was fortunate to gain a wide range of experience in web design, printing, event planning, and advertising basics like co-op fund management. Then moving to an advertising agency, I grew in my career as an account manager and was later promoted to the Director role for our largest client. I worked with our clients as they moved from offline advertising to place their first digital marketing campaigns, launch an email series and build a mobile-optimized website. These exciting transitions to stay ahead of MarCom technology eventually led me to my current role as Vice President of Customer Success at PowerChord. I truly enjoy building an exceptional customer experience where our clients understand and see value in the strength of their online presence.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
PowerChord hosts a biennial Digital Summit for our clients to introduce thought- provoking topics in the digital space. At our most recent event, held in Austin, TX, I had the pleasure to host an on-stage interview of John Ellis, the former Global Technologist and Head of the Ford Developer Program. We discussed the future of connected devices, driverless cars, data privacy, and the need for manufacturers to think like software developers. A dynamic and engaging conversation developed between our clients’ questions and ours. I was delighted to be part of this event that was designed to help our clients shape the future of their businesses.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I once shipped a box of DVDs (I know, I’m aging myself) to a client. I proudly marked that to-do item off my checklist and didn’t think of it again. I later was asked by the client about that box and realized that it had not made it to the client. The owner of the agency advised me that if I planned to grow in my position, I would have to learn how to follow through on tasks and button up the details. I eventually learned that while I may not be perfect, I should always aim to be conscientious of the details of any work I do. This piece of advice has served me well over the years.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
PowerChord is focused on building and expanding the local online presence for brands through their network of individual locations. This gives us the unique opportunity to work with worldwide brands, as well as thousands of small businesses. We strive to be an extension of their marketing teams — a true partner in their business to attract and engage potential customers to achieve business growth. It is truly rewarding when a small business owner sees growth and sales as a result of their local marketing campaign.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
One of my goals for this year is to advance our training programs to include gamification and personalization and to make them available on-demand. Many of our small business customers are busy running their company, and have not taken the time or had the training to fully understand the impact that hyper-local targeted digital marketing can have on their business. Through engaging and educational training, we plan to provide these customers with the tools they need to fully leverage the wide range of digital marketing channels available to achieve their business goals.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
I have been fortunate to work with many strong female colleagues and clients who have provided counsel and advice to guide the evolution of my career. Female leaders have an opportunity to seek out talent from their team and encourage them to grow. That may include providing training opportunities, or pushing teammates outside their comfort zone, but always being there to support and provide advice as necessary.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
When managing a large team, look for leaders within the group. These leaders can help you provide guidance to the less experienced teammates — this will help ensure that each team member receives the direction they need to excel at their work. The leaders will also receive valuable management experience to advance their own career. And although it may seem time-consuming, weekly one-on-one meetings with each direct report will allow you to stay close to their projects, and provide advice and mentorship. If appropriate, document your one-on-one meeting notes, which will be very valuable during annual performance reviews.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful toward who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
While an undergraduate, I had the fortune of having Dr. Susan Gonders as a professor in the mass communication department, as well as my guidance counselor. Before teaching, she had a successful career in public relations. She had a wealth of knowledge about how to convey ideas through communication, and pushed her students to write with the reader in mind. In addition to the many valuable lessons that I received from her, she was also instrumental in getting my career started. Knowing my goals and my skill set, she introduced me to a colleague to interview for an internship. That internship led to my first job, where I met the woman who would introduce me to my next job. The successful career that I enjoy today was set in motion with the help of Dr. Gonders, to whom I will always be grateful.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As a proud mom of two daughters and a son, it is important to me to teach them kindness, generosity and empathy. As they get older and have more access to social media and technology, those lessons become even more important. We have an obligation as parents and adults to educate our young people that their choice of words matter — both in person and online. As a parent, I regularly monitor my children’s online activity to ensure that they are making not only safe choices, but also kind choices.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Maintain an open-door policy — your team is looking to you for advice and leadership. When they know your door is open, they will feel comfortable reaching out to you when issues arise. You will have earlier insight into opportunities and challenges, and see qualities in your team members that will allow you to identify future leaders or potential performance concerns. To accommodate larger teams or aggressive travel schedules, you may need to schedule these meetings as a weekly one-on-one to keep these conversations a priority.
- Continuous learning — new technology is introduced daily, and you must continue learning to keep your business and your customers ahead of the competition. Even as an expert in your field, look for opportunities to expand your knowledge to educate your team and clients.
- Leverage relationships — your business partners and colleagues have a wealth of information that you can leverage to grow your company. Include vendors and partners in customer discussions when they can provide additional insight and information. Your customers will appreciate that you are willing to apply creative methods to solve their problems.
- Be of service — as a leader, an attitude of service will spread quickly among your team. When I find myself overwhelmed by tasks, I remember it’s my job to be of service for both my team and my clients. It allows me to step back and look at my tasks not as simply projects to be done, but as a way to help another person accomplish their work. Projects become more meaningful and productive — this mindset also prioritizes work toward those with the highest value.
- Take time for yourself — it can be very easy to allow work to overtake personal time, and sometimes urgent deadlines require it. Make it a point to make this an exception, however, not the rule. I have spent many nights working into the late hours. But when I made a conscious decision to stop, I actually received a client compliment that I sounded more “chipper.” Working late into the night, which I thought was done to serve our customers better, actually became a detriment.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As the mom of three school-age children, I see distinct gaps in the knowledge that children and parents have in the tools needed to keep them safe online. More education is needed for parents to monitor their children’s activities, and more education is needed for children to protect their privacy. Children need to be educated in a way that is relatable, and that they will take seriously, without instilling unnecessary fear. There are resources available, and a movement to bring this information to parents and children would be extremely valuable to protect their safety, while letting them enjoy the many benefits available to them online.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I am inspired by Mother Teresa’s quote, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” I think of this often both in my personal and professional life. Ideally my interactions with others will make their day better, whether that is a simple smile, a laugh or a word of advice. From holding a door open for another person, to letting a car in front of me, to working with a colleague to solve a problem — these actions all have the ability to make another person’s day better, and hopefully they pay it forward to another. Small acts of kindness can build a happier world.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Several years ago, I read Basic Black, by Cathie Black, former president and chairman of Hearst Magazines. Her book gave real-life, relatable stories from her career, with actionable advice for those looking to advance their careers. While her experience was largely in print media, not digital as mine has been, her ability to identify opportunities and her willingness to take calculated risks was very inspiring.
Thank you for all of these great insights!
Women Of The C-Suite: “Maintain an open-door policy” with PowerChord VP, Stephanie Shreve was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.