Did you enjoy school?
Yes. In particular I loved maths and sciences. When I was younger, I wanted to be a pathologist so maths and sciences were a must.
What qualifications do you have?
9 GSCEs and 2 NVQ Level III.
Although I was on a path for university and pathology, I visited a uni and was really put off by student debt. Coming from a working class background, I just didn’t fancy debt so decided to leave school mid-A levels to start work. I continued my education but was gutted to leave school when I did.
Has your career path been a smooth transition, a rocky road or combination of both?
A smooth transition, although I can’t say it was all planned! I have been very blessed to have some amazing people around me who have been able to help and guide me along the way and helped me make good decisions.
What’s the best career advice you can give to others?
The advice I give is you need your own ‘Personal Board’. Imagine ‘You Inc’ – who is sat at your table? Seniors, juniors, peers, coaches, mentors. These are people you can share your plans, work through your strategies and help you skill up for the next role. They will also be people looking out for you when you are ready for a move.
If you had to pick one mentor who has had the biggest influence on you, who would it be?
I’d say, my first mentor, Andy Ogle, who was at IBM at the time had the biggest influence. I was 19 when I met Andy working for Ingram Micro. I was lucky enough to work closely with Andy, who then helped me set up the first big sales role at an IBM reseller. Andy also helped me close my first big deal with UBS for $6 million at aged 20.
From where do you draw inspiration?
I love to see people do well and achieve the things they CAN achieve. I love seeing potential in people to win, that’s a great reason to bounce out of bed in the morning.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced to date?
Sounds odd but my biggest challenge was recently completing my assignment to complete my Henley Coaching course in the last year. As I didn’t go to uni, writing a reflective assignment was really alien to me and a real challenge. After 20 years of not studying, it was a bit of a shock to the system.
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What qualities do you feel makes a good leader?
Focus, charisma, empathy.
You want someone who is successful that you can look up to – a role model. Someone with the charisma to make them easy to follow – but they do need the focus to succeed. I also think empathy, especially right now is key. Leaders who can help their teams achieve, whilst understanding the battles and challenges we face, means the leadership style suits the individual.
From a work viewpoint what has 2020 been like for you so far?
It’s been an interesting year. The first half of the year, I was working with start-ups helping them with Angel funding. Believe it or not, it was really busy. It’s been great to see so many start-ups get crucial funding to innovate in these tough times.
The second half has been preparing for Ping and now executing. Identity is so hot with our renewed need for remote working. It’s really exciting to be leading the international Ping team through these amazing times. We have lots of big opportunities to work with customers on reinventing their business and employee experience.
What would you say are the biggest digital identity challenges we face today?
On a personal front, am I allowed to say how many times I have to reset my own passwords?
Joking aside, it concerns me how much personal data we all put into the ether every day.
Why do companies need this data, how will they protect it, and me?
Companies have significant risk in collecting and protecting this data. Revenues, reputations and brands are at risk.
As we work remotely and shop remotely in these COVID times, company risk has increased overnight and I fear security and privacy measures are not seeing the investment to mitigate the risk.
Give us a fact about you that most other people wouldn’t know.
I like a little online poker. I once came sixth in a competition of one million online poker players.