Role Models for the Rest of Us

Post by
Scott Francis

A couple of notes on two of my favorite people - Heather Brunner and Sandy Kemsley.? Last week I commented on Thinktiv and the great work that they do. But today, let's take a moment to thank Heather Brunner and the WP Engine team for their fabulous work.? WP Engine is a local Austin company that runs the BP3 WordPress site, among thousands of others. WP Engine is helmed by Heather Brunner, a strong leader in the Austin tech scene, recently profiled for Austin Woman!? She offers some of the best advice I've ever read on the subject of climbing the ladder:

?I coach a lot of professionals across our global team, and one thing I always say is that from a leadership perspective, the first thing you can do is exceed expectations in your current role,? she says. ?If you?re seen as somebody who is an exceptional performer and is exceeding expectations in your role, you?re more likely to have that next opportunity to move up.?

Demonstrating her expertise in certain areas of the business and being willing to take on challenges proved crucial to advancing Brunner?s career to the executive level.

?People who are the most successful executives have been a functional expert." [...] ?I was in front of the customer, finding out their needs, defining their requirements, putting together proposals and executing to deliver on time and on budget. Excelling at that put me into positions like senior manager of a large project team, then practice director, then VP of client services and VP of operations. Having a specialty and being seen as an expert allowed me to go high and fast.

?Be somebody who is willing to take on challenges. Go where nobody wants to go. Be the one who?s willing to take the problem. Say, ?I?ll do it,? and then do it well. Doing that allows you to dive into other areas.?

We're proud to be a customer of WP Engine.? Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, Sandy Kemsley passed the 12 year mark and 1 million words written on her blog!

In that time, I?ve written more than a million words in about 2,600 posts ? haven?t quite got around to writing that book yet ? documenting many conferences and products, as well as emerging trends and standards in BPM. I?ve collected over 3,000 comments from many of you, which I consider a measure of success: I write here to engage people and discuss ideas. Many of you have become clients, colleagues and friends over the years, and it?s always a thrill to meet someone for the first time and hear them say ?I read your blog?. I know that I?ve inspired others to pick up that keyboard and start blogging, and my RSS reader is still the first place that I go for news about the industry (hint: I?m more likely to read your site if you publish a full RSS feed; I only get to the partial ones every week or so).

Indeed, I was one of the bloggers inspired by Sandy to write my own thoughts down. And her blog provided references to others' blogs so that soon I built a network of single-author blogs to read, especially on the subject of business processes and statistics. I can also claim Sandy as a friend, and a colleague. We're proud to have appeared in Sandy's blog a few times over the years, with my particular favorite being "One Ring to Rule them All" !

I have so much respect for Heather and Sandy - who have walked their own paths and blazed their own trails and inspired others along the way!

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