Brittany Benson: Thank you for joining and sharing a few minutes of your day with me, Regina! Could you share a little bit about your role at Sage? And how did you get involved in the world of technology?
Regina Crowshaw: I'm the director of the ISV Team here in North America. My team is responsible for recruiting and managing Sage’s strategic ISVs here in North America.
I've been in the world of technology for most of my career, but it's a bit of an odd trajectory because I thought I wanted to be an attorney. I was a Political Science Major in college and then when I got out of school, I thought, "Well, I'll go to Law School.” To pay for that, I became a Para-legal and I got my Paralegal Certificate here in Rhode Island. I soon realised that I did not want to be an attorney. Luckily, doing para-legal work helped me to realise this before I went to law school! Around that time, I was asked if I might consider a job selling legal software since I knew the nomenclature and was familiar with that world. I agreed to give it a try and found that I enjoyed software sales and I have been in technology and the software space from that point forward in my career.
Brittany: That's such a unique transition, but I love how seamless it was just based on your background! What would you say is the best part of your job at Sage?
Regina: The very best part of my job is managing my team. I have a group of such wonderful professionals and they just make being their manager a joy. I have to say that Sage, over the last couple of years, has made it so easy to be focussed on the experience of the colleague and to passionately say, "This is a great place to work.” The leadership framework that we use now allows me to concentrate on helping each individual colleague reach their full potential.
Brittany: You've talked a little bit about how management is important to you. What kind of impact do you hope to have in your role?
Regina: I hope that I am always trusted by my team, by really making sure that I support them and have their best interests at heart. One of my best managers in my career said, “A manager should always be trying to make sure that their team members outgrow them.” In other words, finding a way for them to reach so much of their potential, that they're yearning for more and trying to figure out what's next for them. I feel that my role as a manager is to remove the obstacles so that they can reach their fullest potential and do their jobs to their best ability. I'm always trying to figure out what I can do to help? One of the most fulfilling parts about being a manager is trying to say, "Hey, I see you, and what is it that you would like to do next? How can we help make that happen?”
Brittany: What do you think are some key traits that one should possess to be a good leader?
Regina: I think it’s not being afraid to hire and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are. Hire people that you think are superstars and smarter than you are. They help you as a manager to challenge yourself and grow. You always need to be growing to be a good manager.
I also think that understanding that you don't manage each person the same way is important. It’s critical to understand where they're coming from and to try to meet them where they are. Again, back to that trust, you need to be able to give them the feeling that they are both empowered to do their job, that you aren't going to micromanage them, and to give them the opportunity to grow and do what's right for them in terms of their approach. Mistakes might be made but overall, they will get better and better at working through problems and, eventually, become experts/leaders in their area.
Brittany: What do you think has shaped that leadership style? Because that's a very personal, hands-on, very human approach to how you lead people.
Regina: Partially my upbringing; but I also had some great leaders early on. There was one company that I worked for early in my career that cultivated an environment of being servant leaders. That wasn't the moniker or the popular term then, but I can look back and see that is exactly what we were learning to be: servant leaders. We always wanted to have either our partner or our customer hat on, always learning to look at it from the other person's perspective. What is your customer thinking about this interaction? What is your partner thinking about this interaction? At the end of the day, if they're both happy, you will all be successful.
Brittany: I love how you just touched on the customer aspect of things. We all know that that is such a fundamental, critical point at Sage and just the backbone behind everything we do. How do you ensure that your team is always working with a customer-centric framework in mind?
Regina: That's a great question. Because my team manages the ISVs, we consider both our ISV partners and the partners that sell our ISV solutions to be our customers. We have conversations on our team quite a bit about what the experience of working with us looks like from our partner's perspective and our ISV partners perspective. We're always trying to look at it through their lens and make sure that we are doing things in a way that makes both our ISV partner, our reselling partner, and our customer successful. We believe that if those interactions are positive and successful, we will be too. That is the way to keep it all your interactions: customer-centric.
Read the other colleague profiles who are part of Sage’s Women in Technology interview series.