The Industry Leaders speaks with Tracy Pound, the Founder of Maximity, a consultancy company, about demystifying technology and her pride in becoming chair of the board of directors at CompTIA.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
Around 21 years ago, I decided to set up my own consultancy and training business as I had just had a baby and didn't want the 124-mile journey to the office anymore! Then, when my husband decided to set up his insurance brokerage in 2006, I became his co-director because he wanted to use technology to have a competitive advantage and start by being paperless.
After a series of happy events, I was appointed Chair of the Board of Directors for CompTIA - the Computing Technology Industry Association, headquartered in Chicago, in May 2021.
What kind of work does your role involve?
My day job entails running Maximity, my small consulting and training company based in Tamworth. As well as training clients on Microsoft software, I might be helping someone with Sage accounts or payroll, or I might be selling, doing admin work, or marketing. Most of my time is spent talking!
As Chair of the Board at CompTIA, my role is to chair board meetings, sign off on expenditures over a certain value, and keep up to date with what's going on. I occasionally get asked to do interviews, some of which are written and some recorded. So my days are very varied. On the insurance side, I take part in management meetings and look after the reporting needs for KPI's and tracking growth.
What gets you excited about your industry?
That it never stands still. There is always something new to look into and many opportunities to help people use tech better. I love that we can demystify technology so that more people can understand how to benefit from it and see more companies succeed because they can grow from a solid tech foundation.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Be yourself. Be authentic, and if you don't know something, ask.
What's the best way to support aspiring leaders in your field?
I mentor people coming into the industry, and I'm part of Inspiring the Future, which links schools with business people to give career talks and encourage the next generation to look at a tech career. I speak at events and universities about being a woman in tech and leadership, too.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I have a lot of email feeds that focus on new technology, plus industry publications, networking events, and through the training I do.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
The most challenging situation by far, has been managing through the pandemic. When the UK went into lockdown on 23rd March 2020, every single piece of paid work we had on our books disappeared overnight, and, for four months, we didn't have a single piece of work. Managing the financial implications of this situation was one of the most stressful times I've ever experienced in 36 years of being at work.
However, we used the time to evaluate what we do as a business, our purpose, focus and values, and are now in a much stronger position than we've ever been as a business. So, whilst it was painful, the outcome was good. We have more business now than we had going into it, and we have more opportunities to grow in different areas which will give us recurring revenues we didn't previously have.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Take the next day off and book a holiday, and probably move house! On a serious note, I would invest in my business by moving premises, increasing sales and training consulting staff to help more people.
I would also start a charity around mental health with multiple streams
To help people who've been institutionalised by a lack of mental health support but are stuck doing nothing, with little hope and a lot of fear.
To help children at school who don't learn well by the ‘sit still and do as you're told’ method.
To help adults struggling with life in general.
I'd invest the rest - whatever remains of it.
How do you define failure?
There is no such thing as failure, only learning points.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
That we could have enough qualified people who want to join the tech industry.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is a great read for any leader.
How should people connect with you?
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