Leadership is running continuous cycles of learning and leveraging smarter people around you. – Lolita Taub, Chief of Staff at CatalyteFeatured
I interviewed Lolita Taub (@lolita), Chief of Staff at Catalyte a few weeks ago. Here's her take on leadership, crafting an intentional career and promoting diversity in tech.When did you know your career was your calling?My passions, values, and skill sets align with tech. I’ve found tech interesting since I was a little girl, value growth (this is the best industry for continuous learning), and love that I can leverage my execution and sales skills to drive returns, be it as an operator or as an investor. That said, it’s not the tech industry that’s my calling in and of itself, but rather what’s possible through it. I get excited just thinking about it!What is your best advice not just for building networks but more importantly for maintaining meaningful networks?Get on Twitter and be yourself. Be helpful to others and thoughtful in your requests. If you want to ask for help, please Google your question first. When you schedule a call or coffee, come prepared. Also, if you want an intro, learn the art of the forwardable, double-opt-in intro email. Complement all of that by building give-take relationships with people on and offline. What is the most surprising thing you have learned about leadership?A while back, I thought that once someone earned a leadership title, that person would know everything and be able to solve every problem out there. Reality is a little different. We’re all just trying to figure it out every day. Leadership for me is just running continuous cycles of learning and leveraging smarter people around you.How did you identify and strategically utilize your main strengths?I wish I could say that taking assessments like Strengths Finder and the Myers Briggs helped my identify my strengths, but they didn’t. Identifying my strengths has been a process of trial and error; it’s been the results I’ve produced and people pointing out my strengths that helped. One thing I’ve learned is that the easiest way for me to strategically use my strengths is to do whatever is at the cross-section of what I’m good at and what I enjoy. Try it out and see if it works for you.How do you make sure your voice is heard, especially in teams where you were more junior in areas you were less familiar with?I’d say it’s tough getting people to listen to you at any stage of your career. And yet, personally, what I’ve noticed is that if you read your audience, understand what they’re trying to achieve and help them get there by achieving results, people start listening. How have you felt yourself change through your career?My thoughts and approach to work have gone through a Goldilocks evolution. When I started my first job out of college, I joined IBM in their public sector tech consulting division, where it was normal to have spent an entire career there. So, I initially thought that’s what I was supposed to do. But my drive to change the world overrode that thought because, for me, the public sector was too slow and bureaucratic to make things happen. Then I switched to working in the private sector, where I would sell big tech solutions to big enterprises. That was a medium pace - again not fast enough to make a difference. Now I work in tech startups and venture capital. This is fast and, for me, just the right speed to make the kind of difference I want to make. I dream of a world where the future of tech is pioneered by the diversity of its population. And I’m working on making that a reality as quickly as I can through my work.--Lolita Taub is the Chief of Staff at Catalyte. Catalyte uses AI and data science to build technology workforces for the world's most porgressive companies. Catalyte has been recognized by 60 minutes, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Wired, New York Times, and McKinsey as a leader in creating diverse, affordable, and sustainable talent pipelines. Previously, Lolita was an enterprise fund investment partner at Portfolia and principal and director of strategic initiatives at Backstage Capital. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and IE Business School.