From the CEO’s Chair
Welcome to a new feature for TutorPro’s blog! Every month our CEO Claire Loram will be authoring a blog post to shine a light on how she’s working with Team TutorPro to take this organization in new and exciting directions. She will be sharing ideas and insights, as well as communicating her vision for the organization. This month we’ve asked her to introduce herself to those of you who don’t yet know her, and to explain what motivates her and what experiences have made her the CEO she is today – over to Claire!
Hi there! It has been a busy couple of months since I was appointed CEO of TutorPro. Very soon after stepping into this role I attended the always-fantastic ILTACON in August with Team TutorPro, which was a long-planned event and so took my immediate focus. Since then I’ve been taking some time to complete the handover of the management of the company from our founder, Paul, and I have been spending much of my time at TutorPro’s HQ. I want to ensure that I really get under the skin of the whole organization so that I can build a clear strategy for our future.
When I was asked about what motivates and what drives me, the first thing that leapt into my head was my family. I love my job, I love my team, I love our Client Family Members. However, the thing that most inspires me every day is my fiancé Jay, and our boys Jerry and Aaron. I’ve never minded working long hours. I enjoy collaborating with my teams to solve challenging problems and develop exciting new products, but the inspiration that gives me the energy to keep pushing myself harder each and every day is the love I have for my family and the love and support I get from them.
When I was thinking about what to write for this blog it also occurred to me that many of my recent roles have been in our Client Success area. It might look like I’m a sales and marketing professional. That’s not my background at all, in fact originally I joined TutorPro as a software and eLearning developer almost fresh out of high school. In my final year of high school I chose Information Technology (IT) as one of my classes. I loved the subject, I did well on projects, but not so well on tests! I knew I could be good at developing – I just didn’t like sitting in a room staring at a clock. In fact after each less-than-great test score my IT Teacher would try to persuade me to give up. On one occasion he even said to me, “Why are you taking IT Claire? You’ll never work in this industry!”. Hmm… The truth is I like to be challenged, and I like to prove people wrong and surprise them. When I’m having a particularly hard or long day I often think of that teacher telling me I couldn’t work in IT, and use it to keep inspiring me to work with my team to achieve success. Knowing that people thought I couldn’t, drives harder than ever to keep trying!
The final experience that undoubtedly affects how I see the world at work is that I’m a woman in tech, now a woman leading a software firm. To be really specific, I’m a 5ft 7 blonde in tech! At the most basic level I don’t believe that should make any difference in the workplace but it does – in fact often slightly amusingly. When I’m out representing TutorPro at events I cannot tell you how many times I have been approached with an enquiry along the lines of, “I have a question for someone technical – which of your colleagues should I speak to?”. There was even one tech conference where I brought a friend to work on the booth with me. This friend was more reliable than any hiring other casual support for the conference, whilst she’s not very technical she is darker haired (apparently a key indicator of tech aptitude!). By lunch on the first day of the conference we started to play a game where I’d stand at the front engaging with those walking past, and she’d sit at the back of the booth looking bored and disinterested. People would frequently walk past me, even dismiss me, and go and engage with her. We could only think that they simply didn’t believe I was “serious”! For me this isn’t something that makes me angry, frustrated, or bitter – more fool those who underestimate me, and others, because of our sex or choice of hair color! I do want this absurd bias to change, and in fact this prejudice inspires me to work harder every day to prove that the me, the ladies on Team TutorPro, and women in tech– are all just as vital to our industry as the men in it. All of us at Team TutorPro will simply have to keep succeeding for our Client Family Members, and showing the world it doesn’t matter who you are, it just matters that you keep aiming for shared success and providing excellent value for those you do business with.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, next time I’m going to look at how we’re changing the way Team TutorPro works, as an even more cohesive team, working smarter for our Client Family Members. When I sent mailings or blogged as our VP Client Success I always asked anyone who wanted to speak with me to feel free to email. My email is still firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m still here to talk with you about how team TutorPro can succeed for you, or about any other subject in my blog!