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05 | Dana Pake, InVision: Hiring for Rapid Growth, Leading with Resilience, and UX-Focused Events

  • July 10, 2019
  • 43:33

Dana Pake (Senior Director of Global Experiences at InVision) shares her UX-focused approach to events, what it’s like to work as part of a globally distributed team, how to hire for a rapidly growing events program, and what it means to lead with resiliency.

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Top Takeaways

1

BUILD WITH EMPATHY: Key to Dana's strategy is a focus on user experience (UX). By following this approach she is able to make an even both immediate and personalized. "When you think about UX or product design, it's really about problem-solving. And it's problem-solving through empathy, and that's to solve business and human problems."

2

GET IT ON PAPER: As someone who is responsible for scaling a rapidly growing events program within a rapidly growing company, Dana has found that moving quickly is essential. “It's important to start with the 70%. Just get your high-level strategy on paper for stakeholders to react to. Don't wait till you have it perfectly tied up in a neat little bow, because by the time you get there, that train has left the station.”

3

BE INSATIABLY CURIOUS: Dana is able to lead her team through the challenges of a hyper-growth company by being constantly curious about their perspective. "Every week I do a checkout. It's a really simple checkout with each of my direct reports and it's just four questions. The first question is, what brought you joy at work this week?"

ABOUT Dana Pake

As the Head of the Global Experience team at InVision, Dana oversees over 150 events worldwide. She previously worked at Tableau where she grew the annual Tableau Conference from roughly 1,200 -12,000 total attendees in four years. 




Episode Transcript

BRANDON:

Everybody puts your hands together because we are welcoming Dana Pake, to the studio. Dana Pake, is the Senior Director of Brand Experiences at InVision. Dana, it is so awesome to have you on the show today.

DANA:

Thanks so much for having me, Brandon,

BRANDON:

Very excited to be speaking to you today about InVision. Your sort of design-focused approach to events. How you folks are scaling the company, and the event strategy with it. And a bunch of other topics. My first question for you, Dana, is how did you get involved with events?

DANA:

I think like many people in events, it wasn't a direct route. Though I suppose when I really think about it, it was in my blood to begin with. Now, the total surprise, I ended up here. I come from a long line of gathers. My grandfather was in the restaurant business more as a liquor distributor, but spent a lot of time in restaurants when I was growing up.

 

My paternal grandmother and my aunts have really perfected the art of the Dinner Party, and had beautiful tablescapes when I was growing up that were just so dreamy. And they inspired me. They really knew how to design where people sat, so that conversation was meaningful. I learned that at an early age.

Then my mother came from the Philippines when she was nine, and comes from a huge family. At the center of our lives was always some kind of gathering, whether for a birthday party or holidays, or just to be together.

Then her sister, my aunt had a catering business that growing up I was always a part of. But more intentionally in college, I actually didn't know what experiential marketing was and ended up as a PR major. Not because PR gave me jazz hands, it was more because I could carry the load. I had put myself through college and I had to make sure I kept my scholarship up.

But that ended up being a really good move for me because early in my career in public relations, I worked for Edelman, which is a huge PR agency. I was really fortunate to work on the MSN account, the Microsoft MSN account. This is really dating me, but back then they didn't really have a consumer play. They were more of a B2B software company and they launched MSN Better With the Butterfly. I had the chance to work on an editorial round table with Bill Gates, and launch this huge product in New York, and that's when I really got the bug to do events.

After my Edelman experience and getting that introduction to PR, I parlayed that experience into a hybrid role with a few small companies, where I was focused on all of our offline efforts. I worked for an online lead generation company in the education space, but I did all of our trade shows, and that's where I really got my feet wet. Then the universe provided for me and brought me to Tableau, where that was definitely a highlight of my career. I spent five years the lead producer on the Tableau customer conference.

At the time when I joined, that was an event that was 1,200 people, and by the time I had left I had grown to 12,000 people. I was really lucky there because it was a disruptive product with a cult-like community, which just on a platter handed me an opportunity to create magic.

Now, here I am at InVision, where I head up our Global Experience team. When I started here we were just a team of two and we managed both internal as well as marketing events. Today the team is 10 strong and we manage about 150 events worldwide.

BRANDON:

Now, I know InVision has a very handy tool that we use here at Bizzabo. I know some other developers use it as well. But could you tell us a little bit about InVision and how events fit into the larger business strategy?

DANA:

Yes. A little bit about InVision is, first we recognize that the screen is the most important place in the world. Whatever your company does, whether that's sell a physical product or a virtual service. If your company was born digital, or is becoming digital, chances are pretty good that your customer experiences are beginning, if not ending on that device in their pocket, or on their desk.

If you think about a brand in a given day, your own interactions could be checking your bank statement, or renting a movie, hailing a car ride. More and more companies are recognizing that they can win or lose with a simple swipe of the thumb. Right? And that means if those digital experiences aren't great, they are bound to lose customers. That's really where InVision comes in, is we help make those companies make really great digital experiences.

You can think of InVision as an operating system for building digital products. Everywhere from ideation to creation, all the way through the connected workflow to designer, developer hand-off. The really interesting about that is we do all of that as a fully distributed company.

What that means is we are completely remote. Our founders even are not sitting somewhere in HQ. They are sitting in their home offices, as are the other almost thousand members of InVision, who are across almost 30 countries now, servicing 500 million users. Even our day to day is happening on a screen.

BRANDON:

Right. That's huge. A very digital-focused company. As you mentioned, the screen is just critical to how we're engaging with all sorts of things, even events in some cases. The fact that you're distributed, is something that really stands out to me. What sort of challenges does that create for an events team, when you are working with one another across the globe, in some cases?

DANA:

I think on the events side it's not as difficult as it seems, because as many of your listeners know, you're road warriors, you're distributed by nature. Even if your company has a headquarters, right? Being in events, you need to know how to be resourceful and get the information you need, when you're not face to face.

I think what makes it harder on the planning side is working with the different teams across the organization, where information can be siloed. You have to be completely proactive and aggressive about where you're going to go get that information.

For us, the way we do that, or the way I do it is I'm a voyeur on every single slack channel. Even if I think it has anything remotely to do with an event or can feed content into an event, or it's about audience acquisition, I need help from the email team. I'm just lurking on those channels if I can't get in front of them day to day, face to face.

Because it's like you don't have the opportunity in that, you do in a traditional environment where you kind of hear through osmosis what's happening in an open environment. Or you walk by a conference room and, "Oh, what are all those people meeting about? I should probably be in there. I need to know about that." You have to go out and get that information and pull it out of people, because it's certainly not going to be pushed at you.

BRANDON:

Oh, sure. When we speak about events and how they help InVision at advanced business outcomes, what role do events play?

DANA:

I talked about how InVision recognizes that the screen is the most important place in the world. But we also recognize and really value that, those digital experiences are being created and designed by humans, for humans. Events are all about creating those human interactions. To take the URL experiences. Learn about those problems that you're trying to solve, what those URL experience, IRL, and then take that back to the URL experience in a new design.

When we design our events, we think a lot about, well, what does it mean to have a human interaction? There are two conditions that play into that. To be human, one is to have a shared experience. How did you make them feel? That should hearken back to that Maya Angelo quote about, people won't remember what you said, but they'll certainly remember how you made them feel.

The other condition is around agency. That's around intentions and thoughts. If you think of an event, the way we do is, yes, it's a content channel, but the content serves as a framework for a shared experience, and provides context to make a connection and make a new contact. Right?

I'll go back to you really quick about, why do attendees come to an event in the first place? There are three reasons I think. One, they want to come so that they leave smarter. They want to come to maybe leave more connected, and then they want to come to be more inspired to do their jobs better, faster, easier, or heck maybe, even find a new job.

When we can get the right mix of people in the room, and we get the content right, and we create the shared experience around the content. And I can turn to you and say, "Hey, what'd you think about that keynote? How are you applying it? Now we're having agency, now we're having interactions and shared thoughts." I think what happens in these events that we produce is, actually the value is in the peer to peer learning more so than it is in that keynote.

BRANDON:

The value is in connecting the different attendees to one another, and creating an experience from there?

DANA:

Yes. You have to have great content to have, the attendees have found value in that. To then dig deeper into it and learn from one another about, what did you take away from that? How did you apply that in your world. Maybe, then I can share with you how I've solved that problem and help you, or vice versa.

BRANDON:

I see. I don't know if you saw, there's an article that came out I think in the past week that kind of did a round-up of some of the big user conferences out there by Google, and Apple and Facebook. And also Salesforce. The commentary there was how some of these conferences, we're sort of focusing more on them and their product. While one of them was actually focusing on sort of creating these experiences that you're talking about. About putting somebody on stage who can kind of speak more on eye level with the attendees.

DANA:

Yes. You know what's actually interesting about InVision's strategy around events is, while a lot of tech companies we're looking at opportunity creation, deal volume and philosophy and the like. We don't get there through being product forward. We get there by focusing on the practices of design, and the people behind creating those digital experiences.

Because we find that if your product focus, especially with designers, man. Those guys are... they'll smell marketing a mile away and you're not going to achieve any of your goals if you're pushing product on them. They really want to come to find trust and find group therapy.

You won't find a user conference like Dreamforce, or AWS re:Invent. In fact, we are embarking on our first multi-day, multi-track program in Sydney here in a couple months. But it's more of a design festival and the focus is all around, how do you elevate the craft of design and how do you help companies in emerging markets become more designed mature.

Oh, by the way, InVision has a platform that can also help you do that. But we're really all about becoming the nexus of all things digital product design. If we can help design leaders scale their teams, or help their teams become more mature. Or implement a design system or prototype and collaborate better. Great. But we won't start with the product.

BRANDON:

I know in our previous conversation you mentioned that all of this sort of embodies a sort of UX focus that InVision has with events. Could you share a little bit more about that?

DANA:

Yes. When you think about UX or product design, it's really about problem-solving. And it's problem-solving through empathy, and that's to solve business and human problems. Hopefully delivering some delight along the way. In that process of product design, they use a methodology called Design Thinking. I don't know if you're familiar with that, but it was coined by the founders of IDEO, which is a well known global design firm.

I won't go too deep into it, but basically, Design Thinking... it's a five-step process and first the foundation is really understanding what those human needs are, empathizing within our case, or in a product case, user's pain points and really understanding what those are before you try to solve them. Then, when you have analyzed and synthesized those observations through that empathy exercise, then you can really define the problem.

Then once you define the problem, the fun begins, and this is ideation. This is where you're brainstorming all the different ways that you can solve those pain points in meaningful, purposeful ways. Then you get to the prototyping, right? You just get something out there, which is the final stage, test.

In that five-step process, we look at that when we're solving for an event. Because an event is, I talked a little bit earlier, it's a content channel, yes. About creating shared experiences and creating agency between the attendees that come, but it's really all about solving problems. How do you solve a business problem for the company, whether that's creating awareness or launching a product, trading pipeline, et cetera?

For the attendee, why are they really coming? We have such an awesome responsibility. People are giving us their time and their energy to be there. How are we helping them lead smarter, more connected, more motivated? Or very specifically solving a problem. How do I scale my design team?

Then when we understand that in the event, we know what activations we need to include. We know what content we need to make sure we're pushing forward. It's even more tactically, how do we think about the attendee journey once they're there? And empathizing with that attendee, especially designers who are really introverted.

What does it feel like to come and not know anybody at the event? How are we welcoming them, "Into our home for the evening." And handing them off to somebody, and making a meaningful introduction so that they are already engaged before anything happens. And they're not a wallflower, just looking at their phone, which I'm sure you've gone to events and you've seen that.

Or when they're queuing up in line waiting for a drink, what's happening there? Are there conversation starters, so that they don't feel alone? We really look at that process and we prototype and pressure test each of our events. We're only as good as our last event, and we're constantly pushing and using Design Thinking in our event design process.

BRANDON:

Great. I think that's really cool and not something I've heard before. This sort of Design Thinking approach. From your perspective, how has the event strategy at InVision evolved over time?

DANA:

When I started three years ago or so, our portfolio was 10 events for the year. I don't know that there's so much was a strategy, as it was more just community-driven. Over time, we've tried to align the strategy with the different buyer's journey. What events do we need to produce to drive awareness? What events are really about driving education, and where are those bottom of the funnel activities where we need to get executive buy-in and support.

We're now three years later producing over 150 events. That's a mix of proprietary events that again, focus on education. We have an arm called DesignBetter.co. These are workshops that don't have anything to do with InVision, again, but might be about the practices of design. Whether that's designing your design, or Design Sprints with Jake Knapp. Design Maturity, et cetera.

We also do a number of fields programs. That might be talking about the business of patent design, and teaching designers how to have business-level conversations and how do they get a seat at the proverbial table. To third party events that help us drive at our awareness. Then I mentioned those executive-level programs that we do, which is through our design leadership forum program. Which are really elevated dinners that bring design leaders from brands you know, and love from all over the globe, to essentially have group therapy.

They're facilitated discussions, but they're really hard conversations that they're trying to solve that they don't get that kind of connection elsewhere. I know a side note in a personal plea, I would love to see something like this in the events industry for event leaders.

BRANDON:

Noted.

DANA:

Yes, I think it's a white space.

BRANDON:

For sure. Well, it sounds like over the time that you've been at InVision, the company has gone through a rapid cycle of scale. To go from 10 events, to around 150 events. Events that are for a number of different use cases, events that are tied to your sort of sub-brand. All of this stuff that's going on. From the perspective of someone who's part of the events team, how has the team itself changed, or scaled with the company?

DANA:

Well, it's changed a lot and I think it's how we've designed the team. When I first came on, everybody was an event manager, but one of the key critical hires I made that has really been instrumental to scaling, is an Event Operations Manager. Her name's Jessica Sapien, and is amazing. But don't anybody go and try and poach her from me.

Her role really is, she, one owns the tech stack, but she also owns, how do we build repeatable scalable models? She owns audience acquisition, anything really that is cross programmatic. That I think of her team as the backbone of the event. Then we have our production team that is kind of the central nervous system, making sure they're getting all the things, all the logistics and operations to put on the event in place.

Then we have, strategy and programs that are the heartbeat. What's the why behind the event? What's the purpose? What are we trying to achieve? They're the ones that are really going through that design thinking exercise, to think about what's the problem we're trying to solve and how are we going to do it. How do we know we were successful, and how do we know that the event is even the answer to the problem.

BRANDON:

You've seen a number of new hires joining the team, many of which are in these specializations that didn't exist beforehand. My question is, well, what's it been like for you to sort of shift from a more individual contributor role, to this role where you're kind of now pulling the strings a little bit? And making these key hires and directing the strategy of the organization?

DANA:

In full vulnerability and transparency, it's been pretty tough. Because it was a mental shift I had to make. I started my career in public relations, and quickly through PR realized I didn't love smiling and dialing. But the thing that I did love is when we were launching events and I was designing experiences.

What happens is you get really good at your craft, that thing that brings you passion. The better you get at it, you are promoted, and you're recognized for your work, but you move further and further away from that thing you really love.

What I had to learn and have new found passion and joy in, but it was a little struggle to get there, is that I can amplify my effect in designing events, by coaching and mentoring a team. I can't scale myself that quickly unless I have a really strong team behind me, or beside me more accurately. My job now is to design experiences for my team, who then now are designing really amazing, impactful experiences for our attendees.

BRANDON:

Wow. I know that throughout this process there being more events InVision, again, it's just seeing some really fantastic growth. You mentioned in the past, that sort of creates this need to work through resiliency. I was wondering if you could speak on that a bit more.

DANA:

Yes. Resilient leadership is really knowing how to help your team work through, around, under, over ambiguity. Operating in the gray, operating where you just might know half the information. Or, because we're a hyper-growth, strategy may change. We're getting new information and program direction changes.

To do that, to show them how to work around, and not get burned out or not be discouraged. I know it means for me to be a resilient leader, I've got to show up with my whole self. That means showing my vulnerabilities, and owning what I don't know and doing check-ins with them. One thing that I have found that has helped be a resilient leader, is to remain insatiably curious with them.

Every week I do a checkout. It's a really simple checkout with each of my direct reports and it's just four questions. The first question is, what brought you joy at work this week? What brought you pain? How did I show up for you? Both good, bad, and ugly.

I think it's important I get that feedback and I'm really curious about how I'm showing up for them, so that they can do their jobs better, faster, easier. And they're showing up with the best version of themselves. Then the last question I ask is, how do you need me to show up next week?

BRANDON:

That's great.

DANA:

When I have an understanding of where I stand with them and where they're at, it's easier to support each other when times get tough. In an events man, those tough times are more often than not, just the nature of the job.

BRANDON:

Definitely, so many last-minute changes, many variables. Managing the expectations of many to different stakeholders.

DANA:

Yes. Stuff not happening. Things totally out of your control and you still need to find a way to make it happen.

BRANDON:

Right. I really appreciate you sharing that. I think that's an important thing that I know, I personally from just hearing that, I'm going to benefit from. I want to take a step back and look at the role that technology plays in assisting you. I know that you mentioned that you recently brought on an ops hire who's helping you out in a number of good ways, and totally cannot be poached. How does technology assist in scaling of events? And how does it sometimes hold us back?

DANA:

There are two important roles I think technology plays. One is how does it help us build scalable, repeatable models, so we're not reinventing every time? Especially with the speed of which we're working? Also technology in terms of how we can collect the data we need to inform decisions we're making about how we modify the event. Or even decide if the event should remain in the portfolio, so that's everything from your online registration tool, to your on-site registration tool, to an event app.

The other part that technology plays that I think is important is how does it amplify the attendee experience with purpose? Which is a really important caveat. The hard part about, especially the first one, is that this stuff is not easy. It's not easy to integrate to your systems, whether that's Salesforce, your marketing automation platform.

Then you are competing for resources both in time, energy and money from different stakeholders across the company. You have to do a really good job of selling the benefit. And how, not only does it benefit the events team, but how it's going to benefit the org as a whole. And while you got to make a pretty sizable investment upfront, the return we'll see looks like X.

From an attendee perspective, and how you scale your event. It's more about continuing to surprise and delight your attendees, and make it a more memorable experience. But it's not just for the sake of having technology there. Not getting distracted by the shiny new thing like, "Oh, let's just have these VR goggles here." But why? How does that go back to the purpose of the event?

An example, I'll give. That when I was the lead producer at Tableau, it was one of my first jobs where I really cut my teeth as an event manager. I worked on the Tableau Conference, and the last one I did was at the MGM Hotel in Vegas. Our keynote was in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

I can't remember who brought it to me, but somebody said, "Oh, hey. Check out these light up bracelets. They're so cool. Oprah did it at her event that was just here, and Taylor Swift or somebody had their concert." I'm like, "Cool, why? What are we going to do with that?" And they're like, "I don't know, it just looks pretty."

I said, "Well, what would be really cool..." Tableau for those that don't know is a data visualization company. They help people see and understand data. This is the Super Bowl for data nerds, this event.

It's really about how do you immerse people in the data? I thought, okay well, what if we could program it that the MC ask, how many people are from Seattle, Washington? And it lights up green. Then it says how many people are from New York? And it lights up blue. Then, how many people are from Europe? And it lights up red. You get where I'm going with this?

What happens is, we then would have created a live visualization using technology that everyone was immersed in. Now the thing is, we didn't end up using it, because moving forward with that idea, because of time and money, and resources and integrations and all the rest. That made that difficult, but it just... it would have been cool if we could have done all those things.

BRANDON:

Yes, whatever. No, no, I really appreciate that perspective on, I'm really making the technology deliberate and really adding to the attendee experience. I know there are all sorts of trends and tools out there. It's just a matter of figuring out what speaks to your audience and how to present it in such a way that it does.

DANA:

And that it doesn't get in the way of the experience. Just like with a lot of software that's developed. You want the software to just be invisible, right? Sometimes, the technology not necessarily be invisible, but you don't want to introduce something that creates a lot of friction, that then causes frustration and then dampens the rest of their experience.

BRANDON:

100%. I want to ask you another question about scaling. That is, what qualities do you look for when you're hiring new members of your team?

DANA:

This is a good one. While of course, it's great to have somebody who's been in the trend shows and knows event management. I often look really to, three key qualities. One of them first and foremost being, are they a problem solver? Throughout our conversation, we've talked a lot about events being about problem-solving, whether for the attendee or for the company. Or in a given moment, in events you're just solving problems.

If you can't creatively think your way through that, you're just not going to have a long life in this field. I really look for people who are just natural problem solvers. I also call problems, "propportunities." Problems aren't problems, they're opportunities. How can they reframe the problem to capitalize on it, really?

I also look for people who have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. There's this great book by a woman named Carol Dweck, called, Mindset. The difference is, people with a growth mindset are curious and they don't see failures as failures. They really see them as learning opportunities.

Whereas people with fixed mindsets think like, "This is the way I am. These are my skills and I'm constantly needing to prove myself." They have often what is a victim versus player attitude, right? That life's happening to them, instead of taking the ball and running whatever direction they think makes the most sense.

Really looking for growth mindset players, not victims. Problem solvers... I guess there's another one is, people who are at diplomatic. Events again, we've talked about how tough they are and it's not transactional. And your success relies on so many different people, and so many different teams and relationships matter. People who have a keen and authentic understanding of that, they have a place on my team anytime.

BRANDON:

Wow. Dana, I was actually hoping to work for the events team at InVision, at some point in the future. Say I was going to interview for you folks, what might be a question you would ask me to sort of suss out some of this?

DANA:

Full disclosure, I ripped it off Julie Zhuo, who is one of the lead product designers over at Facebook. She started as an intern there, and she's a legend. The question she asks is, "Take me through a year ago, or two years ago, a really challenging or difficult situation or problem or project you worked on."

The candidate will talk you through that. Then she asks the really important question, which is, "Now, knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?" The more introspective a person gets, the more self-aware what their contributions were, and where they might have made different decisions about their contribution to what happened. Versus somebody who will give you examples around, "Well, this team didn't do that. Or this partner didn't show up the way they needed to." It's very, very telling. Think growth mindset, or fixed mindset.

BRANDON:

That's huge. Okay, thank you. Noted?

DANA:

Yes.

BRANDON:

All right. I want to ask you one more question that's a bit more on the events side, because I think you have something really cool to share here. Then I want to sort of transition the conversation to another topic.

Last events related question. I know that at InVision, at your events, it's really important to, as you said before, sort of lead with this design focus. This content focus approach, but at the same time, that business side, that business case. Those business goals for the event are very real.

What are some lessons you've learned on how to balance that brand, and sales-driven side of events? Then I'd also love to hear a little bit about how you tie in sponsorships.

DANA:

On the product side, of course, at the end of the day, I think we're all selling software. Right? How you authentically go about doing that? We've evolved our strategy to start introducing product if in fact, it is complementary to the content.

An example is we run a workshop with these design celebrities, in their own right, around design systems management. InVision happens to have a design systems management tool. During lunches and breaks, we also will showcase InVision's DSM tool.

That's how we've started to bring the product into the conversation, but not lead with it. Which has been my experience working at companies like Tableau, who disruptive product core like community, but very, very product-focused going, into the events?

BRANDON:

I see.

DANA:

InVision disruptive product core like community. But we're really focused on practice and people, and, oh by the way, we have this platform that can help you scale too.

Your second question about sponsorship is really interesting. The unique take we have on it. One of my favorite events. It's a really great example for you, is this event called, Within. Which is a retreat for women senior leaders in design. It's no surprise that the organizer, Mia Blume, is a former design lead at Pinterest.

She has designed this program with so much empathy and intention, for these women and folks who identify as women. Very inclusive program. What you won't find at this event though is logo land. You won't see InVision or any sponsors logos everywhere.

You will not see our product placed anywhere or demos then for that matter. You won't see us hosting a session that talks about InVision. What you will find is, our contribution is, how do we elevate that experience for those women at the retreat, and create an experience that draws a deeper relationship and connection to InVision?

What we've done the last couple of events with our sponsorship there, is we've brought in a Reiki healer. It's an energy healer, and tarot reading. What has happened is, she has become such a part of the fabric of that event. And these women have developed their own relationships with her, that have carried on and transcended the program.

When they think of their work with her, they think of InVision as a company that cares about the whole person, not just the designer creating a digital product. What that creates then is, brand love and affinity.

BRANDON:

I love that example. I was hoping you'd share that one.

DANA:

Yes. It's an amazing event. I feel really privileged to have been a part of it. She tapped into something really powerful.

BRANDON:

The last topic I want to touch on today in our final moments together, is about the work-life balance/blend. I know at InVision, as you mentioned, it's a distributed workforce which definitely creates a unique approach. But, I know for instance, you're based up in Seattle. You've had the opportunity to move around a little bit with work as part of that.

Could you speak on how you sort of approached the work-life blends? I know that what we talked about before, there isn't necessarily a clear solution, but I'm really curious to hear your thoughts on it.

DANA:

I love that you continue to call it work-life blend. I think for so long I was chasing this notion of work-life balance, and always really feeling that I was falling short in achieving such balance. Because I think it truly is a blend in a given day, especially now that I work remote. One moment I can be working, but I can be a very functioning member of this household. My husband and will probably be clapping as he hears this.

Because, I'm here and can contribute more. Whether that's like just before hopping on a conference call, I can swap the laundry out. Or, more meaningfully, I can take 10 minutes to go walk and get my kids and bring them back. Or there's a recognition, especially in a remote environment, but we're all adults. We know what needs to get done. There's nobody watching over our shoulder. It becomes very apparent really, really quickly whether or not, you're doing your job.

There's just also this recognition that sometimes it's about life or work falling out of balance. When I'm in high season for events, work needs 150% of my time. But then there are moments at home, where we've had family health issues, or my kids need me more, that the pendulum swings the other way.

I guess it's more about balancing the imbalance. In the more profound way, what InVision has provided me and my family is that, I quite literally can live and work wherever I want. I have two daughters that are now 10 and seven, and my husband and I, had this conversation about, "Wow, what a gift InVision has given me." That I don't have to be in Seattle to do what I do.

We very intentionally wanted to design our life around collecting experiences and memories, and not things. We sold all of our stuff in Seattle, and moved to Puerto Rico. It put me closer time zone wise to my team in Europe. Closer to my team on the East Coast. Still got ample coverage of my team on the West Coast, and we could live on the beach. Oh my gosh. Amazing.

But, the kicker there is, we moved to Puerto Rico four days before Hurricane Maria. As soon as we got to Puerto Rico, we had to figure out how we were going to leave the island.

BRANDON:

Wow.

DANA:

Talk about an exercise and resiliency. Because my husband and I had just a strong partnership and resolve, and resources and quite frankly privilege, we were able to get off the island. It was really cinematic, and by the skin of our teeth. But we had a conversation with the family. Do we go back to Seattle, and just settle?

And hey, we tried. My girls were like, "Heck no. We haven't gone on our adventure yet." They really helped me and Brian, understand how to embrace the detours. Because InVision, again, fully remote, I quite literally was working in the car on the road. My husband quickly designed a new itinerary for us, where we just followed the sun and crisscrossed the country.

 

We tied it to where I needed to be stateside at events. My team was incredibly gracious. I didn't do any overseas programs. I did all the domestic ones, and we just designed our itinerary around where I needed to be for work.

BRANDON:

Wow.

DANA:

Pretty unique experience. One that certainly was life-changing.

BRANDON:

I just think that's so freaking cool, and a wonderful experience for your daughters as well. A final question is, we spoke a lot today about scaling and about some of the unique challenges that you and your team are addressing, as the team and the company grows larger. What's one piece of advice you have for someone in your position who is scaling a team?

DANA:

Work with what you do know. I think when things are moving as quickly as they are here, where my team's not the only one scaling. The whole company is... different teams are scaling. I think it's important to start with the 70%, or what we say around here is the bad version. Just to get your idea on paper, get the thoughts, the plan. A high-level strategy on papers for your different stakeholders to react to.

Don't wait till you have it perfectly tied up in a neat little bow, because by the time you get there, that train has left the station. That's what introduces churn, and actually slows you down. Start with your bad version. Be insatiably curious, give them something to react to.

BRANDON:

I love it.

DANA:

And prototype literally. Just embrace the InVision product ethos.

BRANDON:

Boom. There you have it. Excellent. Well, Dana, thank you so much for taking the time to chat today. It's been really, really rewarding for me and I'm sure our listeners will find it to be as well. Thank you.

DANA:

Thanks so much for having me, Brandon. Hope to see you in person somewhere.