Pamela Springer, a veteran executive with more than 20 years’ experience growing tech-based companies, including re-starts and IPOs, including building Manta Media into one of the largest, most trafficked websites in the US. She has raised more than $55M in venture capital and private equity, is passionate about building best-in-class teams, and is Franklin Covey-certified in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Currently, Pamela is an investor and CEO of the fast growing startup ORIS Intelligence. She sits on the boards of multiple emerging growth companies including ORIS Intel, investX Capital and RevLocal.
Pam earned a business degree from Franklin University, graduating summa cum laude, where she now serves on the Board of Trustees. She also played on the Oakland University basketball team the year they made it to the NCAA Division II Final Four
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
The biggest impact was having terrific parents who supported, and challenged me – and that taught me that true leadership is earned and not given. As I found my way into sales and saw that I controlled my own destiny, I treated my own territory as my own company, which forced me to be a leader from the start. Combing my selling experience and past successes in sports, I understood that I needed to work hard, listen and produce results. Through that I earned respect and gained confidence in how I worked and how I brought others along at the company. True leaders produce results, because of that, it naturally attracts others to follow.
How has your previous employment experience aided your current role?
I built a team and company from scratch provides great lessons learned, particularly around the how to hire the right people, raise capital and understand how your business model scales. Having an opportunity to do it again with ORIS, has been a tremendous opportunity to put what I’ve learned from past experiences to good use.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your current role?
Early on we started gaining traction and immediately validated our product market fit, including beating out larger, established competitor companies for significant blue-chip customers. We also secured some very critical hires to come on board, which helped set our foundation for scalable growth. Some of the initial challenges have been keeping our team updated on our progress, while also making sure we’re not over-sharing. Like every company, we continue to focus on prioritizing initiatives to ensure we’re not spread too thin.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
My advice for all entrepreneurs is to get exposure to startups AND large organizations to see how demand gets met. It is extremely valuable to get experience with companies with little-to-no infrastructure, as well as corporations with specific structure to better understand which environment you personally operate best in. Finally, stay close to what you’re passionate about – sounds simple but makes the biggest difference in your ability to remain steadfast in your quest for success in business. For female entrepreneurs in particular, remember to encourage other girls/women in businesses by including them in the conversation and providing candid, constructive feedback that can help them grow while reinforcing self-confidence.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
Career growth is earned and not given – so, put yourself in a position where if you work hard and contribute meaningfully, it will accelerate your growth and opportunities.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
In order to maintain work/life balance, make sure you have a good team around you. Sometimes, during certain periods, there is no balance – and that’s okay. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing, it’s not work, but you do need to balance it so that your thinking clears, you rest up and can be better tomorrow.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
The biggest issue for women in the workplace is lack of confidence and too much self-doubt. Often times, women hold back more than men. To overcome it, it’s important for women to feel comfortable in providing legitimate feedback in advancing their cause.
How can we encourage more women to start their own business?
The best way to encourage more women to form businesses is to relate like to like. Examples are a great way to show how many women have started businesses – what they did before and where they are now – discuss the journey and make it real for other aspiring business leaders to understand how it works. Unveil the mystery behind building a business.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Mentors helped me better understand the 360-degree view of the world, including areas that were new to me. It is always helped to hear from people who have walked in similar shoes and have already blazed the trail.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I really admire Mary Barra, CEO of GM – she’s in a traditional male industry taking big innovative steps in evolving their products, while also communicating strong values.
What do you want to professionally and personally accomplish in the next year?
In the next year, I’m focused on scale ORIS by growing our associates and customers, so we can reach the next level of milestones. Personally, I want to spend more time with my close friends.
What are the top three tips you can offer to an entrepreneur starting out?
My top tips are:
- Understand the size of the market you’re pursuing and be clear on the “so what” about what you’d like to deliver to it – it needs to be big enough for you to spend your time on it and unique enough for customers to care about it for it to be noticed.
- Have a clear focus on how you will scale your business
- Stay focused on one idea and continue to iterate on it until you get it right