As we approach the final week before Intero turns 10 years old, Sydney reflects on the last five years that she has spent with the company, and shares 5 takeaways that she has learned over her 5 years with the company.
Unlike my sisters, I was not as involved in the beginning stages of Intero. I was halfway through my freshman year at Washington College when Colleen decided to start her own company. I do remember helping with the name, logo, and color choices but that was about it. I “interned” here and there during the first few years while in college. When I graduated, I didn’t think Intero was where I wanted to be. Besides, Colleen had a full team and was crushing it, and while I know she would have made a place for me, it wasn’t my time yet.
My time came 5 years in when Liza was a few weeks away from her brain surgery. An Intero team member was leaving and I knew Colleen was worried about how she’d manage to help my sister recover while onboarding and training a new team member. I almost felt as though if I offered to fill the position, that could be the way I contribute and help my family during Liza’s brain tumor chapter. When your sister has a brain tumor, there is not much you can do except wish it was you instead of her and pray that it all works out for the best.
So early January of 2016, I showed up at the office to work for my mom. I can honestly say that in 2016, I had no idea what I was getting into or how much I’d learn.
Colleen has always been a talker. The joke growing up was she’d talk to anyone, anywhere. I thought I knew how much she talked but wow!! Sitting across from her I heard so many conversations. Some days, headphones were needed as it was the same conversation multiple times a day, and other days, I paused. I listened. I absorbed every word. And then I tried to talk like her. Use the strategies she talked about so much throughout a week in my conversations with clients.
There came a time when it was me and Colleen (our other colleague was on maternity leave)… and my dad… can’t forget the Director of Water/Snack Delivery + Moving the Furniture Around. Working for a small business that has lofty goals and a few employees forces you to jump in headfirst and learn as you go to execute the vision.
9 months into my role, I temporarily took over our recruiting projects while Erin was on maternity leave. I was doing marketing. I was creating LinkedIn Tutorials. I was delivering on client projects. I was helping Colleen at her workshops. All of those hats made me better for my clients because I saw the bigger picture. I could talk about marketing strategies. I could suggest other service offerings to clients that would best fit their needs. I could suggest the right things to the right people based upon their experience, knowledge of LinkedIn, and their goals. Had I been so heads down in my particular “role” and “service offering,” I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities to provide value to my clients.
My role has significantly evolved over the past 5 years. When I started we were just scratching the surface on our Lead Generation Service. Having the inside knowledge of how my mom works (slightly vague instructions), I knew she had a general idea of what she thought this service offering could be and how it’d work. Having her trust and the freedom, I was able to create an initial data entry and outreach process.
Since then, we have refined, streamlined, and made our process so much more efficient and effective. When you’re in the day-to-day doing the work, you may not recognize how hard you’ve worked and just exactly what you have created. As I write this blog, it’s causing me to reflect, and I have to say, I’m very proud of what I and my team have created. I couldn’t have done it without Colleen’s support, trust, and guidance.
A few takeaways from my 5 years at Intero.
- My mom is a rock star. I can’t tell you how many people have said that to me. It’s so true. She is so smart. So knowledgeable about LinkedIn, marketing strategies, business development, and so much more. She’s also a rock star for raising three girls and working so hard every day to provide for our family. She is constantly challenging herself and us to be the best we can be.
Last night, I was at my parent’s house and she was showing me the first copy of the book she wrote. While admiring it, I looked at her and said “Wow. You. Wrote. A. Book.” To which she responded, “I know! I can’t believe I wrote! A! Book!” She’s a rock star.
- There are so many layers to a family business.
- There is a layer of pride in working for Intero. My mom built this company from the ground up and now we get to be a part of it and further its success. It’s unbelievable all she has been able to accomplish in 10 years.
- There is a layer of wanting to be good at what I do. Not only do I want to be the best I can be in terms of making my boss and company proud to have me as a team member, but there is an extra layer needing to make my mom proud too. For some, that could be a lot of pressure, but for us, it works. It’s the reminder in the back of my/our heads to make sure we are doing all we can for each and every client. Otherwise, our boss, and mom, may say something. In my 28 years, I have seen my mom annoyed and disappointed (in me a few times) and I will do whatever it takes to avoid that 🙂
- There is a layer of trust and being heard. We know we have her full trust to make decisions, create strategies, and do what is necessary for our clients. We also know we can vent, explain why we need to hire another person, etc. in a space where she’ll listen, understand, and figure out the best next steps.
- Culture is important. Colleen has created an environment in which she wants to work and I’m here for it. Want to work from home today? Go for it. Even more casual Fridays? Let’s do it. Need more water or snacks? Let your dad know. She’s created a fun, laid back, yet hard-working and dedicated culture where the expectations are high but achievable, and as long as the work is being completed on time and well, she doesn’t mind when or where you work. That is the ultimate dream.
- There is more to life than working. Colleen works non-stop, mainly because she spends her days talking, so she has to work in the evenings/weekends in order to deliver. But, she recognizes for us, there is so much more to life than working. She encourages us to learn new non-work related things, she supports our side-gigs, and she wants us to take time off and travel or do fun things. Jim and I recently started a candle company, and Colleen has been our #1 candle customer since the beginning. She sent candles to clients over the holidays, and Intero has asked that candles be included in our new client welcome box. Not many bosses would actively encourage and support their employees’ side-businesses.
I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to work for my mom, alongside my sisters and husband. She has created something special and I’m glad to be along for the ride. Huge shoutout to Colleen for all she has accomplished in 10 years and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next! We’re all very proud of you and to be a part of Intero!!