7 CEOs share how their work inspires them — and how they keep their team inspired, too

Sam Dewey

What inspires you?

The belief that your work should carry with it a larger meaning or significance has been cemented in the minds of the newest generation of tech-savvy workers. For better or worse, Millennials want their work to change the world.

Before they can ever spark change, they’ve got to believe fully in the work they’re doing so they can give it their all and build something great. But fostering such a mindset, as many team leaders know, is no small task.

We asked seven tech CEOs two simple questions: What is it about your job that inspires you, and how do you inspire your team in turn? 

Here’s what they had to say:

What is it about your job that inspires you?

"As a company, we are committed to making the world work better, which not only means making our clients lives easier, it also means creating good jobs for the hundreds of cleaners, handymen, assistants and helpers who make it all possible,” said CEO and co-founder Dan Teran (center). “We believe deeply that only through shared prosperity can we reach our fullest potential."

How do you inspire your employees?

"If you want to deliver the best service, then you need the best people doing the job…and to get the best people doing the job, you just need to be the best employer. So that is what we’ve set out to do," he said.  

 

What is it about your job that inspires you?

“In a world of instant gratification it is rare to be able to deliver a product that is designed to be relevant today, tomorrow and for generations to come,” said Legacy.com CEO Steve Parrott.

How do you inspire your employees?

“Inspiring your employees is much easier when the work is truly meaningful,” he said. “At Legacy, we represent the voices of all those no longer living by keeping their stories alive for future generations. That’s meaningful work.”

 

What is it about your job that inspires you?

“We have the ability and momentum to change healthcare in this world for the better,” said GoHealth President Brandon Cruz. “It's such a gigantic goal, but we see progress every day. It matters so much to so many people, and that makes it extremely exciting for me.

“It blows me away to see people come together for this common cause, and the passion they have to overcome all obstacles and succeed in that mission,” he added.

How do you inspire your employees?

“It's the same thing,” he said. “We're in it to take a huge issue in this country and make it better. Piece by piece, we're making it happen. That's something that's hard not to get behind.”

 

What is it about your job that inspires you? 

“The part of my job that inspires me is ‘growth and creation,’” said RedShelf CEO Greg Fenton. “I love to create, and although I am not artistic or musical, I found my calling in creating and growing business ideas. An idea, just like a painting or a song, can be built from scratch. You can be the first person in the world to make this or that. At RedShelf, along with many startups, I believe this drive to create something new is what separates us from the corporate companies that often fail to produce and more or less just try to maintain ideas/products.”

How do you inspire your employees?

“The tricky thing with inspiration is everyone is different. The first thing we did at RedShelf was to try to add team members motivated by opportunity, growth, and creation. We recognized early on that inspiration is such an individual characteristic, so we hired people inspired by the same types of goals RedShelf is trying to accomplish, along with a passion for hard work and commitment,” Fenton said. “Hiring people excited by education, technology and making a positive impact on the next generation was the foundation on which we could continue to encourage our fellow team members to grow and expand beyond their job titles. It also enables our team to stay motivated at work every day.”

 

What is it about your job that inspires you?

“The harder the challenge, the more excited and driven I am to solve it,” said CEO Talia Mashiach. “When I noticed that large corporations were missing out on making a better investment in their live events, I knew I had to rise to the challenge. With Eved, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to combine my two passions – building technology to automate business processes and the power of human connections – and have the opportunity to provide software that has a huge impact on these companies. Building something out of nothing inspires me to continue to push forward to deliver solutions to challenging problems that clients face.”

How does that in turn inspire your team?       

“We kick off each Monday with an all company stand up meeting. It’s a chance for everyone to recap on their current projects and serves as a platform to engage with my entire team,” she said. “Celebrating in each other’s successes especially when the challenge was great, seeing how it impacted the client, excites and motivates the team to continue their hard work. Just as I enjoy the impact we can make in a large corporation, my team shares the love of the challenge and the reward of the impact.”

 

What is it about your job that inspires you?

“I’ve always found meaning and motivation in being able to see how our team’s work impacts our clients both personally and professionally,” said Jon Morris, founder and CEO. “This has included everything from people getting promoted to company stock prices going up dramatically. There is not much that is more rewarding than watching your clients succeed in their careers and achieve their business goals, and knowing you played a role in that success.”

How do you in turn inspire your employees?

“Rise’s mission has always been to deliver remarkable experiences and superior results for our clients. Far more than just a mention in an employee handbook, it’s ingrained in our culture and how we operate as an organization. To have a successful partnership, we need to be able to deliver both the experience and the results to our clients — we celebrate our clients’ successes as an agency, take pride in their achievements, and continually ask ourselves how we can help them take things to the next level,” Morris said.

 

What is it about your job that inspires you, and how do you inspire your employees?

“The one thing I love about building businesses is watching the individuals of my team grow professionally,” Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez said. “I love when they think ‘it’ can't be done, and then magically they find it within themselves to accomplish the impossible.  

Images via featured companies/Shutterstock.

What do you want to read about? Shoot us an email, or follow us on Twitter @BuiltInChicago.

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