This week, we’re welcoming Jen Paau as our COO and we could not be more excited. Jen was previously a Senior Director at Salesforce and brings to Ironclad a wealth of experience in operations and strategy. At Salesforce, Jen lead programs driving adoption of the Salesforce Lightning Experience within the Consulting partner community. At Ironclad, Jen will build the processes that will grow us into the Salesforce for Legal.
I sat down with Jen to chat about things she’s learned over the years and what she has in store for us as COO.
Tell me about yourself. Where were you before Ironclad?
I started my career in management consulting, where I spent about 7 years at Bain & Company and A.T. Kearney. Management consulting is a great place to start a career because it lets you see different functions and solve different types of problems. For example, you can work on a cost reduction project with a procurement department or develop a go-to-market strategy.
I left management consulting because I wanted to go deeper into an operational role. I wanted to get deep experience owning the implementation of a solution, which you don’t often get to do in consulting.
For the past six and a half years, I’ve been at Salesforce in a variety of strategy and operations roles, including as COO of SalesforceIQ. Most recently, I was Senior Director of Salesforce Lightning Adoption Programs, which is one of their newest technologies. I’ve seen a lot of growth over the years and it’s been an amazing experience.
What did you learn at Salesforce?
One, it’s super important to be data driven. Salesforce was great at making sure you understood how to measure success and track progress against it. You don’t have to get completely wrapped around the axle on whether you have the perfect target at the beginning, but you do need to start somewhere and invest in the system, resources, and processes for tracking your results. That’s how you know you’re making progress.
Second, you have to keep trying new things. This is so important. In any new area, you’re not necessarily going to know the exact right path forward. Testing different ideas and tactics, whether it’s a new process or a new marketing campaign, will give you more data. Some of these ideas will work and some of them won’t, but either way you take the results and work to improve on them. Once you find the right tactic, you can then scale it to have a broader impact. But you need to try new things first.
How do you try new things?
You have to be at an organization with teams and leaders who support experimentation. Start small, take baby steps, and as you learn more, adjust. You don’t necessarily roll out a program globally, but you can do a little pilot in a specific region and collect whatever feedback and data you can. It’s hard to do, which also makes it a lot more fun.
Why did you decide to leave Salesforce for Ironclad?
First and foremost, the team and culture are two things that I really identified with. Every conversation I had with everybody was really interesting, really strong, and felt really natural. That’s important — you want to make sure that you work with people that you respect and who respect you.
I was also very pleasantly surprised by the diversity at Ironclad. First hire, female engineer; first salesperson, a woman. This is rare, especially for tech companies. It’s really important that Jason and Cai care, and have built a culture where these values are important. This is something that has to come from leadership to really matter.
The other thing that really excites me about Ironclad is the opportunity here. The more I looked into it, the more I realized how big the opportunity is. There’s no obvious current incumbent. There’s no Salesforce for Legal, and there will be. It’s one of the few functions where there’s a lot of upside here. There’s just a lot of opportunity to win momentum.
You can already see some of that momentum now. Look at Ironclad’s NPS. People love the product, and that’s huge. And the product’s only going to grow so much more.
What are you most excited about?
Having an impact. I’m excited to push us to grow and think in new ways. It may feel a little uncomfortable at times, which I think is actually important. I’ve always managed my career this way, but I think it’s healthy to be a little scared of what you’re doing. You’re not going to get everything right, but that’s how you learn, that’s how you grow.
I’m excited to try new things. As COO, you have a broad scope, with different areas being more important at different times. Your day could go from recruiting to budgeting to looking at new offices to thinking about the growth plan. I like that movement and variety.
What are you going to work on when you start?
I think it’s important for me to come in and understand the lay of the land. What’s working now, what are people focused on, how do they interact? And then after that, setting up the team and company for growth. Whether that’s recruiting or infrastructure or critical processes.
And probably putting in the right baseline around metrics and KPIs. Tracking the numbers to make sure we continue to grow at the right pace.
More about Ironclad
Ironclad is the leading digital contracting platform for legal teams. By streamlining contract workflows, from creation and approvals to compliance and insights, Ironclad frees legal to be the strategic advisors they’re meant to be. Ironclad is used by modern General Counsels and their teams at companies like Dropbox, AppDynamics and Fitbit to unlock the power of their contracts data. Ironclad was named one of the 20 Rising Stars as part of the Forbes 2019 Cloud 100 list, the definitive list of the top 100 private cloud companies in the world. The company is backed by investors like Accel, Sequoia, Y Combinator and Emergence Capital. To learn more, visit our homepage.
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