Are you familiar with the term, Chief of Staff? I’m sure you are. Perhaps you are thinking of the Chief of Staff to the President. Or, the Chief of Staff to your local government official.
Quite frankly, what I wasn’t aware of was the Chief of Staff to CEOs in the corporate world. This position requires men and women who can develop strategies to grow the company, provide communication for customers, sometimes specialize in unique business areas and serve as the right hand of the CEO on a day-to-day basis. What else caught my eye is that it’s an unexpected stepping stone that can launch a women’s career into a C-Suite position.
Today with me on the Brava Podcast, I’m honored to have the ambitious, smart and talented Caroline Pugh. She’s the Chief of Staff to Aneesh Chopra at CareJourney, a healthcare data analytics company based in Washington D.C.. Caroline was recently name "15 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch" by Entrepreneur magazine. She’s also been featured in Forbes, the Washington Post, Fox News, NBC, TechCrunch and Wall Street Journal for her work.
Tune in below to learn more!
CEOs hire a Chief of Staff to do a number of special tasks. To sum it up, Caroline shares that Chief of Staff’s can help the CEO with the top 5 decisions that will help move the needle on the company’s vision and strategy and help delegate the rest (1:57.)
Caroline used to have her own tech healthcare company in college. When she moved to D.C. she reached out to Aneesh and over coffee, was asked to be his Chief of Staff. It was an exciting time to be part of the company (3:05.)
There is not much documentation of Chief of Staffs in the private sector. Curious, Caroline sought out more than 200 chief of staffs to learn more bout their roles and measuring similarities and differences between each (4:20.)
Caroline started the network in D.C. with a few mentors of hers (5:50.)
There are a lot of women in this role. 60% of the network is women. The role is beginning to prove itself as a fast track to get into a C-suite or executive position because of the built in trust and the level of exposure that the Chief of Staff role offers (6:38.)
Interested in following Caroline’s steps? She recommends understanding what kind of environment fuels you. She also recommends figuring out how you like to best work. For instance, she knew she loved fast-pace environments, start-ups, working with teams and networking with people (9:02.)
Going into college, Caroline joined the Entrepreneurship club. She realized this is what she wanted to do…be an entrepreneur or at least be in the tech start-up world. Most importantly during this time she learned how to pitch an idea and thinks it’s critical to know how to present yourself and present what you are passionate about (11:00.)
The measure of success for a start-up? Caroline thinks it should be the value you are providing your customers and product market fit, not the pressure to raise capital (13:40.)
Starting a business can be very daunting, Caroline recommends to start with short term goals first and breaking it down. For instance, writing a business plan and sharing it with two or three people you admire (15:30.)
What’s next for Caroline? She finds a lot of gratitude of what she gets to do in the healthcare industry and making sure that people have access to their own healthcare data (19:20).
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