Shifting the spotlight at 5

I understand why and how I was anointed “the face” of PartnerHero; I founded the company 5 years ago today.

This is what it looked like.

View from the Tegucigalpa office, Honduras

You need to have a “healthy” ego to start a company (or unhealthy; depending on how you look at it), and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. For the first 10 or so months, I did most of the hiring, handled the training, finance, operations, and business development. I did a reasonably good job not burning down the company and even did a few things I’m still proud of today, like our core values, the SaaS-like business model, our culture, and selecting Honduras for our first Operations Center.

Lake Yojoa, Honduras

So my insecurity (masked as confidence) was really loving all the attention and affirmation. Unfortunately, being omnipresent was leading me to burn-out, while also taking the spotlight and credit away from a number of talented people within the organization. I was closing deals and bringing on great partners, and yet it felt like driving a treadless car in the rain.

But it was around February 2015, that I ended up closing what would end up being the most important sale in our company’s history. That’s when I convinced Heather to join me and help build and run the business. She had just left one startup (where she was our client) and was interviewing with a few others, even getting into the second and third round of conversations. Having worked together for some time, I had witnessed her operational expertise in action.

But more importantly, I had observed how naturally she connected with our vision and culture.

Merrene, Heather & Carol, Honduras

So fast-forward 5 years from that day I launched this venture…

Although I get credit for starting the “experiment”, it was (and continues to be) Heather who managed to build out a sustainable business. Her DNA touches every aspect of the company, and (unlike me) she has managed to do this without ever seeking attention, title or recognition. We are co-pilots in this venture, supported by 100’s of talented people and a core group of leaders who we are fortunate to call our friends.

This picture below was taken a couple of months ago at our Brazil All-Hands, and it reminds me just how lucky I am to work with people who can teach me things. And it’s my way of asking for the spotlight to be cast where it rightly belongs: on Heather, our new (and first) COO.

Shervin Talieh