RingCentral VP explains the keys to effective leadership

Stacy Schwartz, vice president of U.S. Public Sector and Education at RingCentral, joins host Aileen Black on this week’s Leaders and Legends to explain why building great teams is the key to being a great leader.

Prior to joining RingCentral, Schwartz worked at AT&T where she led highly successful teams in the Public Sector space for over 20 years, building growth businesses from the ground up in federal, state, and local education. She was also responsible for leading the nationwide team supporting the FirstNet program, providing critical communications to over 4 million subscribers in the first responder community.

At RingCentral, Schwartz and her team of over 800 sales professionals provide best-in-class connectivity solutions to the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, as well as other federal agencies.

She is responsible for driving nationwide adoption of FirstNet service to Public Safety agencies as a part of the 25- year public-private partnership with AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority. Her team enables interoperability between public safety agencies and private entities. It drives business growth innovation through software-defined networking, fiber, 5G, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, mobility, IT professional services, and next-generation 911 services.

Schwartz described her leadership style as “collaborative and transparent” because she wants to creates a culture that is both results oriented and customer focused. She said team members  need a working environment that allows them the freedom to be creative and open to innovative ideas.

“You need tenacity and to pursue what you believe is the right thing to do for your team and your customers. I learned quickly to not easily accept no. It is important to ask why not?” she said. “You need to ask yourself, what is the art of the possible to support your client , address your market and win? Being innovative or creating change is hard in small and large organizations if the culture is not established that allows creativity”.

Schwartz also said that effective leaders are good listeners who are never complacent.

“I also believe I don’t know it all and you need people who have ideas and talents that are different from your own. As the landscape changes, bringing in these influences and people and ideas are critical to adapt to change,” she said.

That’s why she said she encourages members of her team to be proactive and to protect their relationships with their clients and customers.

“I survey what others are thinking and test my own thoughts. I ask my clients and other solution providers. I leave my desk, my office, talk with  trusted advisors and listen. I have found this is the best way for me to understand the change and sense what is coming,” she said. “If you are complacent, you will eventually fail. Your competition is already there. Change is happening. Don’t try to fight it.”

According to Schwartz she has been fortunate throughout her career to work with and for leaders who have empowered her. She said AT&T Business CEO Anne Chow taught her the importance of investing in others to help them grow.

She also learned from her dad that health and happiness need to come first.

“If you don’t have your health and you are unhappy, the rest doesn’t matter,” Schwartz said. “You need to take the time for yourself and set an example for your team to do the same.”

Finally Schwartz offered some advice for the next generation of leaders, encouraging them to listen to the advice of others but more importantly to listen to themselves.

“If you have a thought or idea that you have conviction and passion around, work on how to communicate it,” Schwartz said. “You will be surprised how that can be of value no matter how early in your career. Work on learning how to communicate your thoughts and values; you will be surprised at the value that will bring. “

 

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