Leader in the Spotlight: Jerry Leisure
Jerry Leisure has been a customer service professional and leader for over 22+ years, leading large teams at established companies such as Microsoft, Monster, Symantec, and Autodesk, as well as startups like Postmates, Kabam, and Forte Labs. A thought leader in the industry, Jerry can often be found speaking at CX conferences, participating in podcasts, and writing about his passion—the future of customer service and the CS marketplace.
Jerry firmly believes customers are the heart of every company and that the longevity of a company is directly tied to its customer success. His leadership and consulting ethos is built upon five key business principles: people do business with people, loyal and engaged customers build the company, communication makes things happen, adoption and usage deliver real value, and increasing customers’ success is a company’s lifeblood.
Jerry is currently serving as the CEO and Co-Founder of Officium Labs, a startup company focused on creating a global network of top CX talent, that helps companies maximize revenue through best-in-class customer experience. He founded Officium in 2019, with his Co-Founder Scott McCabe, on the concept of a decentralized network of people and currencies, creating a remote workforce model that improves work/life balance and shifts wealth from large cities to new communities around the world. This ends up helping companies realize the value of a flexible, On-Demand, best-in-class global workforce, which in turn enables the customer service and experience teams to turn from cost to profit centers.
Jerry is based in Palo Alto, California with his wife Kristen. They both enjoy traveling immensely and have lived in more than 30 places and visited 20+ countries. During COVID they are enjoying backyard movies and daily walks around the bay area.
For September’s Leader in the Spotlight Series and to learn more about emerging leaders in 2020, I interviewed Jerry on the following topics:
1. Hi Jerry, thanks for agreeing to be featured. Tell us, what does Officium Labs provide customers today that makes you guys rock stars?
In simple terms, we bring talented workers from around the world to the doorsteps of awesome brands. Brands love our pay as you go or on-demand approach to providing best in class resources to help them achieve their goals and grow their LTV or revenue.
2. What do you see is your primary role as CEO? What is most important to you and how do you implement it?
My role as a CEO is to develop the future leaders that will drive the company to success, ensure the company has the funding needed to operate and enable our product and services vision to deliver customer delight everyday. As people do business with people, it is important that I engage, listen, and help enable my people to do great things everyday for themselves and our customers.
3. What are you most excited about in this new crazy, uncertain economic/social world we live in?
At Officium we were an early adopter to remote and distributed work. We are excited that other companies across the globe are catching the vision of it. Of course, we would prefer it under different circumstances. We strongly believe a hybrid model of working remote vs. in the office is the future of business success.
4. How do you keep your team engaged, emotionally balanced, and smiling?
We use a three-prong approach:
- Everything is video, but limited to important engaging conversations.
- Iterative Slack for the rest, which is async and flexible.
- Monthly 3-day weekends to recoup and take care of personal stuff. We also encourage fun activities like walking challenges to kill zombies in a game we all play and other fun things to help us support each other outside of the normal daily grind.
5. What keeps you up at night besides spicy pizza? How do you find perspective?
I tend to think and dream about the future. Not just for Officium, but for the world. And then how Officium can help people navigate it towards success. Either with our main company or our foundation. Finding perspective is critical to the aforementioned and in general. I find perspective comes when I have a balance of my 4 quadrants (physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental). When I am balanced I have perspective and perform at my best personally and professionally. At a company level, perspective is best achieved when we make decisions and perform based on our core values and company vision for the future.
6. In the last six months, what’s one professional victory for you and your team that you are most proud of?
We just achieved our 1st year of business. We started last year with 4 people, an idea, and a $150k loan. Now we have 25 people, 9 customers, and are helping deliver immense value everyday to our customers. Making it to year 1 was a great accomplishment for the team and I.
7. What emotional intelligence competency do you feel is the most important to you and why?
I think the most important one is the first. I feel like if you can learn the first, the rest comes more naturally. The first in my view is self-awareness and the impact you have on others.
8. What is one word you hope your team would describe you?
What is one word you hope your family would describe you?
9. If you could share one practice that keeps you joyful and strong, what would it be?
I would encourage a person to have 1 hour of thinking time a week. Not doing or reacting, just thinking. It could be personal or professional. Pragmatic thinking leads to enormously valuable doing.
About the Author
Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle-based leadership development company. Steve is a dynamic, highly-sought-after speaker who has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to a list of clients including Microsoft, Starbucks, the Seattle Seahawks, Pandora Radio, Boeing, Cisco, Starwood Corporation, the Ritz Carlton group, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. He recently was voted #1 by the readership of Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational Leader on Social Media.
A published author on leadership and emotional intelligence, Steve resides near Seattle with his wife Julie where they enjoy time with their three adult children and six grandchildren.