#12 With a finger on the culture pulse – Suzy Nicoletti, Managing Director, Twitter Australia (s01ep12)
DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE
- Suzy passion for creating a fun, inclusive and safe workplace culture,
- The unique way Suzy manages to keep a finger on the culture pulse.
- The importance of self-care, and her own self-care ritual.
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Transcript from the interview
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Suzy Nicoletti, Graeme Cowan
Graeme Cowan 00:06
It’s a real delight to welcome Susan Nicoletti to the caring CEO podcast today. Welcome, Suzy.
Suzy Nicoletti 00:14
Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here.
Graeme Cowan 00:16
Suzy we always start off with the same question: What does care in workplace mean to you?
Suzy Nicoletti 00:23
It’s a great question. So for me care in the workplace means focusing on people as the main priority in a pursuit to achieve business outcomes. And it’s actually a really difficult thing to achieve. Because it means as leaders, we’re treating our employees pretty much with that same level of care, diligence and flexibility as we do our customers. And we’re taking their needs and values as one of the biggest, if not the biggest priority for the business. So, um, for me, that’s, that’s kind of how I think about it and in terms of making that happen, and having a company that really believes in that people first mentality is crucial. So for me, working at Twitter at the moment, you know, in every office around the world, we have this hashtag called love where you work, you can see it in the entrance of any location. And that’s sort of our rally, or a rally prior mantra. And it shows it that we are here to run a business. But above all else, we want to create a place where people can come to feel included and valued every day. So that’s sort of how I think about care.
Graeme Cowan 01:34
I really love that and have you make it happen each day? Is there certain mantras or rituals that you go through to think about that, or it’s just become ingrained?
Suzy Nicoletti 01:45
Well, I think it’s really about about listening. And what’s interesting about Twitter and our CEO is he’s really on this mission to make the inside of our company reflect the outside of our company. So he wants that that open dialogue, that push thinking, that raw conversation, and I think that what we try to do, what we strive to do is make sure that we’re always listening. And we’re always really listening, right, we want to make sure that people feel their voices supported, protected, and we have a sense of, of what they’re feeling, so we can keep that conversation open. And we can make that balance happen between yes running a business and being profitable, but also making sure we’re clear on what we need to, to retain our employees and to stay true to the value proposition that we offer them when they joined us to begin with.
Graeme Cowan 02:32
How do you inspire true collaboration? You know, so everyone feels heard?
Suzy Nicoletti 02:39
Yeah, it’s, it’s, um, it’s always a work in progress, especially in COVID. Right. So I think that that’s kind of flipped change the game a bit, the way we used to collaborate around whiteboards, etc, is somewhat gone, we’ve been in this journey of recreation. And I think that, for me, the best way to make sure that we’re having collaboration is one, as leaders being clear, right. I think when you think about, when I look at my survey results, people want to come to do meaningful work, where they can make an impact. And if they’re not clear about what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it, they don’t know where they can actually make an impact. That’s where you start to kind of see siloed communication, siloed projects, etc. So that clear vision and communication, I think is the first thing about having that, that collaborative discussion. And then the second one for us is always making sure people feel heard. And I love you know, those surveys, we have a program called, you know, pulse, and we run it every six months. But for me, that’s not enough, I don’t want to look at data every six months, we actually have a culture team. Here in Australia, it’s a blend of different business units. And they come together and they give me the real kind of the real vibe, what people are saying what’s working what’s not once a month, so I don’t have to wait for a survey or, you know, comments to try to interpret what might be, you know, meant by something, I actually get it real and I get it straight. So kind of getting that dialogue going is also helpful again, as I think about how we pivot the business, and how we solve for the right challenges and keep people motivated around the business at hand so that they can collaborate with one another
Graeme Cowan 04:16
I really like that “Culture Advisors”, you know, getting together once a month, I hadn’t heard of that before. So obviously, how did you select those people to be cultural advisors?
Suzy Nicoletti 04:27
Yeah, so I we actually make it a proper, proper part of, of kind of the remit and something the team aspires to. So within Twitter, there’s a lot of focus on two parts of your career. So there’s the what you do in your performance metrics, and then there’s the how you do it. And that’s how we look we look at things like collaboration, teamwork, etc. And that’s always a harder thing to quantify. So if you are in the culture committee, and especially running the culture committee, that’s a that’s actually something that’s very powerful because it shows your impact, not just to your current role, but across the whole business. So we actually have a lot of people putting their hand up to be on this committee and we do a process for the person that runs it, where they actually apply. So we make it something that’s desirable, we make it a group that people really want to be a part of, that they heard they feel heard being being into. So that’s how we sort of promote it. But for me, I love it. Um, it actually the idea came to me by there was an American man out here, by the name of I think, Stan Slap, and he talked about micro cultures. And he said, you know, if you don’t know what your culture is saying about you at any one time, you know, you’re never going to be able to get them insight and with you and that’s sort of where the idea came from. I said, Oh, I wonder if there’s a way to, to get, you know, real time raw, honest feedback, more consistently. So, so we kicked it off and it’s been, it’s been very, very successful for us, we’ve learned a lot, we pivoted faster, we brought the right things to the business locally, that we need to keep thriving.
Graeme Cowan 06:02
You may be aware of this, but culture actually comes from the Latin word “to care”, you know, so it actually means it embodies that care side of things and how many people do you have on this culture committee?
Suzy Nicoletti 06:16
There’s about I think, at the moment, there’s about eight of them.
Graeme Cowan 06:19
Eight of them and and when you get together each month, how does that meeting run?
Suzy Nicoletti 06:24
I don’t attend it. I let them attend it. And sometimes I’ll give them a topic. Sometimes I’ll say, hey, I’ve noticed our scores on you know, communication are down, let me help me out what’s what’s going on? And is it you know, and I let them sort of talk openly, and then come back to me with some ideas. And sometimes it’s as simple as Hey, we don’t think, you know, in COVID, we love the benefits, you know, Twitter’s absolutely leaned in they’ve, you know, increased benefits, they’ve heard us, you know, with our specific needs of childcare in Australia and expenses, but don’t think the leaders are insink, was just sort of like a one little tweak, we feel like you’re you’re kind of over here, and these other people are here. And it was it was simple feedback. But we caught it. And then we started to meet as leaders and make sure that our approach to people was uniform, so that everyone was having that same self care experience at Twitter, during a tough time. So those are the types of things that they serve us and I meet with one person who just sort of breaks it down for me.
Graeme Cowan 07:25
Yeah fantastic, actually, my wife, she runs a big research group, but the Cancer Council and in the COVID journey, she had a put something in place where each of the team managers that they actually met every four o’clock every every afternoon, and it wasn’t compulsory to be there. But people did turn up and she really found it was sort of the end of the day, people were lighter in their mood, but they also got very quick feedback on little issues that could be bubbling away. And there was sort of a lot of that with the whole COVID. lockdown, wasn’t there lots of interruptions and changes.
Suzy Nicoletti 08:03
Everything. Absolutely. communication was so tricky during COVID. And the risk is, for me, it’s in culture, the risk is always miss diagnosing the problem, right? So if you read something on paper, and it says, we’ll go back to communication, it’s because I’ve been talking about it, but let’s say the communication score is down um you can make assumptions that are not not at all right, right. And so that’s where you need those that honest anecdote to really unpack and figure out how to solve correctly with with the leadership team. So COVID has been fascinating for our business, because we were actually already shifting towards being a virtual business and our CEO came out and talked about his ambition for us, you know, given that flexibility, and optionality to our employees, so we were sort of on on the journey, it just really fast tracked it. And I think what we’ve learned is, with all the pivoting happening with you know, America and Australia, and whatnot, you know, that ability to communicate consistently and really stick the communication is so important.
Graeme Cowan 09:08
What have you learned from your global CEO, Jack Dorsey?
Suzy Nicoletti 09:14
I’ve learned so many things. He’s such a fascinating guy. And I think in general, what I’ve learned in this role within Twitter is just that in, in the digital age, leadership’s always evolving. Like it really is an answer I will give you today to be very honest with you, you know, we don’t know what the hybrid world is gonna look like. Like, it just always evolves. And I think a lot of that evolution comes from technology. Um it’s changed everything right. You know, the speed, the reach, you know, we used to have watercooler conversations. Now people are under the table while you’re talking, sharing their thoughts on what you’re saying, right? So everything’s just sped up and that information can go global etc. Where Jack is absolutely phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal and in really inspiring is in this concept of hyper transparency. Um he builds and fails in public. And I think he was one of the first CEOs I really saw do that. We’ll launch products openly, we’ll get feedback on ’em, he will fail in public, he will apologize in public. And he, he does this in part to build trust and also to create accountability. So right now we’re on a, we’re on sort of a journey to become the most inclusive and diverse company in the world. And we’re not gonna always get that, right. But he’s, he’s committed to doing that in public. And so you’ll see him on Twitter, actually taking you through the progress taking you through the missteps. And for me, you know, I always think working for a multinational, I’m the, the last row in the stadium, like very far away, and that hybrid transparency just makes it so clear for me, and enables me to feel that there’s, there’s trust, I’m connected, I get it. And, you know, I feel a sense of our culture.
Graeme Cowan 11:07
And he doesn’t just run Twitter, he’s also the CEO of Square, right? How does he, how does he balance both those things, either them seem to be a job in itself.
Suzy Nicoletti 11:17
Well, he, you know, he comes to this market, he used to come pre COVID, about once a year to speak to both Square and Twitter and what’s fascinating about him is, you know, he doesn’t have a computer, right, so he only has a phone. And he really focuses on letting his his team drive. So he’s clear with his ambitions. He’s transparent about how we’re doing on the journey, going back to that previous example. But he lets his team step in and drive and he’s got, he does have really all star teams on on both companies. So that’s been sort of his, his sort of formula, if you will, at the moment is to make sure that he sets that vision and it’s clear, but he’s letting great people step up. And the idea of him not having a computer is fascinating. So it really shows like he’s not going to be in there in the weeds. That’s that’s for other people to step up and do.
Graeme Cowan 12:14
So how does he keep tapped in if he doesn’t have a computer? What does he rely on to get the best update and know what’s really going on?
Suzy Nicoletti 12:23
Well, users might might hope he uses Twitter, but um, he is. The one thing you mentioned when he was out here is he uses this funnel, he uses audio. So he’ll he’ll actually speak some of the emails out that, that he ships to the business. So that’s, that’s one of his methods. And then I get I guess the other thing he often talks about is the need for, you know, his ideas to be a big contributor. So he talks a lot about his routine, walking to work every day, and how he uses that time to think and to ideate. And that to be really the focus of his contributions.
Graeme Cowan 12:56
Your career started, as I understand, in the car rental business.
Suzy Nicoletti 12:59
Graeme Cowan 13:03
How did that happen?
Suzy Nicoletti 13:05
Oh, my goodness. So it’s, my career has been such a winding journey but I mean, it’s a great story. But the lesson of the story is that when you maximize literally every opportunity put in front of you, you create the path to your future. And so my story is, I was going to be a technical writer and I graduated in Silicon Valley, I had a job, but I graduated in a .com bust, so sort of my intro to technology: have a job don’t have a job, based on you know the boom bust cycle that sometimes exists in Silicon Valley. So no job um and one of the only companies hiring was this, this kind of rental car company, and in the entertainment division. So I did take the job, I figured, hey, let’s let’s learn customers, let’s learn, you know, strategy, sales, etc. So I took it. And I literally rented cars, to movie stars. And what was so fascinating about that job, but I won’t do the whole celebrity stories because sometimes I get carried away, but no matter what, no matter how crazy the requests coming in, where you always had to find the solution. So nameless celebrity exes got crumbs in the car seat in Atlanta and I’m based in Los Angeles at this time, I need to find someone to go switch that car out to the exact colour interior exterior etc to the liking of celebrity x. And it’s such a funny it’s sort of like the Devil Wears Prada rental cars. But you know, what I learned in that very, very, very first job is, um, you have to you’ve always got to have a solve, and you’ve got to go above and beyond for the customer. And that’s it’s a it’s a simple lesson, but you know what, I’ve taken it everywhere with me and I think that that’s been my leadership approach has always been over servicing the customer and very customer centric. So I used that experience to get into Google and then it’s just been a big part of who I am as a leader. So, I mean, life is ambiguous. You never know what’s coming. But you know, we can either get lost or find the path and for me, whenever you lean into what’s in front of you, the path opens up.
Graeme Cowan 15:20
What did you learn from your time at Google?
Suzy Nicoletti 15:24
I learned so much from my time at Google. Google is just an absolutely fascinating company and when I started there, I think we spoke about this when I started there, it was very new, this concept of taking a bus into this, you know, living in San Francisco, and bussing to Mountain View. It had never been done. This free lunches thing had never been done. It was very, very early days and I actually started back in 2005, in the sales program and I remember just having Excel spreadsheets of customers with like, missing information. And what I what I really learned at Google was, first of all, the power of creating a good product, because Wow, when we got the product, right both in, you know, my time there in Mountain View, I moved up to San Francisco to help launch that office in the Mountain City, when you get the product, right for customers, it is there is no limit to what you can what technology can do and how it can change the world. And I even just talking a little bit more on that I came to Australia, it was just a three month rotation for fun um and I’ve been here 13 years, because it’s just been Google’s just done tremendous, tremendous things. So that was sort of I think that one of my big learnings from Google. But the second thing is they were they were actually early in putting people first. This concept of free lunch, this concept of massage this concept of you know, all these perks, I remember everyone thought they were that was a bit strange at the time to over invest in people. But that was a real live experience. I’m so blessed to have grown up with Google because, um, you know, you put your people first you build a great product, and you have incredible retention in that business. My my brother’s actually been there, I think almost 20 years. So it’s a it’s a great place. So I think, um, I think I feel so lucky, the people that are there were so smart. So I feel like I really learned from that from the best about how to create a great product and how to really lean into your people.
Graeme Cowan 17:27
Yeah, I saw a study once from Google about what makes up their best teams, and they probably aware of this, but the number one thing was psychological safety, you know, where people feel comfortable being themselves where they feel they can take risks and not know that they’ll be sacrificed if things go wrong. Did you experience that there ,where there was just ideas listened to and acted on and if they didn’t work out, you’d learn and regroup?
Suzy Nicoletti 17:55
Absolutely and I’m glad you brought that up because that was such a also a unique part of the experience you you were required to do, it was expected you could do your job and do it well. Everyone at Google, you know, a lot of people were very successful in the face role but what helps you move forward in the company was, you know, that extra innovation that 20% of time. And so no matter what division you were in, you know, you had to be, you know, everyone was encouraged to come up with ideas, pilots, for you know, anything as basic as how to operationally run a meeting to a different model in which we can show our clients, but everybody was innovating. And, and yeah, and that really taught me, you know, okay, I must have pitch or tried in my nine years there. I don’t even know at 20 ideas, but and only one or two stuck, but that was actually a part of the job. You don’t don’t take the status quo um do what you do well, but then keep innovating and growing. And I think that’s why the company, in my opinion has been very successful is that you’ve got all these people constantly pushing the bar and thinking about what’s what’s next and what we what else we can do, because that’s encouraged.
Graeme Cowan 19:07
And I understand you joined, you know, right when Adwords were very much in its infancy, and that’s obviously become a huge revenue generator for the organization. What was that wild time like because that there must have been just astronomical growth?
Suzy Nicoletti 19:23
Yeah, I mean, it really was I think, I guess thinking to Australia specifically and yes, you’re right America it was it was it was early, but the product was sort of flying off the shelf. When I came to Australia, though, I that story is fascinating, because I came out here and people did not believe in Google. I was selling Google against the Yellow Pages unsuccessfully. And so to to go from there to the amazing success of the company today is a huge credit to everything that you know, the the Google team has has done. So I think they’ve done a great job, you know, building and iterating. And I’d say the same for Twitter as well. I think the difference between Google and Twitter is, when I was at Google, we found a core product and it worked incredibly well. Um at Twitter, it took us a little bit of time to find to find our feet admittedly um but once we did, once we’ve we’ve actually found our stride, we’ve zeroed in on what we do better than anyone else. The results have been tremendous and now we have one of the most ambitious revenue goals out there, to double our revenue in the next three years. And everyone’s got a tremendous amount of confidence, because we actually, we found our way, finally, we found our little niche, we know how we’re going to we’re going to make a difference. And that’s I think that’s the fun of technology.
Graeme Cowan 20:44
What is that niche? Where are you looking at really focusing to get that amazing growth?
Suzy Nicoletti 20:49
Yeah, well, I think what we’ve, what we’ve realized is we are the, there’s a lot of choice right now for for rapid, I’ll speak to the revenue side at the moment for the for the minute. But there’s a lot of choice out there, there’s a lot of different businesses in the market. Businesses that are launching, businesses that have been here like Google, Facebook, etc. And what we are absolutely the best at for our brands is being the place where people can come to launch something new, right? So So phone launches, computer launches, etc. or connect with what’s happening. And that would be like the Olympics, right? That’s going to be the big event that’s happening, that a lot of brands are trying to figure out how they find an audience and align to. And that is where we absolutely excel, we’re where the conversation happens around events for the second screen for TV around those events. So those two areas we do, absolutely best in class. And so what we’ve done is made sure that we’ve built a strategy that really focuses on the customers that have those needs, and clarifies the value proposition to those needs. And there’s actually a very large market of opportunity there. So we’re genuinely in our infancy on that on that side of the journey. And then our consumer product, you know, is following suit, it’s again, you know, making sure that we’re the best platform where people can see, you know, see what’s, what’s happening and we’re continuing to make interesting steps on the consumer side, as well, as we’ve seen our rev, our user growth grow pretty strong over the past couple years.
Graeme Cowan 22:18
And how do you get your team, the entire organization behind this vision, and and so that they understand the purpose and the benefits and that sort of things? What should you do? What sort of things do you do to help enable that?
Suzy Nicoletti 22:31
Yeah, I think I’m being a multinational, it’s sort of, it’s always two pronged, because you’ve got to look a little bit to the top for some direction and going to, to company purpose, just backing that up for a second, that’s something that I’m not going to try to alter that that’s from the States um, and going back to love where you work, you know, what we want to do is make sure that that mantra, that feeling of why people come to Twitter, how they feel a Twitter is reflected in our office. And so, yes, we’ve got the hashtags, we also do celebrations, you know, for people we feel personally celebrated. We make sure that we’re constantly prioritizing our people, and taking the best of the benefits of us and try to sometimes even do our own here. So people really feel that love, they feel that support. And we’re we’re leaning into that that global mission. I think locally, it’s hard, right? Because the, you know, there’s a lot of the strategy of the states that we can’t replicate the whole thing here in Australia. And so if it’s not entirely relevant, so what we do is I actually, again, work, cross functionally with the team to help build a strategy and help us think about what’s going to make sense here in this this office, right? So culture squad, as I talked about, that’s, that’s an Aussie thing. That’s something where I think, Hey, I think you know, we’ve we’re gonna get some great global insights. But I want some local ones too. And I think what I’m hearing from the team is we need some some faster action to be happy in this market. So let’s do that. Um and then on the revenue side, you know, we have got a team that come together when we look at the plan of the states and we think about what makes sense for us here. So how do we how do we take the best of America and the best of Australia and bring it together in a way people can understand and to make that durable um I often wash it over and I asked people to tell me why it won’t work. Right. So So before we ship it, Why won’t this work? Just just unpack this? And there’s, there’s a lot of people at twitter who’ll tell me why it won’t. So we’re not short on that, which is good. Um but it just makes it a little bit more durable so by the time we’re actually shipping something locally, there’s there’s a lot of buy-in before we go out the door with it.
Graeme Cowan 24:41
When you recruit people for Twitter, what are the must haves? What are the things that are just not negotiable?
Suzy Nicoletti 24:47
No, it’s a good question, because we’ve actually um, the way I think about it um, the way I think about hiring is is why would you hire… like why would you come to a Twitter versus a Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Tiko Tok excetera? What’s the value prop. And I’ve learned so much in the hiring space, because for a long time, we weren’t really clear, like our new tech company launching in Australia, you know, it was very vague. And when you kind of create that, it creates a leaky funnel, like people aren’t exactly sure what they’ve signed up for. And so we try to be really honest, you know, with our value proposition, and who we are. And, you know, effectively, we’re a company, where you’re going to come, you’re going to make an impact every day um and you’re going to learn a tremendous amount, and love your experience to go on and do something better. And so that’s, that’s sort of the value proposition. I’m not a Google anymore, where this is your silo, you do your one thing, well, you’re going to come in, it’s going to be a bit messy, you’re going to do a lot of things, you’re going to think on your feet, but you’re going to make a huge impact, gonna learn a tremendous amount, we are going to absolutely care for you and grow you um and then you’re getting on to do something else. So being clear on that value prop has been a big part of our retention, we have one of the lowest regretted nutritions in the world, I think being clear on that upfront has been has been key. Now. I think there’s phases to businesses and as the company we were, you know, we always have parts of us that we can’t change. So Twitter’s always going to be a place where we’re, we like the people that are, you know, like to swim up hill a little bit… push thinkers, um people that are going to challenge. People that are going to love to get their hands dirty. We need those kind of self starters. But we’re also getting out of that startup phase and now we’re operationalizing a bit more. So we actually write our questions out for every interview. We’re clear on who’s doing what, who’s saying what and we make sure now that we’re starting to bring more diversity into the process and diversity of thought we don’t want just one type of person coming in. So a big piece of work we’ve done on hiring this year is yes, we need to make sure there is that that scrappiness that that teamwork element, but we also want to make sure 1. there’s diversity in the hiring slate and 2. we’re getting different different types of people, people that have an operational experience, etc. As we can kind of take this next phase.
Graeme Cowan 27:11
Wonderful. When you reflect back on, you know, I guess the last five years, you know, you’ve done a lot in terms of building Twitter, but you’ve also, as I understand, become a mom to two young kids, how old are they now?
Suzy Nicoletti 27:27
So I have a um…. it always takes me a long time to remember, five and a half and four year old girls. Wonderful.
Graeme Cowan 27:40
And how do you manage that life? How do you integrate you know, very busy, very intense professional life with a personal life?
Suzy Nicoletti 27:50
Oh, my goodness, a day at a time is probably the the honest answer. But you know, the real answer is, that is, for me that’s been the make or break is the ability to have honest communication, because I was promoted to the MD job five months pregnant. And I have a husband who has a career as well. And so the ability to be honest with work so so, for, and have trusted work to balance my life. So for example, I could hang up this call and and message my boss and say, I’m sorry, I’ve got something to do with the kids today and there’s that trust and that openness that there’s there’s on there’s communication, I’m going to get the job done. But I need some flex for the family and Twitter has been exceptional about even when, you know, I got this job and no one said, How long are you going on Mat leave? There was no questions. It’s like you’re the best person for the job, come in and do the job. We have a big turnaround to do and we’ll work with you has always been sort of the mantra so that at work to be fair is a big part of the balance. Because if I can’t be honest, and I don’t have flexibility, it’s it’s so so tricky. Um and then the same goes at home. Um, you know, gosh, there’s been so many different phases but one thing my I think my husband and I do well is we take those timeouts we take those date nights to just check in, you know, and be like, where? where are at? you know, are you into the career are you leaning out of your career? Are you feeling burned out? And we keep that conversation open and we pivot, right? And there’s times where I’m, I’ll say I’m overloaded right and he’ll, he’ll say, Okay, I can step in here. Sometimes he’ll say, you know, this is what I need. So it’s just about that open and honest conversation and in in COVID, we actually took turns. So he was lead parent, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then I was lead parent, Thursday, Friday, so we just swapped our works around. So for me the critical work was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, um and we kind of made that work. And this year, we’ve decided to get a part time nanny. We’re like you know what, it’s just too much we got to the point where like, you need extra help. So let’s just do, let’s just do that for this year. So it’s just about that open conversation and awareness, because the truth is, with this crazy juggle, you’re only gonna get so far before you’re gonna have to pivot again, like, I only plan on setting and setting it for about six months, and we’re going to have to someone’s going to be wanting to take any opportunity or needing a tweak. So it’s, it’s that sort of the way we try to keep the balance going.
Graeme Cowan 30:29
And I understand you share a Google calendar to keep keep things in check. Is that is that correct? Or not?
Suzy Nicoletti 30:36
I do. I am very serious about my calendar. It’s true. Yes, I do.
Graeme Cowan 30:43
And and I also saw written that, you know, you have two categories of meetings, ones that are quite routine, and ones which you must have, is that how you juggle and understand what your husband is also experiencing as well, those two categories?
Suzy Nicoletti 30:59
Well, I think that I think the where we kind of, we kind of do it to be honest, it starts a bit with, with self care. And that’s how I prioritize now, which is a big change. And I was having this chat with Didier at Culture Amp and he couldn’t believe that I do this, but I actually do this, I, I put the things I need in first. Um so beyond the kid responsibilities, right, I can’t pick up drop off, etc, I can’t get around some of those things, but I put my workout time in first, and I put my time in first. And I actually tried experimenting, and I’ve kept it with auto decline around that. So it protects that time that I really just need to recharge. And, and it was scary at first to auto decline, especially when important people in America are coming in things in the calendar, it’s auto declining, maybe not the best look. But what’s amazing, I’ve actually turned off auto decline, because it’s given me the boundaries in my in my working week. So I actually can say for the first time like I get enough and my husband can too or it’s like he feels we feel an element of balance right now. And there’s enough time for, for me, for him for us, for the family. Um then work I generally feel I’m more focused at work and and more productive. Because the time there is is is valuable. I’m in kind of the tier one, tier two, I don’t know about tier one, tier two, I tried to try to delegate, I have an incredible team around me as much as I know that they can do and they want to do and I try to make sure that you know i don’t you know, I don’t overextend these areas where there’s people that are incredibly capable of stepping up in.
Graeme Cowan 32:47
How do you um, what do you do for self care?
Suzy Nicoletti 32:52
Well, I, for me, it’s interesting. I’ve always been a swimmer and swam since I was six. And I’ve always been a mind over body, make it happen, style person swim, at 6am and whatnot person. And, you know, I kind of had a wake up call, to be honest, a couple years back, I had two little girls under three, I was trying to run Twitter. And I noticed I started to get tired. And, and then it just sort of progressed. And then I realized that I was in bed all weekend. And I realized I actually did not have the energy to just make it happen. And it was this crazy, in the end, I ended up having glandular fever, and it was this amazing wake up call that I had limits like I had limits as a first time I felt like I had to be like, Oh wow, this is no longer mind over body, you’ve got little kids, you’re not sleeping all the time, you got a lot of stress, like you have to take that that care. And so for me, I do have my I do kind of my calendar in three month chunks and I try to whenever the kids have holiday time I’ll take a couple days of that to reflect and re input into my calendar. So so it’s sort of term is a little bit different um at the moment, I am really into swimming that’s I’m back into swimming sometimes I’m taking a break for swimming right now I’m really into it. It gives me that me time. I’m working towards something with a team and that’s sort of my my kind of release and I’m into walking. I love walking I walk about three times a night. And I can just see that stress go down when I’m able to just get it out in my head at night before I get into bed. So swimming and walking are the two things, at the moment, that’s what I’m leading into. But I have not forgotten the wake up call a couple years ago that you can’t just keep pushing. You’ve got to have that balance for your body. So yeah.
Graeme Cowan 34:50
I saw you’re a member of the North Styene Surf Club. So do you do you live near that area or in that area?
Suzy Nicoletti 34:57
I do. I live in this area. I I actually was on a Google trip to the US with the then CMO, of I think it was Panasonic, and he he realized I was a swimmer. And this was literally 11 years ago, we were at consumer electronics tradeshow and he said, Hey, come and join the club and I was still trying to find my Aussie roots. And I said, Sure, let’s do it. So I joined and I wouldn’t have guessed 10 years later, I’d be up here. And and my my youngest, sorry, my oldest is now a nipper. So I’m an age group manager.
Graeme Cowan 35:31
Fantastic. And it’s a lovely environment there on Saturday and Sunday isn’t that I meet two mates at Curl Curl every Sunday morning, and we jog around Shelly Beach and jog back and have breakfast and it’s lovely. And, and are you part of the Bold and Beautiful group that swims around to Shelly from Manly?
Suzy Nicoletti 35:49
Wow, I love that you’re up here too. Um, sometimes, sometimes.
Graeme Cowan 35:54
Not all the time.
Suzy Nicoletti 35:55
It doesn’t quite fit in the schedule, but I always do the um the swims, I try to do the big swims every year. It’s my sort of a ritual. And my, my former boss actually flew out to do it with me this year, we’re trying to make it sort of a ritual. But I don’t always do the Bold and Beautiful I want to but I don’t always make it happen on tight schedule.
Graeme Cowan 36:17
It certainly looks very hard in winter. But my sister does it every weekend. And she has a rule that once you start walking in, you don’t stop. Gotta keep going to get under the water and she does it with her two sons. It’s a wonderful thing they do each each weekend.
Suzy Nicoletti 36:32
It’s amazing. How many people and how many people in the winter and how many people?
Graeme Cowan 36:36
There’s so many, there’s so many. Certainly certainly wake you up, that’s for sure. And in terms of, you know, staying on top of things, and being aware of new trends and that sort of thing. Obviously, Twitter is a source for you. Do you have any other sources of keeping your finger on the pulse?
Suzy Nicoletti 36:58
Yeah, no, I get thank you for plugging Twitter, I was gonna go there. So yes, I do check my Twitter I curate um I make sure that I create lists. So I can get a quick sense of what’s happening and who’s who’s been saying what each day as it relates to my industry and interests. But, you know, one thing I’ve tried this year, is actually just making sure that while we are still in a virtual environment as Twitter, I get to the market every Thursday. And I think about the most important thing for me, as a leader, it’s the judgment calls I make, you know, it’s looking at the you know, all of the focus areas, how they quickly they’re shifting and where I’m prioritizing my team. And obviously, we set a great strategy, as I mentioned, but it’s tech so things change, things pop up. You know, I think about for me this year, for example, the the news code meant that Facebook pulled out of news temporarily, and I just so happened to be news. So was was that the opportunity to have the level lifetime lean into or something to kind of sit back on the sidelines, and I get a lot of these scenarios that come up quite a bit. So for me, outside of Twitter, I’d make a point to be in market once a week and listening and really close to customers, to industry bodies, except government, so that I can make these calls better. And I can lean on my team for some insights but I also have, you know, current local perspective to apply as well. So for me, that’s become really important.
Graeme Cowan 38:24
Yeah, very good. And any particular book that’s had a big impact on you? You know what? I should be plugging so many people right now. Woman Kind, Kristin Ferguson. I’m in that one. So that’s a bit of a cheat. You know what, I have to be very honest, I love reading. I’m a literature major. One book I still have that has inspired me. And ever since I was 23, is a book called Smart Women Finish Rich and it was funny, I was living in Los Angeles making no money at all aAnd I went to UCLA and did a course in personal finance. And I just found it so empowering that I bought the book and I read the book, and I’m sort of stayed on this trajectory of, you know, personally, as a woman, personal finance, and, you know, making sure that I’ve I’ve, you know, stayed up to speed and empowered. And that was that one is has has been one to be honest, that has always impacted me outside of all of the other amazing books that I do have behind me, including Woman Kind. Which is great, part 2 is coming out. Yes. It’s been absolutely wonderful catching up. Suzy, I really appreciate your time and also a real, real perspective of this to 15 years working into real global digital brands. And I just wanted to ask you, you’ve probably don’t know anything else because you’ve been involved in that environment for so long, but when you come across other industries or other people, what helps you to understand how they operate?
Suzy Nicoletti 40:04
I love getting that perspective. It’s a great point. I love the companies I’ve worked for but you know, one thing for me is making sure that I’m always a part of, you know, boards or working groups, where I can get that diverse perspective because I need it right. I like technology moves fast but you’re right, um I’ve really thrived in things like my board at Ovarian Cancer Australia, where we have a lot of different people, we have consultants, we have lawyers, we have Ian Jacobs, the Vice Chancellor UNSW um and just really different people coming together to kind of, you know, create create a future for business. So for me, sort of the board and advisory work has been my way of making sure that I get that Australian perspective as well, or that locals perspective, or something a little bit different um and I really love it, I love seeing how different brands and companies think that aren’t just that that Silicon Valley piece that I absolutely love, but I know it’s just one way of working.
Graeme Cowan 41:09
And I remember also reading that you have, you know, like a board around you from people that don’t come from where you are, and they give a different perspective. How did you go about identifying and choosing those people?
Suzy Nicoletti 41:20
Yeah, no, I thank you. I love that concept of personal board that came up when I was I was actually passed for a promotion early in my career that I totally, I thought I’d nailed. And it was it was it was outsider perspective, that that that really showed me like, Hey, this is these are your gaps at the at this point, and people that were just willing to be that honest. So, um, it helped me think, you know, if I’m gonna, if I want to keep growing, I need to get out of my bubble, like you mentioned before this kind of bubble of, you know, same type of thinker. So the way I think about it genuinely is one is diversity. So I have their six people right now, I actually just had a sitch something come up. But I want a perspective that I have about six people, I talked to three men, three women, um and I think about different life stages. So I’ll share my father-in-law as one person he was on the leadership team of Westpac. So banking, doesn’t know anything about Silicon Valley, really knows Australia, and knows how things work and operate and he gives me sort of that one area of perspective. Um I throw to someone else in Singapore, you know, a former boss, so understands me, um and was in this space for a little bit, but also has worked in three different other industries. So I try to make sure there there genuinely is this, this gender divide, there’s industry divide, and there’s people at different parts of their life, because I don’t want to just think like people today, I want to I want people that have been through some stuff and can kind of reflect back and give me you know, some hindsight perspective, as well as people that are currently going through what I am.
Graeme Cowan 42:53
I think it’s really wonderful to have that, you know, different insights from from people and actually something that what was your hashtag again, beginning because it made me think of something was
Suzy Nicoletti 43:04
oh “hashtag love where you work”
Graeme Cowan 43:05
Love where you work yeah, and I’m not sure what I think one of the greatest definitions of success is Maya Angelou, who once wrote “success is liking liking yourself liking what I do, and liking how I do it”. And I really think that’s gold and sort of sounds like it’s what you’re trying to achieve with Twitter as well.
Suzy Nicoletti 43:25
Absolutely. I think, um, I think every year I take a break, and I think about my why, you know, why you take that time, and we all work so hard and you have to think like, why do I do this? You know, and what’s the thing that gets me out of bed. And I think, honestly, for me, it’s this feeling of I want to look back in my life and feel like I really created a workplace of the future where people came together, they did great work, they learned a lot, and went on to do better things. But they always loved that time in their life. Like I that’s, that’s really, that, to me is really cool and really special and I think that’s what gives me the fire to keep being a leader and to keep pushing boundaries about how we can make workplaces inclusive and better. Um and hopefully, I’ll be creating a workplace that are different way of doing things that will benefit my my girls when they grow up as well.
Graeme Cowan 44:23
That’s such a great insight. Thinking back to when you just graduated, you were an English major, and you were hoping to get a job as a science writer, but market collapsed and know that you felt a bit despondent. Knowing what you know, now, what advice would you give that 20-21 year old self?
Suzy Nicoletti 44:45
Yeah, I think that, you know, the best advice is having the courage to take those risks um and when I think back on my career, I you know, I almost was I’d taken more of them. And it’s it sometimes might look from the outside, like, I haven’t taken a lot of jumps but you know, moving to Australia was was at the time, you know, a big leap, and I had about two weeks to make that call. Or you’re right starting in the rental car business, but it actually felt right and I thought there was something that could be kind of neat there, or moving to Twitter. And to be honest, I was at Google for a long time, and it was doing incredibly well and Twitter was, you know, not at the time, when I moved over, there was a lot of negative speculation, concerns the business wouldn’t be around. And when I interviewed at Twitter, no one tried to paint me a false story. They said, We don’t know what’s going to happen. But you’re going to have a ringside seat, you’re going to learn a tremendous amount and we’d love to give you a shot and at really being a senior leader, and so every time I’ve taken a risk, it’s paid off, even when I’ve failed. It’s just been a tremendous learning. So I think, to myself, younger self, it’s just those those risks, you know, live the world without boundaries, and, you know, take risks on what’s possible.
Graeme Cowan 46:07
Seize the day.
Suzy Nicoletti 46:10
Yeah, Exactly. Exactly.
Graeme Cowan 46:13
It’s been lovely to catch you up today. Suzy, thank you so much for sharing those insights and and your journey. As a former recruiter, I always find it very fascinating to speak with people as they evolve their career and the choices they make. And, you know, you’ve made some, you know, obviously, some really great choices and seen lots of change, lots of action and, and I really love, you know, your WHY. I think it is just magic and it fits into what the hearing CEO is about that the current CEO is someone that strive for both a culture of care and a culture of high performance. and I think you really embody that. So thanks very much.
Suzy Nicoletti 46:49
Thank you as well. I really enjoyed our conversation today. So appreciate your time.
Graeme Cowan 46:55
Oh, you are inquisitive… getting all the way to the bottom of the page!
Thanks for listening 🙂
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