Cut the BS – Knowers vs. Learners: Are you a “knower” or a “learner?”
Unfortunately, as we gain expertise throughout our careers, we tend to become “knowers” as opposed to early in life—through our early 20’s– when our main “job” is learning. It seems the more we know, the more it gets in the way of learning.
Alvin Toffler’s book Future Shock includes a powerful quote: “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write but who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
We benefit from life long learning in so many ways:
*Economically—you’ll earn more the more you learn.
*As a leader—you’ll change and adapt to the market and your team.
*The Dos Equis Effect—Like the most interesting man in the world, learning makes you more interesting.
*You’ll be healthier—learning is great for the brain.
Fight the natural fear of change and the unknown. Personal and professional growth improves your life and the lives of those around you. Carve out dedicated time to learning and Cut the Bullshit.
About Audrey Russo
Audrey Russo is president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Since joining the council in 2007, Audrey has built and led a team that’s grown the organization to 1,400 member companies with 270,000 member employees from just about every industry.
Audrey also serves as a board member of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Regional Industrial Development Center, and more.
Interview with Audrey Russo
On today’s episode I sit down with Audrey Russo, the President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, and a woman who has become an agent for change in each of her career milestones leading up to her current position. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in social work, Audrey began on her path of continuous learning by working in various internships and diving deep into each ones’ respective cultures.
Audrey has dealt with many hurdles in her career, from managing a large team of 100+ individuals at a young age, to transitioning companies and cultures when her job at Reynolds Metals was acquired by Alcoa. Audrey speaks with me about the process of merging two deeply rooted company cultures, and how that can have an effect on employees, as well as the relationships between the two IT departments during the acquisition process.
Now leading Pittsburgh’s technology community, Audrey took many steps as President to revamp the council into what it is today. She comments on her first 100 days with the council, from an unknown player in the Pittsburgh community to becoming a key contributor in helping the city innovate and provide value to tech companies in the area. We also discuss the metrics she has established for her team in order to help the companies in Pittsburgh thrive.
[2:39] Educational Background and career history
- Bachelor’s degree in social work from The Ohio State University
- Opportunities for applied learning – 6-7 internships during college career
- Masters degree in public policy from Syracuse University
- Was interested in operations, systems, and technology
- Ran IT department at Reynolds Metals before acquired by Alcoa
- Invited to run Pittsburgh Tech Council for past nine years
[9:46] Transition when Alcoa was acquired
- Companies have deep rooted cultures
- Alcoa and Reynolds were combined at one point back in the 20s but had to be divested due to monopoly laws
- IT teams could talk and establish relationship over nine months
- Alcoa had incredible standards around safety which were ingrained in their culture
[15:45] Maya Design job in Pittsburgh
- Went from 140 thousand people to 115 people
- At Maya was talking to the customers and what their business problems were
- Was learning every day, and enjoyed the nimbleness of the company
[18:35] First 100 days at Pitts Technology Council
- Had Tech 50 Event on 3rd day
- Spent 10 months undoing nonprofits so they could stand on their own
- Strived to make sure tech ecosystem thrives in southeast PA
- Untether tech council from nonprofits
- Spent time meeting people, was a dark horse in the community when started
- Went on a listening/apology tour
[24:25 Success metrics for members of Pittsburgh Technology Council
- Needed to collect data over a couple of years
- Shifted culture to high touch and engagement
- Measures that include impact – such as awards or collaborations
- Internally have metrics for team on innovation
- 3 distinct product/services/programs that are new each year that are new and meet a certain threshold
- Test whether innovation meets financial/impact thresholds
- Cultural shift in being outcome focused
Connect With Audrey Russo:
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