In the latest episode of Taking the Lead, Christina Brady welcomes Alexine Mudawar, a dynamic CEO and founder with a rich background in enterprise sales. Alexine talks about her professional beginnings, recounting her experiences in sales roles at various startups and painting a vivid picture of the challenges and rewards of the fast-paced startup environment.
Transitioning from her sales roles, Alexine embarked on a new journey as a CEO, founding her own company. She shares the hurdles she faced, the lessons learned, and the growth she experienced in this leadership role. Her insights provide a unique perspective, bridging the gap between sales and executive leadership.
Throughout the conversation, it becomes evident that Alexine’s resilience, adaptability, and passion have been pivotal in her professional evolution. This episode offers valuable takeaways for anyone looking to navigate the complexities of startups and leadership.
From Retail Dreams to Tech Sales Reality
Alexine Mudawar initially aspired to be a retail buyer, envisioning a glamorous life working for high-end brands and traveling to fashion capitals. However, her journey took a turn when a manager recognized her exceptional sales numbers and suggested she explore a career in sales. Without a clear understanding of tech sales, Alexine took a leap of faith, landing her first role as an account executive. This unexpected shift showcases the importance of adaptability and being open to opportunities that may not align with one’s initial plans.
The Authenticity Challenge in Leadership
Embracing authenticity, especially in leadership roles, can be a double-edged sword. Alexine’s candidness about her unconventional path from an account executive to CEO has garnered both admiration and criticism. While some applaud her journey and see it as inspirational, others question her qualifications. Alexine’s experience underscores the challenges of being genuine in a professional setting, where authenticity can invite both support and skepticism. Despite the mixed reactions, Alexine remains committed to her authentic self, emphasizing the value of genuine leadership.
The Learning Curve of a New CEO
Stepping into the CEO role brought a myriad of unexpected challenges for Alexine. From managing tech platforms, partnerships, and legal paperwork to setting up a Salesforce instance, the learning curve was steep. She often found herself navigating unfamiliar territories, making mistakes, and learning on the go. This insight sheds light on the behind-the-scenes struggles of leadership, emphasizing the importance of resilience, self-compassion, and the continuous desire to learn and grow.
Entrepreneurial Roots and Embracing Change
Alexine Mudawar discusses her upbringing in an entrepreneurial environment, surrounded by small businesses. Despite this background, she hadn’t considered entrepreneurship for herself until a pivotal moment in 2020. This realization marked a significant shift in her mindset, allowing her to envision a future where she could be her own boss and create something meaningful.
“I come from a very entrepreneurial background and family; I grew up around small businesses. Like, this is my childhood, this is like what I grew up around. […] And so, as soon as that world opened up to me, it was just incredible.”
The Shift in 2020: Identity and Entrepreneurial Drive
The year 2020 brought about significant changes for many, including Alexine. She speaks about the transition from associating her identity with her employer to realizing her individuality and aspirations. The entrepreneurial bug bit her, and there was no turning back.
“I feel like when the world changed, I felt like there was this discrete gradient between who I was pre-pandemic and who I was after because prior to everything unfolding and taking place, I attached so much of my identity to the company that I worked for.”
The Continuous Evolution of Products and Services
Alexine emphasizes the importance of adaptability and the willingness to pivot when necessary. She discusses the concept of not striving for perfection from the outset but rather focusing on continuous improvement and feedback.
“I’ve also grown just more comfortable with the idea of there is no, like, you’re not gonna ship a perfect product day one; It’s not possible. […] We talk about this idea of not going for perfection. And so I’m starting to become more and more comfortable with that.”
Authenticity and Recognizing Gaps
Christina commends Alexine for her authenticity, especially in acknowledging her gaps and seeking help where needed. Alexine’s journey from an account executive to CEO is unique, and her openness about her experiences and challenges is both refreshing and inspiring.
“The path that you took from AE to CEO and Founder and being very open about the gaps that you have and how to fill them and what to do, and being aware of where you’ve won and where you actually need the help of others. I feel like it’s a lesson in grace, and it’s inspiring.”