Jennifer Igartua on Balancing Leadership and Creativity in Tech

January 5, 2024
Content Marketing | Marketing Strategy | Taking the Lead

Episode Summary

In this episode of Taking the Lead, host Christina Brady welcomes Jennifer Igartua, CEO of Go Nimbly, to discuss the intricate balance between leadership and personal passions. Jen shares her journey, emphasizing the importance of a well-rounded life outside of one’s professional role. She dives into the challenges and rewards of being a leader in a tech startup, offering insights on fostering a supportive and fair work environment.

Jen’s approach to leadership is innovative. She advocates for maintaining interests beyond the professional sphere, illustrating this with her own experiences in running a game company alongside her role at Go Nimbly. This dual engagement, she believes, enriches her contributions to her company. Her philosophy challenges the conventional notion that leaders must solely focus on their business.

Lastly, the episode touches on the notion of overperformance in the workplace. Jen opposes the idea of burdening high performers with additional work, suggesting alternative approaches like diversifying their responsibilities and compensating them appropriately. This segment provides valuable perspectives for both leaders and employees on managing workloads and recognizing individual contributions effectively.

Featured Guest

Name: Jennifer Igartua

What she does: CEO

Company: Go Nimbly

Noteworthy: Jennifer Igartua: Thespian, artist, and CEO of Go Nimbly.

Key Insights

Balancing Leadership and Personal Passions

Jen Igartua, CEO of Go Nimbly, shares her unique approach to leadership, emphasizing the importance of balancing professional roles with personal interests. She highlights how engaging in activities outside of work, like running a game company, can enrich professional contributions. Jen’s perspective challenges the traditional view that leaders should focus solely on their business, advocating for a well-rounded life that feeds into one’s professional effectiveness.

Overperformance in the Workplace: A New Approach

Jen discusses the common issue of overperformance in the workplace, presenting her innovative approach. Instead of burdening high performers with more work, she suggests offering them different types of tasks and compensating them appropriately. This insight provides a fresh perspective on managing workloads in a tech startup environment, advocating for a fair and supportive work culture that recognizes and rewards individual impact effectively.

The Entrepreneurial Journey: From Improv to CEO

The podcast dives into Jen’s entrepreneurial journey, starting from her involvement in improv and transitioning to the role of CEO. She narrates her path, filled with challenges and opportunities, highlighting the skills and experiences that shaped her leadership style. This journey is a testament to her resilience and adaptability, illustrating how diverse experiences can converge to forge a successful career in technology and business leadership.

Episode Highlights

Innovative Workload Management 

Jennifer Igartua discusses her unique approach to workload management at Go Nimbly. She emphasizes the importance of balancing client assignments among team members, ensuring that no one is overwhelmed with too many challenging clients. Significantly, Jen focuses on rewarding overperforming employees not by increasing their workload, but by offering them different types of work and higher compensation for their greater impact.

“But if somebody’s overperforming I don’t want to give them more work. I want to give them different work. And I want to pay them more because they’re making more impact.”​​

Duality of Career: Tech CEO and Game Company Owner 

Jen shares her experience of running a game company called Pillbox Games alongside her CEO role at Go Nimbly. This duality in her career showcases her ability to manage diverse roles — from handling high-stakes projects in the tech industry to the creative and playful realm of board game production. This part of the conversation highlights the importance of having diverse interests and the ability to balance them effectively.

“On the side, I also have a game company called Pillbox Games and we make physical board games. So it is also very silly to run a company, I’m pitching Project starting at $20 000 and then I’m also selling a $25 game. So it’s kind of crazy.”​​

Personal Productivity and Work Habits 

Jen discusses her personal work habits, particularly her preference for working later in the day, challenging the stereotype of the early-rising, highly regimented CEO. She emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s peak productivity times and structuring the workday around them, rather than adhering to traditional work schedules.

“I’ll roll out of bed at 09:01 for my meeting. Like I have to crawl out of bed. I am not a morning person.”​​

Supporting Employee Side Projects and Non-Competes 

In this part, Jen talks about her approach to employees engaging in side projects or non-compete work. She is open to team members pursuing personal projects or work in non-competing industries, as long as their performance at Go Nimbly remains strong. This policy reflects her belief in the benefits of diversified experiences and the positive impact it can have on an individual’s professional development.

“But if you are doing nonprofit work or an industry we don’t serve et cetera. Who am I to stop you? As long as you’re getting your work done your customers are happy. You’re hitting your goals. I am not going to stop you from gaining more wealth”​​.

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