We’re excited to announce that after appearing on Episode #31 of the Elevate Business Podcast, Jeff McCann has been selected for the Intuity Performance Leadership Spotlight series.
Jeff McCann, is shaking up the insurance tech industry, leading his team as CEO at APOLLO Insurance. Combining his experience in developing digital marketing solutions, and ten plus years in the industry, Jeff is shaping the future of how people buy insurance. He is also a professional travel writer and you can find his publications at the Vancouver Sun and National Post.
Here are the top 3 insights Jeff shared with the community.
1. What was it that turned you from corporate to starting your own business?
I think that it's a product of the Vancouver ecosystem. You know, we're very fortunate to have the HootSuite’s of the world that are leading the way and to be surrounded by entrepreneurs and people who have started businesses. There was a very marquee kind of moment with a mentor/adviser of ours. He had built a company over 13 years and ended up having a great business and I'm like, well, wait a minute, all these people are starting businesses in other areas of tech. We can go do that too.
I think the word entrepreneur is kind of a weird word. I think people use it in different ways, it surrounds these titans that people look up to like Elon Musk, but also, there's a lot of everyday people that are building great businesses. So I think it really breaks that barrier when you're surrounded by people that have done it, and that can help and advise you.
2. What does the word performance mean to you and what role has it played in your journey?
Performance is definitely an interesting word. I played sports while growing up and ended up playing football at University. I think performance was always something that was really a focus of mine. I think that kind of grit and work ethic goes a long way. I was never really the most talented athlete, just on a raw basis, but I was always able to work hard through that and sort of drive that performance. So I think for me, the word resonates around hard work preparation and then putting in the extra grind
I think you can translate that when you start a company, in terms of the extra hours you have to put in, because sometimes you have to overcompensate for the things you don't know by learning, by reading, by talking to advisers. I think where we translate that word performance for me is in the word execute. The execution is something that is taken for granted. People think you go start a business and it's all going to happen, but you have to be able to knock things off the list.
Your performance is measured by how much you can execute? Can you do what you say you're going to do one month to the next, quarter over quarter? This is what gives your investors confidence. It gives your team and your employees confidence. So for me, performance is all about execution.
3. Stepping into this new role, shifting from the corporate environment to starting your own business, what have been some key learnings you've had as CEO and leading a team?
Yeah, that's a great question, I think being a first-time CEO there is a lot to learn. For me, the path has been to choose authenticity. I think remaining authentic resonates with the team. It resonates with investors - being able to communicate what you don't know, as much as demonstrate your expertise. I think that really gives people confidence that you're not going to embellish, you're not going to overreach on things. I think if you check your ego at the door, then it's a lot easier to be a great teammate.
Being a CEO can put you in a vulnerable position, it can be lonely. If you can drop your ego and bring your collaborators in with you, and demonstrate that vulnerability, and be authentic, I think that goes a long way. You have to stay authentic and be that same person regardless of your accumulated success.
I think that's been the biggest thing for me, and it's played out well in terms of my relationships with the team, with investors, and all the way through, the bigger it gets, the more unreal everything gets. You check your bank account one day and you have 14 million bucks in it. You're like, all right, and stay the course of being yourself and being authentic.
If you're interested in hearing more from our Spotlight Leaders check out Todd Usen's Leadership Spotlight on Building Team Trust.