We (Cam and Deb) are life and business partners living in Seattle, WA. We met in Ottawa, Canada where Cam was the original coach for the Shopify executives and the founding member of the Talent Acceleration team. Cam built a team of scrappy coaches to help develop Shopifolk to meet the developmental challenges they were facing at the early stages of company growth. He and his team created and delivered individual coaching and development programs to grow increased leadership capacity. Back in 2013, Shopify was one of the first tech companies to have in-house coaches working at all levels of the organization.
In 2016, Cam brought Deb on board to help level up and expand the coaching team. As Cam focused more on building out what became the Talent Development team, Deb took over leading the coaching team and worked closely with the executive team. Her coaching and counsel helped executives and senior leaders meet the complex challenges they were facing in hyper-growth. Deb’s knowledge of the executive team and Shopify’s business imperatives plus her passion for coaching craft helped to scale the impact of the coaching team to be an integral part of Shopify’s success.
While we share backgrounds in business, technology, human development and leadership, we do have different points of interest in our coaching. Cam is an engineer by trade and works predominantly with founders and senior R&D leaders to build their organizations and generate stakeholder value. Deb has experience in sales, marketing and operations and works with executives, senior leaders and other coaches to develop themselves and the delivery of their craft.
Taking advantage of our complementary experience, we often consult with each other to bring fresh insight and perspective to client situations.
Our work with clients results in tangible change in leadership capacity, influence and impact. We help clients close the gaps between who they are now and who they aspire to be in the places they live and work.
We work with and welcome a diverse set of clients.
I spent the first 20 years of my career in ‘big tech’, working for large IT and Telecom companies. At IBM I held technical lead roles on ‘video on demand’ and ‘remote work’ pilots in the mid 90’s. I transitioned to Product Management in the late 90’s, leading early stage product initiatives in Internet Access and Internet Security markets with IBM and AT&T. As Director of Product at Bell Canada, I managed a $700M late lifecycle product portfolio. During my time in Product I secured tens of $M in funding, negotiated many partnerships and even tried to buy a few companies.
My IRL experience gave me insights into a broad range of People, Process and Technology challenges and how they need to be optimized across Product and Business Life Cycles.
As a coach, it informs my client engagements and enables me to quickly understand the contexts my clients operate in.
I started Gregg Advisory to help people like me – mid to senior level managers who had been promoted due to their deep subject matter expertise and ability to GSD and were struggling to scale to the demands of their current roles.
It turned out that this was also an excellent ‘pattern match’ with Tech Founders and their core teams as I learned when I had the privilege of working with the founding team at Shopify. After working with them for 2 years, I took the leap and joined Shopify full time as the founding member and Director of their Talent Acceleration Team.
I’m passionate about building things. And once they are built and their value proven, figuring out how to scale them sustainably. I am a genuinely curious person across a variety of fields. I read voraciously and listen to a variety of podcasts.
An enduring curiosity of mine has been finding better ways to do things. Having ‘grown up’ in big companies, I became adept at navigating top down, waterfall systems and processes. I also lived with their limitations – slow, irreversible, big bets, frequent failures … there had to be a better way.
Exposure to early stage companies who moved fast and broke things was a powerful and polarizing experience. Better ways were proven. These experiences matched closely with my reading at that time: Clayton Christensen (Innovator’s Dilemma, Solution, ..), Eric Ries (Lean Startup), Carol Dweck (Mindset), Nassim Taleb (Black Swan, Antifragile). Absorbing the ideas, and seeing them put into practice, have strongly influenced my worldview and my coaching.
To make my transition mid career to coaching, I spent two years doing a deep dive into the craft of coaching. I continue to deepen my understanding of tools and techniques through practice and debate with other coaches. My perspective on adding tools / methods reflects an agile view. I seek tools that deliver value quickly and reliably for my clients and go deeper on those that do.
I’m also deeply curious about the way things work in politics, in relationships, and in the human body. I read widely about these topics as well as biographies of people who have been key players in historically significant and uncertain times.
I have been, and continue to be, a client of coaches, trainers and therapists of various disciplines who support me in activities and topics of great meaning to me.
My career has included three long-term stints at market-leading companies during their hyper-growth phases. This has given me a broad business background: Area Manager for the Atlanta branch of a computer hardware distributor in charge of all facets of sales, operations, tech support and warehouse logistics; Microsoft – award-winning distribution salesperson and sales leader; and Microsoft – Director of worldwide OEM System Builder channel responsible for marketing, pricing, licensing, anti-piracy, product management and business reporting systems. I also did a tour of duty for an early-stage women’s leadership development company as COO and learned a ton about what it takes to bootstrap a company and how to deal with failure when it doesn’t succeed as hoped for.
Finally, as a Director at Shopify, I scaled and led an internal coaching team of 10. I also successfully coached executives and senior leaders in many different areas of the business. I was also embedded in the executive team as a trusted advisor, strategic ally and thought partner.
I’ve been very fortunate to have learned from some amazing visionary leaders and their teams, in particular at Microsoft and Shopify. I have a deep and intuitive understanding of business and what it takes to build and scale organizations successfully. This business acumen provides a strong foundation of support for my executive coaching and coaching supervision clients.
I’ve been coaching since 2002. In that time, I’ve worked with a variety of executives and senior leaders to develop themselves and their leadership capacity to more effectively engage the complex leadership challenges they face. I also do a lot of work with women leaders. Often the focus of that work is coaching them to own their power, trust their various ways of knowing and act with confidence.
My interest is in helping leaders grow as individuals first, trusting that the growth of the business and their people will naturally follow. This ensures that the actions they take, the decisions they make and the ways they interact with others comes from a grounded presence in alignment with their values and aspirations.
In addition to my business experience, I have three post-graduate degrees in the areas of use of self in systems; and in human and organizational development. All of these programs have had a concentration in coaching. My PhD dissertation is on the impact of integral development on coaches’ use of self, which won best research paper at the Integral Theory Conference.
Mastery of leadership and coaching craft has been a passion of mine for over two decades.That passion has led me to invest a significant amount of time and resources into my professional development as well. I’ve logged hundreds of coach training hours in several different schools and honed my craft through thousands of hours of client work.
I have also been influenced by many teachers and mentors throughout my life. I’ve studied with contemporary mystic Thomas Hübl since early 2011 and am a real fan of Brian Johnson’s work with Heroic. As both scholar and practitioner, I actively participate in coaching supervision and continue post-doctoral exploration of use-of-self as-instrument.
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