We can’t brag enough about our biggest competitive advantage: our people. They’re some of the smartest, most talented, most interesting people on the planet – and we’re not exaggerating. In fact, if you knew even half the things our employees are up to in their spare time, it would blow your mind.
The Secret Life of RV reveals some of the coolest things our employees are doing outside of work. (Read: THIS is where we blow your mind.)
Secret Life: Lisa Shasky
RV Director of Security/Professional Mentor
Lisa helps keep RV secure as a Director on our Corporate Technology and Security team, and soon she’ll be transitioning to lead our Internal Product & Platform team. She’s famous for reminding employees to trust their “spidey senses” and make conscious efforts to protect our data. Like the great Spider-man, you could say Lisa leads two lives — when she’s not saving the world from cyberattacks, Lisa is
Peter Parker a professional mentor!
Q: Hi Lisa! Not to start an argu-mentor anything, but we heard a rumor that you might have a secret…
A: Haha, hi there! A rumor, huh? I think I can give a com-mentor two.
Q: Good one! Let’s jump in — how did you become a professional mentor?
A: Early in my career, I worked for some bosses who seemed to focus only on what our weaknesses were and how we needed to improve to fit a certain mold or preconceived idea of what “success” looked like. I worked hard, but every time I thought I was making progress, there always seemed to be another bar I had to jump over or something else that needed improving. It’s like when you’re a kid standing on the side of the pool and your dad says, “Swim to me.” So you jump in and swim like crazy (okay – maybe thrash around is more accurate!) and he keeps moving back. That’s so frustrating and demoralizing! That’s not the type of environment I do well in and I knew I wanted to set a more empowering example.
Over the course of my career, I’ve had a lot of different management roles in many different work environments, and the common element in all of them is that people want to do good work and contribute in meaningful ways. If you can harness that desire, some really good things can happen for those individuals and the company as a whole. Plus, it’s more fun to work somewhere like that. More than anything, I love helping someone identify their strengths or see their potential and then work toward that. The best feeling for me is to see the spark in their eyes when they start to realize “I really DO have strengths” or “I really CAN be successful.”
I created my own business as an outgrowth of the books I wrote and getting more involved in the community. The books helped create buzz and got people reaching out to ask me to speak to their group or asking for advice. At the same time I was involved in a couple volunteer organizations that also generated opportunities to speak and mentor. It amazes me how thirsty people are to be successful and valued, whatever that means to them. At this point I really see myself as more of a blogger. While I certainly continue to mentor as time allows, I can scale myself (in RV terms!) and have a wider reach through the blog, which I also share on LinkedIn.
Q: Wait wait wait, did you say book?? What inspired you to write a whole book?!
A: I’ve always enjoyed other people’s stories and understanding what makes them tick or what made them who they are today. I also have a somewhat brief attention span, so I thought if I could tell short stories about real people and tie it to what we could learn from them, that would be helpful. Funny, I just thought of this, but maybe my attention span has become even shorter, because now I write a blog, so I’ve shrunk from chapters to blogs!
Both the books and the blog typically start with something that actually happened or that I observed and then the creative juices take over. I’ve never been someone that could sit down and just write – I wish I could. An idea forms somewhere in the back of my brain and gradually grows until it feels like I’ll burst if I don’t download it from my head. That sounds kind of crazy, but that’s how it works. Someday I’d like to turn my blogs into a book when I have the time to focus on it.
Q: Is there a particular experience you’ve had while mentoring that’s very special to you, or particularly memorable?
A: There are so many! One was a young woman that actually worked for me. She was very good at her job, but something just seemed off, like she was going through the motions. To make a long story short, it turned out that what she really wanted to do was start her own jewelry design business and she was afraid to tell me, thinking I’d doubt her commitment to her job. The more we talked and I understood what her dream was, I was able to help her find ways her current job was building skills she’d need in her business. When she started seeing her job as having a dual role — helping our company and building skills for her jewelry business — she was so re-energized, it was amazing! She did eventually start her own company.
Most recently, I’d have to mention my Road to Hire mentee, Steven. He is such an amazing, courageous man inside and out, I’m blown away and humbled to be part of his journey. I saw him grow from a shy, introverted student who was really unsure of who he was or where he was going to a talented, confident, yet humble, IT professional that is comfortable in his own skin. Once he started to see his potential and who he could be, he just ran full-steam ahead to make it so. I’m still shaking my head in admiration.
What I want those I work with, inside or outside my actual job, to understand is that I want them to be successful and love what they’re doing no matter what or where it is. I even tell people I interview that they now have me as a contact for life and they should reach out if I can help them in any way. And I really mean it!
Q: That’s awesome! What’s your favorite kind of client or group to work with?
A: Hmmm – not sure I have a favorite other than people who are motivated and coachable. If you want to be spoon-fed success somehow, that just doesn’t happen. Over the last several years I’ve really enjoyed speaking to college classes or other groups around that age, whatever their background is. They are just so eager to hear real life experiences – and I have a lot of them!
Q: What’s your favorite part about mentoring?
A: Besides what I already mentioned above, I love learning from my mentees. They have so many perspectives and experiences that I don’t have and I love seeing the world through their eyes. It challenges me to constantly “up my game.”
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from a mentor?
A: Always be open to realizing that your reality might not everyone’s reality. At the time, I had just attended a convention for Asian-American and Pacific Islander leaders from across the U.S. I was one of a handful of non-Asians in attendance and heard about aspects of U.S. history that were totally different than anything I’d ever heard before. It’s like learning the sky is really green when you’ve always thought it was blue. This advice continues to help me broaden my perspective and question what I “know” is true. I hope it’s made me a better person and a better leader.
Q: Last question — how does your mentoring experience intersect with your work at RV?
A: I can’t separate mentoring from my day to day job. It’s who I am and how I try to make a difference, regardless of the type of work I’m doing. I always want to help the people around me be successful, use their strengths and develop in their career.
Q: Incredible. Thanks Lisa! We won’t tor-mentor you with any more questions (for now… ).
A: Thanks for chatting!
To find out more about Lisa, her books, or her mentoring experiences, check out her blog (she just wrote a great piece on taking care of yourself while working from home!).
Lisa’s not the only RVer with a hidden talent — find out which RV Recruiter is also a rockstar!