Making the Leap and Not Looking Back – Board-Ready Bootcamp Alum Erin Farrell

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MassTLC’s award-winning Board-Ready Bootcamp improves the quality and composition of board governance at tech companies by preparing underrepresented tech leaders, including African American, Latinx, LGBTQ, and women, to serve on tech boards. 

Bootcamp participants participate in an intensive, high-impact curriculum that includes both theory and practice of how high performing boards are structured, as well as executive networking with some of the region’s top networked leaders in the tech community.

After initially delaying the program due to Covid-19, the 2020 Board-Ready Bootcamp will now take place virtually in October 2020 and applications are now open.

You can learn more about the program from the Boston Globe or from our brochure, but we think the best way to truly understand what makes this program special is to hear from the alumni themselves. 

Over the next several weeks, we will be profiling some previous Board-Ready Bootcamp participants to learn more about their personal experiences and what advice they would give those thinking of applying.

This week: meet Erin Farrell, Principal at Erin Farrell Consulting, Former Sr. Director of Worldwide Sales Operations at Adobe, and 2019 Bootcamp participant.
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Can you tell us more about you and your Board-Ready Bootcamp journey?

I’ve spent the last 20 years at Adobe, owning and managing global organizations of >250 employees and going deep into Channel, Customer Support Services and Enterprise Sales Operations. I have a reputation for “getting stuff done” while building high-performing teams, and I take pride in leading organizations that become the go-to resources for critical, must-win initiatives with equal passion for “the work” and building a culture where people benefit from the journey and enjoy the success. 

After some life changes, I made the difficult decision to leave my role at Adobe. It was a leap, but I’ve never looked back. It has allowed me the flexibility to build a consulting practice and focus more deeply on charity work, specifically with the Special Olympics of Massachusetts (SOMA). 

The Board-Ready Bootcamp was recommended to me by a colleague just as I was considering this change in career and I saw it as a great opportunity to broaden my perspective on options and alternative paths. 

I have now been on the Board at SOMA for about a year and am learning about the challenges of running a non-profit – especially poignant and critical during Covid.    

What are your thoughts on the board diversity?

I participate on the Governance Committee at SOMA, which means I am responsible for the recruitment of new board members. I don’t think there’s any question amongst the leadership team that bringing in new perspectives *with* critically needed expertise is the only way to build a solid leadership model for the long-term. 

What would you share about how boards operate and recruit with new members? How did you determine what type of board and what role you wanted?

My advice would be to network,  network, network. Reach out for informational interviews.  Learn all you can about the organization, and make sure it’s a fit for you as much as you want to be a fit for them. 

What was the most valuable part of the Bootcamp for you? What advice would you give others to maximize their experience?

I was referred by a colleague. Not surprisingly, I found the networking to be incredibly valuable. In addition, hearing from veterans in the industry was inspiring. I would definitely recommend the Bootcamp and would encourage new members to take full advantage of all the resources – including the support in the development of an Executive Bio. 

Did someone take a special interest in you? How much was serendipity and how much was planned?

Personally, I pursued the Special Olympics as my top priority. The Bootcamp gave me some much needed baseline understanding of what it even means to be on a board and perhaps some confidence in pursuing the opportunity. I’m grateful.