Intrro FM: Scaling Stories

Dawn Sharifan
Coach, Builder, Leader, Advisor, Board Member
Slack

Dawn Sharifan, Coach, Builder, Leader, Advisor, Board Member

In the latest Scaling Stories we were delighted to speak with Dawn Sharifan, a people leader who’s helped scale businesses such as Lookout, and most recently Slack, where she led the people function through the $27.7 BN acquisition and integration into Salesforce.

With an enviable track record as a coach, leader and board member – and a former professor to boot – Dawn is well placed to speak about how to develop the careers of HR professionals and instill an effective (and inspiring) working culture.

Dawn has a “passion for building” – not just replicating the same HR processes from one company to the next – and she’s particularly adept in early-stage environments, or as she puts it, when “the cement is wet”.

The beauty of working for a nascent startup, says Dawn, is that “you can put your fingerprints and still sculpt and change things because you can take a product driven approach to HR and people functions… Your customers are your employees. They’ll give you feedback and then you just iterate on it.”

While some board members can be detached from the realities on the ground, Dawn’s journey has given her an acute sense of what employees really think, rather than working behind closed doors and “coming down with these stone tablets of ‘this is how we will do a review process’, and then the employees are expected to clap and share and be happy about it”.

These lessons ring true when Dawn thinks back to her time as a candidate. When the chance to work at Slack came along, Dawn believed it was “a great product at a great time”, but there was more to it than that. “I just knew I wanted to work with [Slack CEO] Stewart [Butterfield]. I knew I wanted to work for the team.”

Dawn describes her former colleagues at Slack as “the best group of humans I’ve ever had a chance to work with, and I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of really great humans”.

Transcript

Dawn Sharifan

Other thing is you can't be in a building or a scaling story without learning something every day. If you haven't learned something every day, if you haven't screwed up something every day, if you wouldn't do something different in a different way, you're not fully taking advantage and pushing of what you can be doing, I think, in a scale story. And so I think it is really hard to prioritize yourself and prioritize your learning in its period of growth and scale. All you need, I had someone tell me once. All you have to do is stay one step ahead, one step ahead of your customers, one step ahead of your employees, one step ahead of your team, and you'll look like a genius because you just have one step ahead. So if you do that investment, it's better for the business. It's better for the company customers and your team.

Nasser Oudjidane

Hello and welcome to our series of Scaling Stories, a discussion with people, leaders about their lessons building teams at some of the world's fastest growing companies. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Dawn Sharifan, a people leader who has helped scale businesses such as Lookout, and most recently Slack, where she led the people function through acquisition and integration into sales. Dawn, a huge welcome and thank you for joining us. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? 

Dawn Sharifan

Uh, good morning. Thank you for having me. Um, my name is Dawn Sharifan. My pronouns are she and her. I live in the Bay Area. I have a husband and three cats, and I've spent my career in the people function. I've worked for Fortune 200 companies. Uh, massive companies, professional services and, um, have found really a passion in building and scaling companies. So I've done a handful of startups, some very successful like Slack and, uh, some not as successful. 

Nasser Oudjidane

That's wonderful. And could you share a little bit about your HR philosophies and specifically your approach to HR as a product that requires testing, feedback and iteration.

Dawn Sharifan

Absolutely. So one of the reasons I love building at a company and going when, uh, what I like to call the cement is wet. Where you can put your fingerprints and still sculpt and change things is because you can take a product driven approach to HR and people functions. So whether that's a program or um, a framework, but you basically, I, I take like the MVP model, put it out there. Your customers are your employees. They'll give you feedback and then you just iterate on it. And it, I think it helps a couple of things. One is you don't spend so much time behind a closed door or on a mountain tap top when you come down with these stone tablets of this is how we will do a review process, and then the employees are expect to clap and share and be happy about it. It's like, no, it's, it's delicate. It's. I'm not, it's not so precious. Now let me iterate it. And we just keep getting better and better and better. Also, when you're scaling, what works for you today might not work for you in six months, 12 months from now. So getting it out and then iterating it and evolving it, I think is a really fundamental part of scaling a people process and function.

Nasser Oudjidane

What were the lessons from Bright Source and Lookout in particular that helped mold this outlook? How, how did you arrive to this thinking where you are today? 

Dawn Sharifan

Yeah. Um, i, it was iterative for sure. It wasn't something, you know, I grew up. In hr, which meant you do the best practices and you just take that from company to company.And I think that's where I found the passion for building is like, oh, you don't have to just do the same thing. So at Bright Source, for example, we had two very different kind of groups of employees. One would, I would say, would be at the construction site where we were building at the time, the world's largest solar power plant.So you have construction workers, you have, um, mechanics, engineers, people that are in 120 degree heat, like literally building a plant. And then you have the people that are building the software that are moving the mirrors and that are developing the technology. Those employees have very different wants, needs, achievements, desires, um, fundamentally the same, but how you get there might be different. So you can't just come down and, and, and have one process that worked for one for the. . The other is we had, uh, a presence in the US but we also had a very large Israeli population. And so if you take a US based practice and just try to extrapolate it and say, this is what we do, I think it, one, it's tone deaf, but also you're gonna miss the mark and you're not gonna get customer or employee buy-in for the processes that you're trying to do. So I'd say that was a bright source. And then at Lookout, which is, uh, security, uh, software. Have you ever worked with a security engineer? They are the most cynical, um, uh, questioning poke holes in everything. That is their strength. That is their gift. And so if you push something out and you don't bring your A game and you don't have a reason for why you're doing something, they're gonna give you a lot of feedback and show you exactly where you could have done better. And I think that you surround yourself with people that want to tell you where you could have done better, uh, and why you can evolve. And then I think what you can do is you take kind of those best practices that you may have learned in your career, but then you can style it to the culture, the custom, the stage, the size of the business, and then that's where the magic happens.

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah. And I think this leads quite neatly into your journey with Slack and taking this kind of toolbox that you've acquired into what you've described as a lot of white space as, uh, an early employee there. Reflecting on your experience of Slack, what are some of the, the things that you are most proud of?

Dawn Sharifan

I'm proud of a lot of things, but number one thing is the team that was assembled, um, I think that nothing would've been done without the wonderful people that were hired and that did work there. It's the, um, Wonderful. It's the best group of humans I've ever had a chance to work with and I've had a chance to work with a lot of really great humans. Um, so I would say for that is, um, hire for telescopes. And what I mean by that is when you're scaling as people that can telescope up to the strategic, but that have humility and operational experience enough to do the work, like you need to be able to have someone who can toggle between those two things.So one, I'm just really proud of building the team. And I think, um, the other thing is like just coming up with a different approach of how to do things. Uh, I would really fortunate to have a great CEO in Stuart who, um, is a Phil philosophy major, right? He's not a, he's not a coder by nature. And so when we would talk about culture, when we would talk about people, it would be around a human-centered approach. Um, You know, always a very smart businessman, but it had a different lens and a different way to do things, and he gave a lot of permission and space for how we, we built the team. 

Nasser Oudjidane 

And looking perhaps on some of the things that you would've approached differently with the benefit of hindsight, are there any that come to mind?

Dawn Sharifan

Oh, for sure, a hundred percent. Um, I think one of the things that I would do differently is I probably would've built out the people operations team earlier. I relied on, because I do like this idea of telescopes of people that can be generalists and go broad and do a lot of things. I probably waited a beat too long to invest in what I would call the operations of the people function. So things like. Deep systems integration, building a team for data metrics, things like that. Um, repeatable, scalable processes that allow you to scale up versus, you know, having people do things in addition to their day job or have their day job be more generalist. By building that operations team, then I would allow, then I allowed people to become more subject matter experts and focus and build like really unique programs and niche opportunities for the company.

Nasser Oudjidane

And what would you say are the areas where you were most surprised? Hmm. Throughout this journey, what were you, what were you not expecting on this rocket trip? Two. 

Dawn Sharifan

Yeah. Two. I would say one primarily second. Secondarily, one is just like, and it sounds so. Maybe saccharin a bit, um, and rose colored glasses, but how good work could be. I mean, I've worked for a long time. This is not my first rodeo. I've worked at great places with great humans. This is truly the first time where I was able to come into a place where it felt a political, where people were working and rowing in the same direction that it was like we were in it together. So it just how fun it can be and how productive it can be when it's not kind of labored by bureaucracy or different agendas. So I think that was, that was a surprise to me cuz I mostly just, cause I've been working for a long time and I'd worked for great places so that it was, that was surprising. And then I think the other thing was how much people loved. The product, like the love of the pro. Like you know, I worked for CBS Media and people love Survivor. The price is right, or whatever the case may be, but, or people have a passion for solar in green tech. But I've never been in an airport at 6:00 AM when someone like stopped me when I put my laptop through the TSA and I had a Slack sticker on it and they said, do you use Slack? And I said, yes, I do. And they said, Do you work for Slack? And I said, yes, I do. And they were like, we're from Australia. And we went by the office and, and I just, it felt so odd to me. I'd never had experienced that before, but the way that it transformed people's working lives. And sometimes I know people hate the knock, knock brush, but I know that, um, sometimes it really just had never had customer love at that level before. 

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah, it's, quite remarkable the level of, product market fit that was achieved, just I don't think it could be compared to anything since in the business world. I, I can't even, I can't even actually compare it to anything in recent memory. 

Dawn Sharifan 

A great product at a great time, yeah.

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah. Yeah. Sorry to interrupt. Considering, the growth of not only headcount, revenue, customers, uh, functions. How did you manage to actually prepare and train yourself? How did you continuously develop throughout this journey? 

Dawn Sharifan

I think there's two things. One is I took a title or a role or whatever when I joined Slack, that was less than I had before. I just knew I wanted to work with Stuart. I knew I wanted to work for the team. I wish I could say that I understood the value of enterprise collaboration software. I didn't fully at the time, I just knew that these were humans that I wanted to work with and I thought I could do good work. So one is I actually think I was more advanced in my career than some of the work that I was doing. The analogy I use is when a business is growing at this rate of speed, it's very hard for a human to actually also grow at that same rate of speed. So when you're hiring, sometimes you wanna hire somebody who's ahead of that so that they intersect this, that intersects at that time. So one is, I think I just had been around, I had done things. I had been part of failed startups. I knew kind of what not to do in some ways. The other thing is just fundamentally in my. I love to learn. I'm a nerd. I like to read. Um, I like to do the webinars. I like to get the certification. So that's something that when people say, what do you do for fun? Those are some of the fun things that I do. Um, and then the other thing is you can't be in a building or a scaling story without learning something every day. If you haven't learned something every day, if you haven't screwed up something every day, if you wouldn't do something different in a different way, you're not fully taking advantage and pushing of what you can be doing. I think In a scale story. And so I think it is really hard to prioritize yourself and prioritize your learning in a period of growth and scale. But all you need, I had someone tell me once. All you have to do is stay one step ahead, one step ahead of your customers, one step ahead of your employees, one step ahead of your team, and you'll look like a genius because you just have one step ahead. So if you do that investment, it's better for the business. It's better for the company customers and your team. 

Nasser Oudjidane 

How can people, leaders make sure that they can intentionally design a program that connects all of the elements regarding workplace culture? 

Dawn Sharifan

Hmm. This is such a great question. I think it's fundamentally at the core of so much of the people programs and, and of a company. I used to believe that there was good cultures and bad cultures. I don't necessarily believe that. I know there are bad cultures for me as personally as a human, and my responsibility is to know what my needs, my wants, my desires are what I will accept and not accept, and then know if that culture is a fit for me. I think what the company's responsibility is to be very clear on what their culture is. And then, um, I say, I call it the three, the three Cs of culture. It's clarity, communication, and consistency. So I'm clear what my culture is. I communicate it often, and I'm consistent in my practices and my behaviors of what that culture is. I think the only bad culture is one that says that it's one thing and does another thing.

Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah. Awesome. Yeah, what I was thinking about there was some of the. recent, uh, news regarding Elon Musk and Twitter. and people, uh, you know, having an opinion on what Twitter is becoming and perhaps the, if you can still man the argument, look on the other side, at least the culture is absolutely clear or becoming clearer on what, uh, who, how they want their employees to behave. I think there was a recent communication. This at Center Midnight, uh, that it's going to get extraordinarily crazy and you're gonna be working extremely hard, and that's the expectation. If you don't want to be here, then here's severance. Um, So there, there are some organizations, and to your point, and if it's clear and transparent, then it's not hypocritical. And there are other organizations like Palantir where you know what you're signing up for when you join an organization like that. Whereas, you know, perhaps the same is true if you join Lyft for example. 

Dawn Sharifan

I think that's as, I think that's exactly right and that's what I mean, like there used to be a judgmental part of me that would've said like, Twitter, that's a terrible culture. You shouldn't do that. Da da, da. , but that's also treating employees like they're less than or victims, that they can't make decisions for themselves. Right? Now, let's take away the part where some people are tied because of visas and some really, you know, terrible situations where they might wanna leave but they can't. But for the most part, people are adults and some people. Thrive in different cultures. And so to have everything be homogeneous or the same thing, everybody has the same five values on the wall and, and it's not actually the case. I don't think that's fair and I don't think, I think that causes tension and I think that causes a disconnect and confusion for employees where they're like, wait, but you said, you said we value work-life balance, but you're sending emails at midnight, I don't understand. Or now I'm working through. vacation or whatever the case may be. But you said I have an unlimited vacation, but I don't feel like I can ever take a vacation cuz we're working so hard. Right. So I think, uh, from Brene Brown, one of my favorite quotes, clarity is kindness. And so, however you want to be kind, be clear. And that can be, I can disagree on what it is for you and me, but I'm an adult and I can make that decision for myself. 

Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah, absolutely. Appreciate this is off topic, but I'd, I'd love to, to get, get your insight into this just considering the, the rate of learning at such in such in an environment where it requires you to fail and often society doesn't tell us that failure is good, even though it's a prerequisite to learning. How did you create kind of this culture of safety within your own team? So, Your, your peers, your coworkers, the, the, the team that you are leading within people operations specifically could also grow themselves and develop, uh, with the business. 

Dawn Sharifan

Yeah, I think it's, it's twofold. One is, I think it is that culture that I alluded to before, which is apolitical. We're all in it together. We're just trying to figure it out. So I think when you. vying for ego or status or sandbox as people say in an organization. I think that allows you to be more vulnerable and to say, I think we also had in Stuart and some of our senior leaders, people that said like, I don't exactly know how to do this, but let's try this. Right? Let's try this. So I think there it was modeled. And the other thing I'll say is I was not great at this from day one. I remember when I first started, I was so freaked out. I was like, I don't know what I'm doing. Like I, this is the biggest job I've ever had. Like, what if I screw this all up? What if they find out? I don't actually know, especially in the people space. So many things are gray. It could be this way or I could be this. It's not binary. And so I think I got better over time. Um, I'm sure my team would say I got, I hope they would say I got better over time. Um, but I think it's, you know, when some be. I, I love Ted lasso. Be curious, not judgmental. So if somebody brings something to you, Hmm. There's probably a reason they thought that there's probably a reason they went down this path. Let's go back, let's go ask the why's. Let's, you know, there's that idea of the five why's to get to the root of something. Why did you do that? Not in a accusatory or judgmental way, but in a, oh, this was the root. I see the knowledge and the wisdom that you had here. Maybe let's just tweak it and go over here a little bit. 

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah. Yeah. All, all first principles thinking I really, uh, I, I, yeah, I subscribe to that. And, uh, that's also another neat segue into perhaps, uh, one, one of the, the, I'd say the most pertinent questions of today, um, and something that I feel privileged asking you is your opinions on the workforce landscape. Considering there's a lot going on and not just with the right now. specifically concerning layoffs within technology companies, but a whole host of developments and trends. What are you focusing on? What do you think something that, you know, you think is, is worthy of attention?

Dawn Sharifan

I think this, this answer today is maybe different than a week or two ago, but, but just slightly. Right, just slightly. And what I mean by that is what I think is worthy of attention is the, is the future of work. It's a bit buzzy to say right now, but I think it is. we are in, uh, Silicon Valley loves to disrupt things. There's never been a more disruptive time in my career than how we work and what that looks like. And whether that is remotes or hybrid or on-prem, or compensation trends in philosophy, transparency around things like what is that future of work and what is the employee value proposition, I think is fundamentally changing from what people are asking for and what employers are able to provide. So I don't think that has. . What I do think has changed in the last week and what I'm alluding to is of course the layoffs, crypto implosion and all that kind of stuff is there's a lot of fear in the system, right? People are stressed, understandably, uh, looming US economic recession, or we're already in one, depending on who you talk to. I think it is. Times of fear can create some really poor behavior and some really poor actions. And so when I work with the clients that I work with today, it is about slowing them down. And again, to that telescope analogy, short term and long term, we have to steady the boat to get through these choppy waters. But we don't wanna get so off course that we miss where, who we're trying to be, the company we're trying to build, where we're trying to go. And that is, A more challenging task to be able to do that short and long-term thinking at the same time. So I think there is, uh, it reminds me a lot of 2009 if, uh, you or any of your listeners have been through that.I worked, uh, for a, uh, I worked for Elon at the time, loan investing, or actually I had just left. I always leave the industry just right at the right time. Um, so, um, I had just left before the real estate implosion bank, bank implosion, and it. was fundamentally different. It transferred. It transformed the industry. I think we will see some transformation in tech as well. 

Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah. And perhaps just to double click on that, what do you think are some of the behaviors. That you are, you are coaching and advising companies on watching out for and just making sure that they can, like you said, slow down and reflect and make sure that we're not going off course. What are some of the, are, are there things that you're seeing in, in, in patterns or correlations?

Dawn Sharifan

Yeah, absolutely. So I was talking to a client yesterday that, um, it's a bit in a, in a crisis moment for their company, right? Um, and they are saying, okay, I can react, I can do, I can do these things, I can do layoffs, I can cut this, I can do that or, I can get really focused, and I think this, I think when you can calm down the nervous system, when you can calm down the fear, it's change can be a time of opportunity. And I don't mean that as like a positive poly HR spin kind of thing, but more of just like, okay, what does this allow us to do? . And so through coaching with this, with this executive team, we said, okay, we're gonna get really focused. These are the key priorities and the key deliverables. These other projects that we are working on, we're no longer going to do. , right? You saw that with Amazon layoffs, maybe with some of the Alexa or their delivery or their healthcare stuff, or meta with some of their teams, right? It's an opportunity to focus and become best in class at that unique thing that you do. So, um, and then through that they were like, okay, if we do this and we move the team around like this, then we actually don't have to do any layoffs. We don't, we have plenty of runway. Oh, actually I can take a breath and see that I have more runway than I thought. Just because my neighbor is panicking doesn't mean I have to panic. Right. And I think as humans, we are very naturally conditioned to look at the person next to us and say, oh, they're panicking. I should panic too. I mean, think about a baby who bumps their head on the table. They look at their mom and dad and. Should I freak out? Should I not freak out? Oh, you're not freaking out. Okay, I'm fine. But if the mom runs over and is like, oh my gosh, then the baby's gonna start crying. And so I think it's taking a breath. knowing that there might be chaos around you, but what is your path? What are you gonna do and get incredibly focused, and who do we want to be, right? That is the North Star as the company, does that change just because we're in a different situation? So many of my great colleagues and friends have had to be doing layoffs in this last few weeks. Are you doing it with dignity? Are you doing it with respect or are you doing it in kind of a chainsaw manner? . 

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It just reminds me of, uh, well, a couple of things that you can build your reputation over the boom times, but then it can be lost in literally a matter of, of hours or, or days. And people are always gonna remember how they felt, not necessarily the actual circumstance. So 

Dawn Sharifan

Yeah, great Maya Angelou quote. people will never remember how what you said to them, but you'll remember how they made you feel or some version of that. Apologies to Maya, but yes. Some version of that. 

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah, and I mean, based on what you've just said with regards to all of these, perhaps, you know, things going on good and bad.

Um, and if, if we were trying to like try to step away from the historian, look at. Within people. And in HR, you've said that most of the time HR folks are looking and focusing on others, and you've said that you try to remind the team to put their oxygen masks on first. What did you mean by that? 

Dawn Sharifan

I, when, when they, I one, one day I gave literally the whole team oxygen masks. You said you can order anything on Amazon. Um, but , what I mean by that is, , I think in, in Silicon Valley specifically, for many, many years, it was a status symbol to be burnt out. I would think it's a status symbol to not take lunch. You know how many meetings I went to? Oh, I had to use the restroom, but I didn't go to the restroom. I came here to be on time or, you know, I, I worked till 2:00 AM or whatever the case may be, and I played that game. I wanted that game for a long, long time. It's just not a game I want to play or lead with anymore. And what I mean by that is, If you are burnt out, if you are not making time for your morning walk, if you're not doing your meditation, if you're not picking your kid up from school, if that what brings is, if that's what brings you joy and you're able and privileged to be able to do that, then you're not actually helping the company. And we build teams in our image. That was a, a learning for me as well, is I. Running myself ragged. I didn't expect my team to do that. Not at all. I mean, not at all did I expect that, but they saw me. And so then they start, they're like, oh, well that's the bar on our team. That's where we stand. And so if you don't put on your own oxygen mask, you're not gonna be able to help the business, the customers, the employees, in the same way.

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah. I really like that analogy. Um, and coming up to some of the closing questions, uh, are there any technologies that you use to do your job that you, you feel are delivering value and you'd like to shout? Shout out. 

Dawn Sharifan

Well, it's not gonna be a surprise that the number one value, uh, tech, I think is Slack. Um, I think if you're using it as a chat app, you're doing it wrong. Um, it is so much more than that. It fundamentally has transformed the way that I work. I'm sorry for anybody that emails me. It takes the long time for me to respond to email. Um, I just don't check it in the same way that I used to. . So Slack is by number one. Um, I really like Notion, uh, I think it's a great collaboration, uh, platform tool. Um, the classics, G-Suite, zoom. I mean, I think those are pretty standard, but one that I'd like to shout out is maybe like a bit older, which is the phone. So a lot of my work that I do, I do via an actual conversation on a telephone with a human. Um, , it's nice to get off camera. It's nice to talk to someone in real time. And there's really valuable research that shows you pick up more emotional cues and subtext when you're actually just speaking to someone, auditorially versus seeing them on camera. So, um, shout out to Edison in the phone. 

Nasser Oudjidane

I love that. Yeah, it's um, At least for me, becoming less and less frequent. I dunno whether that's because I'm not that popular anymore or, or something else. But, uh, so much has been done over web now. It's, uh, quite, quite the transformation. 

Dawn Sharifan

I get offended when my phone rings for a second. I'm like, wait, who's calling me? And then like, oh, okay. We can, we can engage as regular human people. 

Nasser Oudjidane

Yes. And last one before the closing. Um, I, I know that you, you engage in, um, some extracurricular activities, uh, if you wanna call it that, but would you mind sharing a little bit more about what you're doing for the next chapter?

Dawn Sharifan

Sure. So I was so privileged and so honored to help build Slack and see to the sales, to the sale of sales force, or it's writing its next chapter. And honestly, that was almost seven years. And, um, I was like, I'm ready for a break. So, uh, at end of the spring, beginning of summer, I started doing my own, uh, coaching and consulting. and, uh, spending a lot of time with my husbands, to be honest with you. Uh, who has been, uh, neglected over the last couple of years since I've worked to build a, a legacy company, as they say. Um, but, uh, if you are looking for executive coaching advice on scaling, um, any of that, I'm, I'm available for that work. 

Nasser Oudjidane

Awesome. Thank you. And moving on to the closing questions. Uh, what is one piece of advice that you wish you had when you started your career? 

Dawn Sharifan

Hmm. I love this one. I thought about this a lot. Um, so I have two. One is, uh, your intention and your impact can be different and it's your responsibility. to know where that, what your portion of it got off course, right? So I see so many times where people intend for something to go wrong. I intended something and then the impact was different. And it's very easy to say, oh, well that person misunderstood me or that person, this or that. What could you have done better to make sure that your intention and your impact were more aligned? And the other one is a quote, which is, if you care about what others think, you'll always be their. . And so this idea of, uh, I'm sure you've seen on Instagram or around the web, whatever, uh, what other people think of you as none of your business, getting caught up in other people's perceptions and getting you off course, I think can, can knock you from your, your purpose.

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. Are, are there any, uh, books, podcasts, anything you're watching, reading, listening to, for inspiration that you think would be, uh, valuable to share. 

Dawn Sharifan

I think inspiration is a, is a big word, but I am, uh, I'm have more time than I've had before, so I have a lot of these, I'll try to make 'em really brief, but of course I'm a big fan of the, the good standbys. Brene Brown, Adam Grant, Glennon Doyle. Um, I also really like Esther Perel. Priya Parker. Um, Michelle Obama's new book I just started. I always find inspiration from her to Toya. Burke does a lot of work on race and equity and inclusion that I think is really inspiring. Um, and then of course I think I get inspiration from my peer community and my friends. I think it doesn't have to be some celebrity that inspires you. I think it can be the person that is sitting next to you at the dinner table, or the colleague that just went through something that they did it gracefully. Uh, maybe they fell on their face, but that's an inspiration as well. So it doesn't always have to be big names.

Nasser Oudjidane

Um, last one, what is one, if any, thoughts, value, or phrase that you live by that comes to mind?

Dawn Sharifan

I struggled with this one, but I think I'm gonna settle with, have courage and be kind.

Nasser Oudjidane

Yeah. Strong one, . And uh, and that's a wrap. This has been an absolute pleasure, Dawn. Thank you. 

Dawn Sharifan

Thank you. Thank you for having me. Pleasure to be with you.

Related Podcast Episodes

Stela Lupushor
Chief-Reframer
Reframe.Work Inc.
Stela Lupushor, Chief-Reframer at Reframe.Work Inc.

In this episode, we've got some expert insights from Stela Lupushor, Chief-Reframer at Reframe.Work Inc., on what it means to work in HR in 2023.

Melanie Naranjo
VP, People
Ethena
Melanie Naranjo, VP, People at Ethena

In this episode we caught up with Melanie Naranjo, VP, People at Ethena, were she tells us a little bit more about her refreshing takes on recruiting.

Robbie Simpson
Wolt
Global Head of Country Operations TA
Robbie Simpson, Global Head of Country Operations TA at Wolt

In the latest Scaling Stories podcast, we caught up with Robbie Simpson, Global Head of Country Operations (Talent Acquisition) at Wolt, the food and merch delivery platform.

Anthony P. Rotoli
Strategic Advisor and Analytical People Leader
Anthony P. Rotoli, Strategic Advisor and Analytical People Leader

In this episode, we've got some expert insights from Anthony Rotoli a senior people leader on his successful methodology to identifie the right talent.

Matt Eyre
Talent Brand and Marketing Manager
Avalara
Matt Eyre, Talent Brand and Marketing Manager at Avalara

In this latest Scaling Stories podcast, it was a great pleasure to catch up with Matt Eyre the senior talent brand strategist at Avalara.

Ben Newsome
Portfolio Partner
Octopus Ventures
Ben Newsome, Portfolio Partner at Octopus Ventures

In this episode I learn from Ben Newsome the portfolio partner at Octopus Ventures, how important it is for VCs to service and support their portfolio.

Mafalda Garcês
Country Leader & Senior People Director
Dashlane
Mafalda Garcês, Country Leader & Senior People Director

In this episode we caught up with Mafalda Garcês, the Country Leader and Senior People Director at Dashlane, were we spoke about her really interesting view on HR.

Ariana Moon
Sr. Director, People Planning & Acquisition
Greenhouse
Ariana Moon, Sr. Director, People Planning & Acquisition at Greenhouse

In this episode I learn from Ariana the Sr. Director of People Planning & Acquisition at Greenhouse how she leads a team that has helped Greenhouse 10x in headcount across multiple new geographies and her passion about the impact of equitable and inclusive hiring.

Cierra Tavarez
Chief of Staff, Recruiting
Attentive
Cierra Tavarez, Chief of Staff, Recruiting at Attentive

In this latest Scaling Stories podcast, it was a great pleasure to catch up with Cierra Tavarez, the Chief of Staff to the SVP of Recruiting at Attentive, an SMS software platform and leader in conversational commerce.

Kevin Kwoka
Director of Talent Acquisition
GRIN
Kevin Kwoka, Director of Talent Acquisition at GRIN

In the latest of our Scaling Stories podcasts, we were delighted to catch up with Kevin Kwoka, Director of Talent Acquisition at GRIN, a pioneering creator management platform. Kevin shared plenty of lessons on why quality beats quantity.

Jessica Paddock
Senior Director of Recruiting
Unite Us
Jessica Paddock: Senior Director of Recruiting at Unite Us

In this episode we caught up with Jessica Paddock, the senior director of recruiting at Unite Us, were we spoke about the human-centered approach to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) at Unite Us.

Yanilda Gonzalez
Head of Global TA Operations
Contentsquare
Yanilda Gonzalez: Head of Global TA Operations at Contentsquare

In this episode, we've got some expert insights from Yanilda Gonzalez, head of Global Talent Acquisition Operations at Contentsquare, on how to build consistent (and company-wide) hiring processes as part of a high-performing talent operation.

Alex Her
Head of Global Employer Brand
GoDaddy
Alex Her - Head of Global Employer Brand at GoDaddy

In this episode, I learn from Alex Her, the head of Global Employer Brand at GoDaddy. Alex has made a massive impact in transforming the way the web hosting giant (and the world’s largest domain registrar) embeds its employee brand internally and attracts prospective candidates.

Amandeep Shergil
Director Of Tech Recruiting
Automattic
Amandeep Shergil: Director Of Tech Recruiting at Automattic

We caught up with Amandeep Shergil, director of tech recruiting at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Tumblr and more. Amandeep has plenty of experience in building teams at fast-growing startups like Lendable, so it was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the various possibilities and pitfalls when it comes to hiring tech talent in 2022.

Ruby Bhattacharya
Technical Recruiting Lead
Astra
Ruby B - Lead Technical Recruiter at Astra

In this episode we learn from Ruby B, who is leading technical tecruitment at Astra and is an active career coach.

Nicolas Bowles
Recruiter - Product & Design
Productboard
Scaling Product & Design Hiring at Productboard

In this episode - we spoke with Nicolas, a recruiter at Productboard, a customer-driven product management platform, and he shared some pearls of wisdom on how to hire more effectively.

Beatrice Domiguez
Head of People and Talent
Aviros
Bea Dominguez: Head of People and Talent at Aviros

In this episode I learn from Beatrice Domiguez, Head of People and Talent at Aviros. Founded in 2015 in Zurich, Aviros is building fleet management software in the cloud and is one of Europe’s fastest growing B2B SaaS companies.

Ready to upgrade your referral strategy ?