Amy Benoit is the Founder of the consulting company ALLpropos, Vice President of Enablement at Kong, President of the Sales Enablement Society San Diego Chapter, owner and operator of Grand Dogma, a stand up paddle yoga instructor, and reflexologist.  She is embracing life and work fully during the age of covid!  And, she’s event out there starting an enablement job in these challenging times.

Amy joined us and shared what it’s been like to interview for and begin an Enablement leadership role at the beginning of 2021.  Additionally, she provided us some powerful tips on living that will serve you well in life and Enablement.

Audio Transcript

The Collaborator
dog lover, what else are you? What can you tell us about yourself? Amy,

Amy Benoit
you’re Hi, I am thank you so much for having me, john, I have never done a live. So this is a little nerve wracking and a fantastic way. I’m honored to be here. And as I shared, like the value of these podcasts for me has been exponential. So I’m happy to be a part of your little world. And hopefully, other folks will appreciate what I’m going to share today. Gosh, a little bit about me. So I love to learn, as you can imagine, by all the things that I do, and I do love to teach. So combination of that kind of full circle. I’m super curious. So anything that I do I really kind of go in with this insatiable curiosity to explore what’s happening around me. And I like to be in the forest, you know, exploring the unknown in life and proverbial you,

Unknown Speaker
pervert.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, exactly.

Amy Benoit
Right. So for me, like the adventure of the discovery is really part of what I enjoy. So I look to like, relish that, you know, and we’ll talk about this later, as I’ve, as we have some other conversations about what I do and how I do it. But along the way, I share my learnings. And it’s, it’s nice to feel like my experience can help positively impact others. And I hope that you know, what I give to people they feel because a lot of what I get is from how people give to me. So

The Collaborator
I got to ask you this same way. Not only do I picture you right after we’re done with this conversation going back into those woods, and I don’t know, creating a musical instrument from the trees behind you and playing. But you have 5 billion things you’re doing what I mean. And that just speaks to the amazing passion and creativity you have about all things. But how do you get it all done? I mean, there’s your consulting business, there’s the VP of enablement to calm Calm, calm. There’s sales enablement society, paddle yoga. I mean, I’ve heard of I’ve done yoga. I’ve never done goat yoga, but I think that looks cute. Oh, yeah. Oh, yoga, what? What are you all about?

Amy Benoit
Okay, so I’m gonna say you left out one. So this, I think

Unknown Speaker
I left out two or three,

Amy Benoit
perhaps no, but one of the big ones this year, or for the past three years, actually, I’ve owned and operated, but this year, I finally found the name for it. A company called grand dogma, and I will share what that is. But, you know, I, I’m really grateful to be able to pursue what I love to do. And I don’t, I don’t think that that is something that I don’t take that for granted, I should say, you know, and I also especially last year really felt very grateful for just my safe and loving upbringing, right. I do a lot of reflection on how I got to where I am. And I think that my parents, unbeknownst to them have taught me some things that have created the person that I am and kind of this go getter, action oriented, mindful person. Um, my dad, he’s like a very quiet nice man. And he has this quiet demeanor but what he’s taught me by just showing me Is this like self worth and the relishing the simple things in life that we like to do and he just does that so naturally that I’ve taken to really enjoying just the things that I like and want to do and doing more of those right and and my mom she continues to teach me how to just nurture what I love and so if that’s people or things or dogs or paddleboarding, you know, enabled and boutique businesses like it just it it gives me the, the two sides of doing things and yeah, I’ve I think that what I’ve learned through my life, actually, my mother also taught me perhaps not intentionally though, a fish instill a fear of dogs in me, I think just through us not having dogs and what she might have say, you know, I’m and I’ve had that fear for 30 Yours. And I say now grand dogma is a Dog Boarding business. So now I have a Dog Boarding business, which seems ridiculous. And I’ve, I’ve fostered 15 dogs in quarantine. And as I was sharing with you, right, a mom and her 10 at one time, so I I’ve learned personally that like, the more fears I walk through straight on, the more power I reclaim. And what I want to do is my passions, you know, anything that I like to do, I say, let’s do it. And perhaps that is reflexology where I’m certified. And I take clients, but it’s just more of an ad hoc friendly thing. I’m not doing it as a monetary business. Or perhaps it’s something like enablement that I just love. And I have these giant opportunities because I pour my heart into the things that I love. So

The Collaborator
that Amy, I really do, I think it is something you fear or something you want. Either way, just run through the walls and go do it. So that I applaud you for that. I think that’s wonderful.

Amy Benoit
Thank you, it’s hard to learn that right. Like you don’t think you want to start with

The Collaborator
180 years to figure it out. So

Amy Benoit
lay it in dog years, I’m about that, too. So like, we, we learn that like, Oh, I should just tiptoe around anything that I want or anything that I fear, and no, you have to go straight through it. And goodness gracious did I mean, I was petrified of dogs. And then I got a greater Swiss mountain dog, which is a poor man’s horse. So and now I’m just the Amy, the crazy dog lady that has dogs and talks about dogs. And you know, I love it.

The Collaborator
I love it. So let’s move off of your crazy dog lady passions for a second and talk about enablement. So you just started a new job in the midst of some of the craziest historical events and COVID and everything else that this crazy world has gone through? What’s it like starting a brand new job in the age of COVID? And what can you tell us about that?

Amy Benoit
You know, um, it’s weird. I’ve ran my own business for a number of years. So I’ve been operating as my own self as the consulting team. So many people are starting new jobs. And I think it’s just weird, though, calm, the organization that I joined had extremely warm welcome, you know, the people team, I felt like they wrapped their arms around us, and it felt really nice to be a part of, you know, and then it just starts. Everything just starts immediately. And it goes really quickly. But yeah, I, I’m happy to have the opportunity to see what onboarding in this time is like. Because I’ve in my past, of course, you know, ran onboarding for companies. And it’s always been an in person and I’ve converted many things last year to virtual but I’ve been the Creator, I’ve not been the person a part of it. So I love to kind of sit back and take that hat off and say, okay, observe what’s around me. And it was just a really nice warm welcome. They did a really good job.

The Collaborator
Oh, I was gonna say I imagine everybody was remote. Nobody was the face to face on assuming just like everyplace else in the world. What was what was your general takeaway from it in terms of Geez, I was anything that you saw in the in the onboarding day, like cheese, that was really awesome.

Amy Benoit
onboarding for Kong, like many is now not just one day, it’s throughout. But the big thing that I felt was just that opening first day experience we had the head of the people team and the head of the employee experience to create this kind of warm and fuzzy. And at the same time, it was just the information that you needed, not anything more and they’ve sparse it out, which I appreciate. So what I learned actually was the way that comm has pivoted into this experience is is similar they’re trying to create the behavior of being in person and they’re doing a really good job at that but you you still make welcome videos and you get to know everyone and there’s a lot of courses to take and people to connect with. And I’m still in it right? This is today’s day for

The Collaborator
no crazy part. You’re just

Amy Benoit
yeah, we shall see how This goes,

The Collaborator
Well tell us about, you know, how do you envision? Are you a team of one? How many people are you supporting? And how do you envision enablement being built out here at Kong? Given the world we’re currently living in and the challenges that Kong has itself?

Amy Benoit
Yes. Okay, great questions. I work directly for the enablement reports directly into the senior vice president of sales. So they’re in charge of all company revenue generating departments. And that is something that I’m familiar with. And that’s always been my hat and enablement. For anyone that touches a customer and drives revenue. My team supports. I am a team of three, I am hiring one right now. And I have one that actually started before me. So that was a little interesting. Right? So ultimately, I think, my, you know, the accountability of the revenue growth for the company sits at the senior vice president of sales. And my team’s charter is to maximize productivity and effectiveness, you know, I want to make all of them successful. And we have hypergrowth. You can, you can imagine, just like many startups, but we’re looking to double our headcount front loaded at the beginning of the year, and we are doing exponentially more in revenue than we’ve done in the past. So it’s like, get on and go.

The Collaborator
Now, what does remind me what is calm do remind us what what do they actually do?

Amy Benoit
So if you think about Kong, think about them as like an it’s like an information broker. Okay, so they’re, they’re powering connectivity for the world. So I think that’s fun that, you know, you’re the connector. And that’s what they’re doing. They take all of the applications that developers write, and they have a platform for an API Management. So they put this everywhere so that it can be secure, and reliable, and operationally efficient for those giant and small businesses that are, you know, developing so many things. So fast, need to pull different API’s from different companies and have it really in a, in a highly secured connected way.

The Collaborator
Love that love that I started my career as a software engineer. Oh, did you? Yeah, so um, I still geek out whenever I can. But

Unknown Speaker
that was a long time ago.

Amy Benoit
And I’ll say this. And this is just a funny tidbit. But I went to school for business and art, thinking that I’d own a boutique company myself, but I really expected it to be more residential interiors, and design, but not organizational design. And so this is not my, you know, the tech industry is where I’ve been, and has been my home for the past 15 years, though, I never intended that. So it kind of came up through it very organically.

The Collaborator
I love that. So talk to me. I mean, you mentioned the word. And you used it in a different context. But you mentioned Hey, my charter is to drive. What kinds of things are you doing right from the beginning, as you think about shaping and forming this, this enablement function that you’re now in charge of? Are you building charter or charter? Are you you know, how are you approaching all that me?

Amy Benoit
Goodness, but the million dollar question. So how am I approaching it? I will say that I am. I’m fortunate. So the, I was not looking to leave my consulting business and come into a company, okay, the, I got a call from a woman that I mentor, and she happened to be a recruiter at this company, and she pitched this and I take the interviews to help myself grow and kind of get the cobwebs out of patients. Yeah. But the way that it was presented, I felt compelled to actually have a conversation with the team and with the SVP and that conversation with him, just we both kind of connected and I’ve immediately without even me saying anything or asking any questions he started with. This is why enablement is important to us. And this is what you and I need to do together. And it felt instantly like a partnership of the revenue generating leader and the enablement leader and how we can really modernize the approach to enablement and do things differently. So I visited why I’m here because it feels like it’s new and inventive. And we’re able to be in a space of creativity and design. I, you know, I’ve put together a charter based on what his goals are, and what I think that we need as strategy, though, often I know we like start jobs, and we want to make an impact. And we have a little bit of ego to show everyone that we, you know, know what we’re doing. But I want to pull away from that and say, you know, you know, I’m very action oriented, you can tell that in the interview process, I’ve pitched what I would not do but think and how I might think about the design. But first, for now, for the first 30 days, actually, my job is to sit back and enjoy that adventure of discovering the unknown and untried and learn what I don’t know, here, I, I’m very aware of when folks come in as new hires and saying, Oh, I did this like this at this company. And I did this, like they said, this company and you know, sometimes sharing those best practices are fantastic before you get into ingrained into a culture. But I want to really spend this time understanding what drives the organization, you know, how they do things, the way that they work, so I’m not coming in and telling them things I can see what does enablement need to do to make the biggest impact on the organization, and I’m a ruthless priority, priority hater

Unknown Speaker
out word.

Unknown Speaker
Prioritize her

Amy Benoit
prioritization, whatever that is. That’s a good thing. Um, so I’ve created enablement charter, you know, I have, I have outcomes and goals and strategies and measurement and I, that may evolve in the next 30 days. And I’ve also been designing our 12 month roadmap, you know, so the first 30 days for enablement is discovery or for Amy in enablement. There’s a caveat there, right, like, you come into a company. And obviously, there’s triage some things that you just have to do. And one of those, especially for the enablement function is delivering a sales kickoff. Right, so you walk in, and it’s like, okay, so sales kickoff is tomorrow, you know, so what are we doing for it? And and I’m happy to say Actually, we have, we are taking that modern approach, and we have reimagined SCO, so it’s not going to be the standard four days, it’s actually going to be transformed in just the enablement program, here’s your continuous learning, here’s all the things that you always have to do, there’s going to be some kick off a experience and that energy that we want to bring and celebrate successes from last year. But like, immediately, it’s ongoing, here’s what’s expected. And here’s how we all align and hold ourselves accountable. So I’m, I’m just so happy that that’s where we’re at, at the beginning of my tenure, because, you know, we keep my my SVP and I keep pushing each other, you know, modern enablement, modern enablement, and we drop it like, that sounds a little bit like the 90s. Right, let’s, let’s think differently. And so, as I’m, as I’m learning, I’m, I’m loving that that’s the culture that we’re bringing to this, the startup world.

The Collaborator
I think that’s fantastic. Now, on the show, as part of your discovery, you just tried to interview and sit down with various people across the team, you know, what does that look like? What does your discovery process look like me?

Amy Benoit
Yep, yep. So I talk with my people, right? So I have to just really get comfortable with the, with the woman that’s on my team that started before me and understand her a big part of what I love to do is empower people, right? So how can I make her successful in her career, and I want to make sure I’m spending time there, but at the same time, I mean, I need to be connected with everyone in the organization. hear what’s going on in their world, what their environment looks like, in their needs for enablement. So it’s a lot of talking to folks and then understanding the business of what is our buyer journey. Do we have things documented Where do things live? You know, what what can I? Do we have a go to market that clean and well message in the company, you know, is it all about calm and calm and calm? Those are kind of things that I need to figure out now, and and step back from giving any of my two cents, you know, just observe and oftentimes that can be hard for somebody that’s

Unknown Speaker
a go getter.

The Collaborator
I get that. Yeah, no, absolutely. It’s hard to sit back and shut up. It’s one of the hardest things in the world, and just listened. But it’s, it’s valuable. If you can do that kind of listening and discovery engine tour, right at the beginning of your employment anyplace. I think it’s so valuable if you’re given the time and can make the time.

Amy Benoit
Yeah, and I’ll say, you know, it’s a juggle, right? Because I’m, I’m walking into meetings that have all that all departments, you know, leadership meetings and kickoff, or, you know, big launches and things that everyone, everyone wants enablement that that we know, right. So it’s really important to set your 30 days. And for me, it’s this is what those 30 days look like, and this is what the like, why I’ve designed it this way, but not doing that in the bubble. And I’m very fortunate that the SVP, unbeknownst to me, actually, you know, we chatted the other day. And he’s like, wow, what you showed me for SCO, the traditional scope that we were going to do, I’m astonished at what you’ve done. And day three, you know, however, however, I want you to just sit back for 30 days, and you know, there’s things that we have to do for sure, but just sit back, and then we’ll come and we’ll say, what have you observed. So having that lockstep and this is one of the reasons, you know, you you join, because you’re connected with these people that you’re partnering with, it’s really nice to have that manager who guides you and the way that you feel is the right way to do it as well. And that’s, I can’t say enough about the reason I joined is likely, you know, is highly because of this relationship that I immediately fell.

The Collaborator
I love that Amy, I love it now where she’s 27 minutes in, which is insane. And I like to go 30 minutes. So let me ask you this,

Unknown Speaker
oh, my God,

The Collaborator
I know, that’s what I’m saying we’ve already gone too long already. What’s happened we talked about, we haven’t talked about a billion things. But are there two or three points here, like, I just want to share these before I leave. And it’s okay, if there’s not, we covered a lot of ground.

Amy Benoit
For me, I would like to just say that a lot of us learn that the way to be powerful is with brute force and intimidation. And, and a lot of ego. And what I’ve learned is that, that kind of fear based power, quote unquote, power is not real, you know, and so and especially as I you know, the world and just as we try new things, you know, that power that we have is in this comes into that 30 days, you know, nothing to prove, right, you’ve already proven it, you’ve already gotten that job. That power is really the, that limitlessness that I feel that like that creativity that I want to give and the nurturing of things that I love. And it’s just, if, if everyone is a little bit more kind and compassionate, and to themselves and to others, I think the world would just be so much better. And we could do so much more in what we’re dreaming of, you know, I mean, people kind of get stuck sometimes. And so I just think we have that in ourselves and whatever you’re doing whatever you do in life, you know, professionally and personally, like, just own it because it is so important to know that that power comes from within. And that’s something that I really like to instill, especially in the industry that I’m in with underrepresented minorities that can sometimes get sometimes they lose it themselves, you know, like they they don’t know that they have it. So

Unknown Speaker
power comes

Amy Benoit
from within and you can do anything that you want. If you set your mind to it and you just you go after it and I’m So happy because this has been something that I’ve wanted to do for some time. And I’ve put it out there. So john, it’s a pleasure connecting with you. Thank you so much,

The Collaborator
Amy. It has been a pleasure of mine to connect with you as well. And you are a super human being for all the different things you’re trying and experimenting. And I can tell the the passion that you have for each and every one of those things little or big. So you’re going to be a tremendous success at con. My ask of you is I’m gonna have you come back in six months and tell us what you’re doing in six months. Oh, yeah. And what you’ve changed and transformed in the universe around you. And I look forward to that, too.

Amy Benoit
I would love it. Thank you so much. All right. Thank

The Collaborator
you, Amy. Thank you, everybody for listening. If you have questions for Amy. She is the Renaissance woman she wrote wrote that about herself now I may. I’m like done. All right, Amy. Thank you so much. Thank you. Bye, everyone.