Never Forget your Motivation: Meet Ryan Smith

GoDaddy LifeCategory
7 min read
Katelyn Armas

You’ve been with GoDaddy for almost fourteen years! Do you mind sharing more about your career journey and what led you to your current role?

I was self-employed for nearly ten years and my business didn’t survive the economic crisis of 2008. I joined GoDaddy in September of 2009 and was hired as an Inbound Support Guide. Very quickly, I transitioned to our Customer Development team, where I outreached to other small business customers. It was a great opportunity, where I explained to our customers how our tools could help avoid the pit falls that I, myself fell into. Not too much longer after that, I became an Inbound Supervisor. After about a year in that role, I came back to the Customer Development team as a Supervisor. After two and a half years of supervising, I was promoted to Manager of our Inbound Support department. Over the course of the next couple of years, I managed three other departments and started a new department from the ground-up. Then, I moved into a Channel Management role. Channel Managers (now known as Product Operations) are the liaison between Customer Care, Product, and Marketing. These were some of my most challenging years, as I was pushed to learn several new processes. As I grew stronger in Product and Marketing supporting functions, I evolved my role into setting Care’s Contact Strategy. I worked hard to set the motions for rebuilding how we route our phone calls with new technology. I’m proud to say we’ve evolved our technology quite a bit and are well ahead of the curve on our ability to strategically capture our customer’s intents and match those with Guides who are best positioned to solve their needs!

How has GoDaddy helped you grow as an individual?

I’ve had a ton of leaders who saw potential in me and provided me with opportunities to grow. The thing that stands out the most to me, is I didn’t ask to be developed at the time. It was just in the DNA of GoDaddy and I’m tremendously grateful for all the attention and investment that I might not have received from another employer. I was given the opportunity to complete DDI trainer certification — a Dale Carnegie training for managers course — early in my supervisory days and was super fortunate to attend a weeklong MBA crash course along with several other mini management courses, along the way. Collectively, these have made me so much stronger and wiser.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in Sales, here at GoDaddy?

Find your motivation and don’t forget it. You might think you are money motivated, but you’re likely better off focusing on the things money affords you. For many, it starts off with paying off debt, creating a family, maybe a first home, or even a larger home. It might evolve to owning an exotic car, traveling the world, philanthropy, or early retirement. Your motivations will likely shift as you age and mature, but when you focus on the things that are your core values and of the utmost importance to you, everything else will follow. I’ve seen such amazing talent lost because someone got upset that their schedule was changing, their team was changing, and then they lost sight of the bigger picture and eventually lost the career they were building. You must be resilient, adaptive, and see the bigger picture. Sales is a tough role, and for many, it’s a launch pad towards something else in their career. Take adversity and challenges and learn from them. Ask yourself: “Why am I in this difficult position? What can I learn from it? How can I make this a better place because of my learnings?” Nothing is easy and time is something you can’t rewind or buy more of. I encourage everyone to make the most of the time they have and don’t lose opportunities because of short-term feelings and emotions.

What’s the most challenging yet rewarding thing that you’ve worked on in your career, thus far?

For me, it was the day I was hired to become a Supervisor and informed I would be working Sunday — Thursday 2:00 PM — 10:30 PM. That’s because my daughter had just been born five weeks earlier and my son was only two and a half years old. My wife worked Monday — Friday, starting quite early. For several months, I slept from shortly after midnight to 5:30 AM (when my wife left for work). It was incredibly difficult on me personally and I never realized what sleep deprivation could do to someone. That aside, the people I worked with, and the environment of second shift taught me things I never realized would help me so much, had I always stayed on first shift. During the middle of the day, I had every resource and department at my disposal. Things like manager approvals, IT help desk, Human Resources, advanced Product support. That isn’t always the case with later shifts. You are challenged to become resourceful when you’re put in this situation. As you read this, you might be surprised, that I was working with such a young child at home. At that time, I wasn’t allowed much paternity leave. Now, GoDaddy offers generous parental leave for both birthing and non-birthing parents. That’s when you reflect and can say, the right leaders have made the right changes for the new parents of today and I’m proud to work for a company that supports our paternal leaves and so many other amazing benefits and Employee Resource Groups. As I reflect on many years ago, I quickly fast forward and realize all these challenges that seemed unfair at the time, were actually preparing me for a role of greater impact and responsibility and my ability to persevere through them has helped journey my path into my current role.

If you had to describe GoDaddy’s culture in one word, what would it be and why?

Amazing. It’s high accountability with high rewards and so much fun. We celebrate the little and the big things and we foster and create a place where people can do anything they want, with a proven track record. Several peers that started around my new hire class now work across multiple areas of our organization — Marketing, Human Resources, Engineering, Global Advanced Support, and Marketing Technology Ops (just to name a few)! When I recently took on our Sales organization, I said culture was one of my top three priorities. We have really doubled down on employee recognition. We hold BBQs and engaging events for our teams. We even brought back our annual Leadership Olympics event, and we celebrate our Luminaries and Rockstars with special gifts and in-person events.

What’s your motto or personal mantra?

A leader is the first person in the room to identify the problem without placing blame. Manage individuals and direct teams.

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