This article is part of Liftoff’s Women in Mobile: Bosses of the Industry series, featuring in-depth interviews with inspiring women in the mobile industry.
Dini Mehta’s early passion for tech sales paved a path for her to work at several ad tech companies before landing at Lattice, including Drawbridge, Quantcast and Yume. As the CRO of Lattice, a people management platform, Dini’s passion for process, scaling and people development drives her success.
As part of our 2020 “Women in Mobile: Bosses of the Industry” series, Dini shares what it means to “manage your psychology” and the self-care habits she implements to support her mental well-being.
Tell us about your current role.
I’m currently the CRO at Lattice. We are a people management platform in the HR tech space. I’ve been here for a year and a half. I define my role as the single point of accountability on all things revenue, which can mean different things at different points in time during a company’s evolution. I directly manage seven people across various functions in the revenue org.
Walk us through your typical work day.
A typical day is usually a combination of cross functional meetings to ensure there’s alignment across departments, one-on-ones with my management team, and tons of interviewing since we’re scaling quite rapidly. When I joined a year and a half ago we had 40 staff and now we’re 150.
I’m a big believer in promoting from within. We have a lot of talented, high-performing folks moving into management, so I want to ensure I’m enabling and empowering them to become great leaders.
It’s 2020. What has your career path looked like over the past ten years?
Ha, I’ve definitely aged a hundred years in the last decade! Jokes aside, I’ve been grateful to have a lot of great opportunities.
Thinking back, I started 10 years ago on my tech journey at a search engine called Kosmix. That was my first foray into the startup world. I got to learn from a lot of talented people and I gained valuable experience from a business standpoint. Being one of the 2 business contacts at the company, I had the opportunity to work in presales, sales, business development and account management.
That exposure was key for learning, but also in helping me identify what I was most passionate about. In a span of two years I got to explore six roles. Looking back, I was fortunate to have that opportunity to test many roles and learned that I love convincing someone of the value a product can provide.
Since then my path led me to a couple of fast-growing sale orgs, first Quantcast then Drawbridge, a people-based identity management company offering a cross-device ad platform using ML. Again, I worked with great leaders and teammates. I fell in love with the process of building a robust revenue engine and seeing people develop through that process.
A lot of my passions revolve around process, scaling and people development. This is eventually what led me to Lattice a couple years ago. I was passionate about the space and the mission that the company was looking to solve. I wanted to take my learnings from the marketing and advertising spaces, and apply that to a completely new market. In some ways ten years ago feels like yesterday, and in other ways it feels like forty years ago—it’s been a really fun ride.
As a professional woman, what does it take to succeed in today’s world?
My definition of success has changed over the years. Early in my career I found myself continually chasing the next promotion. Over the years though I discovered my “why” and have tried to align my path to achieve it. To me, success is about mastering your craft and doing it in a humble way where you’re putting yourself in new situations and seeing things from a new point of view.
I recommend figuring out what you’re passionate about and then spending time honing your craft and the promotions will come. I learned what I like doing is scaling go-to-market engines from the ground up and developing people.
To be successful, I learned to be patient and find ways to manage my own psychology. I think most high-performing individuals, men and women both, are very hard on themselves. I’ve intentionally worked on getting better at managing my own psychology and coaching my teams to do the same. This is key for longevity of success, especially in a high pressure function like sales.
Managing your psychology means building a community, whether that’s people at work, friends, or family, that can ground you. When I’m having a tough day, it’s important to sync with my emotional support circle and remember to zoom out and think about the bigger picture. I’m also aware that my energy is going to become my team’s energy, so finding new outlets is key. As you move up in an org, you go from having a ton of peers that you can share with, to less—it gets lonelier. So finding your tribe or your community is very important.
Another tip is simply shutting it down at some point, whether that’s being done at 6:00 PM and not taking work home, or shutting down at 4:00 and doing a few more hours of work in the evening — building a schedule that works for you and sticking to it is key.
One other tactical thing I have done is I’ve deleted all my work apps and I started turning off notifications on my phone. I realized how tough it was for me to not check email or Slack every 30 minutes. These small steps have helped me manage my psychology better and strike a better balance between work and everything else.
What would your alternative career be if you weren’t at Lattice?
If I weren’t doing what I was doing today, I would move to Mexico and open up a bar on the beach. My husband does real estate sales in the city, so I don’t think it’s in my future. But, a girl can dream!
What’s the best career decision you ever made and why?
My guiding principle is to push myself to continue learning. Learning typically happens when you’re uncomfortable, so it’s important to embrace that.
Early in a career, figuring out what you are most passionate about is nerve-wracking. It was for me. And sometimes, you will make decisions that, while right for you, don’t always look that way from the outside. When I worked at Quantcast, for example, I was doing really well. I just got promoted into management, was managing a team in a high-performing territory, then left to join Drawbridge where I was one of the first business hires to figure out the whole go-to-market strategy.
Similarly, when I moved from Drawbridge, I was there for five and a half years and built the team up to 50 people across 6 different offices in the US. When I left Drawbridge for Lattice, I joined a much smaller sales team of eight people. From the outside, many people thought it was a bad career call.
Passion for your work is essential. When evaluating a new opportunity, I ask myself, “Am I excited about what I am going to sell? Will I enjoy working with these people on a daily basis? Will I learn and grow?” These are the key questions to ask yourself. Care less about what others have to say and use your passion as your guide.
Can you recall a mistake you made and share what you learned from it?
When you are in sales there’s immense pressure to deliver on a quarterly cadence. It’s easy to focus narrowly on the numbers without seeing much else. If you focus too much on the numbers, you may quickly find yourself micromanaging your team, which is disempowering.
I made this mistake earlier in my management experience. It was a big miss that I learned from. Now I am extremely cognizant of empowering my team, hiring great people, and doing what I can to help them succeed. I’ve learned that by focusing on my people and building scalable process, the revenue will typically follow.
Can you share some self-care habits that help you be the best version of yourself?
Managing my psychology and work-life balance go hand in hand. I tell my team that it’s more important for us to manage our energy versus managing our time. Having a healthy work-life balance helps with building a happier work environment.
Other tips I can share include: turning off mobile notifications, sleeping a full eight hours, eating on time and working out three days a week in the mornings. These are habits I think people should try and prioritize. This is how I bring out my best self.
What is a fun fact about yourself that few people know?
I’m a published author in the Journal of Neurochemistry (nerd alert!). I was a biology major in college. I thought I wanted to be a scientist and did research in a proteomics lab for two years, got published then realized it wasn’t for me. Eventually I found my passion in sales and technology.
What is the number one resource you recommend to women?
What I found most helpful for my personal growth is building my support circle or tribe. I typically try to meet two to three new professional connections every quarter. That’s my personal goal for my own growth. I look for women or revenue leaders who are two to three years ahead of where I am today so I can learn from their journey.
Learning from other women that have walked a path similar to my own is a big one for me. And I’m always happy to pay it forward — ten years ago people took time to share their experiences with me when I was trying to figure out what I wanted in life. I try to do the same.