Five Questions With: Tim Hebert

Tim Hebert is the chief client officer of Carousel Industries, a technology solutions management firm based in Exeter. Carousel will hold its annual AlwaysOn Leadership Symposium on Thursday, May 18. Hebert spoke with Providence Business News about the symposium’s evolution and the role of leadership in the tech industry.

PBN: This will mark the seventh year of Carousel’s AlwaysOn Leadership Symposium. How has the focus of this event changed over the years you’ve been involved?

HEBERT: At the inaugural AlwaysOn Leadership Symposium, we focused on the intersection of technology, leadership and business. We believed that the confluence of these three powerful forces were drastically changing the world in which we live, work and play. Our first two symposiums strongly emphasized technology and targeted technology leaders. But something funny happened along the way; those technology leaders were bringing nontechnical leaders from their businesses. So, our symposium has evolved to focus more on leadership and business. This year’s theme is “Resilience,” and how to build resiliency into our organizations, professional lives and personal lives.

PBN: You’ve said before that “becoming an intentional leader is not unlike playing on the monkey bars.” Can you explain what that means?

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HEBERT: The “monkey bars” metaphor is illustrative of the power of letting go. Leaders and individuals must learn to release the past and reach to the future. We all have seen organizations like Blockbuster Video that refused to let go of their business model until it was too late. Their inability to reach forward to seize a new strategy allowed relatively unknown competitors like Netflix to disrupt and replace them. Success in life and business requires a series of conscious and intentional decisions to relinquish something that was once important and comfortable. Just like forward progress on the monkey bars requires us to let go of the rung behind us.

PBN: In what ways do you see leadership as a critical function of success, in the tech industry specifically?

HEBERT: Leadership is critical in all aspects of our lives, and we struggle in our society, organizations and lives when there is a leadership deficit. The tech industry is an immense change agent for the world. It creates high-wage jobs, increases efficiency and productivity in our businesses, and changes the way we think and communicate personally. Tech leaders today face great uncertainty, constant change and the threat of rapid obsolescence. IT professionals must reinvent themselves every two to three years, or they risk becoming irrelevant. Today’s tech leaders must be exemplary role models. They must also create compelling visions for the future, constantly challenge the status quo, and build diverse environments while fostering inclusion. Finally, they must learn to connect with people and make them feel validated.

PBN: You’re a board member of the Tech Collective in addition to your role at Carousel. Is industry leadership a natural extension of corporate leadership?

HEBERT: For sure! I am excited about the opportunity to advance the tech industry in Rhode Island. One of the greatest challenges that Rhode Island and our industry faces is the lack of highly skilled talent to fill critical positions within our organizations and other companies within the state. The Tech Collective, coupled with the governor, [R.I.] Commerce Corp., Department of Labor, Opportunity@work and many other organizations, [is] working to increase the size of the technology talent pool by 2,000 individuals by 2020.

PBN: What should attendees of this year’s symposium expect to gain from the event?

HEBERT: Attendees of this year’s symposium should walk away inspired and energized by our amazing lineup of speakers. They also will realize some “aha” moments that will help them increase their organizational or personal resilience.

Kaylen Auer is a PBN contributing writer.