We were able to open our third season with Bridget Frey, who is the CTO of Redfin; a well-respected and intelligent leader. She has provided many meaningful pieces of advice and shares her powerful and personal stories that led her to where she is today. Check out our 3 takeaways below:
For Bridget, it seemed as if her curiosity kicked in at the age of 5, when she received an Apple computer. Since then, she’s made a path for herself to be able to expand her technical skills and background, by joining as many clubs and events throughout her education. She wasn’t a nerd, but rather curious! She was not only curious about computers and technology, but also as to how she can apply her skills to make an impact in something meaningful to her. She sent a bunch of cold emails to companies she found interest in, where she then landed at a startup, Plumtree Software, founded by current Redfin’s CEO, Glenn! She was able to grow within the startup and always finding projects she could tackle or start to help the company succeed. After seeing successful growth of the company, she was able to move with Glenn into Redfin as CTO. Who knows, maybe ExecuTalks’ Ash will take me alongside on his next big mission! But key thing to note here is to always maintain a high level of curiosity, asking yourself what skills you can bring and improve on, how to move upwards, where a problem may be, etc.
A big personal mission Bridget had was to make an impact on others and create empathy. Whatever she was doing, she wanted to make sure it had a positive impact. She attended a career fair at Harvard, where she ended up studying Computer Science at. Her mindset was focused on empathy, where she’d find a company with a mission that she finds value in and could empathize with. Bridget was perfect for Redfin, as she was constantly moving around growing up, so she knows the struggles of transitioning. She wanted to make that an amazing experience for people who went through transitions. To her, it was relatable, which gave her more motivation to build a better service to clients. Aside from helping customers, she also understood employees within Redfin, as well as their roles. This could be done by taking on more roles yourself. She understood the hard work and reflects appreciation for her coworkers. Her advice for alone who is feeling lonely or lost is to feel your feelings and find people to reach out to on the same path or who share similar goals and then give back to bring others in as well!
3. Expertise in one main area
Bridget never had a 5 year plan, whereas she lives more in the moment, but she’s always committed to whatever she was doing and needed to accomplish. A big takeaway from her is to be an expert in something, where you can always tie it in with something you have a passion in. She was an expert with Computer Science and technology and she was able to apply it to help make transitions easier for others. This never came easy. She took on many different roles and is always on the lookout for different projects she could work or help on, which is why she enjoys the startup nature, where she’s given more opportunities. Being an expert in something requires listening skills. She was once told she wasn’t as strategic, where she then figured out how to be. She listens to others and takes feedback like a champ, and is able to constantly improve her skills. This is why it’s important to be around collaborative people, who can also serve as devil’s advocate. So, find something you want to do or can do. Stick to it. Improve on it.
Checkout the full podcast here!