“I think most of the world’s problems can be resolved by 3 things — empathy, effort and education. If we as a people focus on living the 3 E’s and instilling them in our children — the world would be a much better place.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Greg Mondshein, co-founder and managing partner at SourceCode Communications, a technology PR firm based in New York. Prior to launching SourceCode, Greg spent the last 12 years in varying roles at global communications firms helping to build businesses. As a recovering Ironman triathlete, husband and father to two young girls, this entrepreneur certainly has his hands full!
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It was an interesting path. I never wanted entrepreneurship. To add to it, I was never particularly career focused. It was a handful of seemingly disconnected events that led me to where I am today. Business school opened the door to a management training program with a large homebuilder. In that role, I was fortunate enough to learn from one of the greatest sales, marketing and leadership minds I’ve ever met. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the grueling training program I was put through gave me the foundation of a skillset I believe isn’t taught enough — sales. This was in 2007 so after a complete housing market collapse, I was itching for a way out of real estate. I must have applied to more that 200 jobs and the only response I received back was from a tiny public relations agency in Miami. Fortunately enough they looked for non-traditional talent (I literally had zero PR experience) and I got the job. For the next eight years I helped grow the agency into a formidable contender in the consumer electronics space. Again, I was lucky enough to work for a great business mind that gave me key lessons I needed around perseverance, tactful aggression and a competitive mindset that thrived under pressure. From there, NYC came calling and my next role was where I honed my craft on a bigger stage and met my incredible parter, Becky Honeyman. Today, with the support of my partner, I’m running a growing technology PR agency. Who woulda thought.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
We’re only a year in so my history is limited, but it was surprising to us to experience the success we’ve had. In just a few short months of operation, we were shortlisted for New Agency of the Year by Holmes Report, won an In2Sabre award by that same publication and the Observer named us as a Top Technology Firm. It was nuts and currently has us on pace for nearly 7x growth in 2018. Most importantly, it’s enabled us to lure some tremendous talent from some of the best agencies in the world.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Starting an agency requires you to do anything and everything it takes — client work, accounting, human resources, IT and taking out the trash if need be. It had been years, if not decades, since I got back in the trenches of the media relations game. The team has thoroughly enjoyed me pitching journalists to no avail and occasionally landing a tier three publication for a client. On the surface it’s felt like a colossal waste of time, but when you take a step back to reflect there’s huge value in staying connected to the core of your business. It’s a bit of the Undercover Boss phenomenon — when you pound the pavement with your team you gain such incredible perspective that can drive strategic business decision making.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
In the age of AI, automation, robotics and machine learning, we believe we’ve all lost a step when it comes to basic human engagement. We miss the subtles, the visible cues and the opportunities for us to build great relationships. We’ve decided to buck this trend. We focus on the the data and forthcoming insight to drive strategy, but equally we take the care and time to understand our clients as people and the audiences they are trying to influence. What they need to succeed, what drives them and what generally makes them tick. When you combine the both the hard and soft aspects of client service, we believe the experience is better for all.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
All of our clients are exciting! We’ve just announced an acquisition by Yotpo, a $50MM funding round by one of our longest standing clients Puls, new products from consumer powerhouses 37.5 Technology, Felix Gray and Rachio and a series B for social media management platform SOCi. This is what it’s like to work in technology PR — a blazing pace and a great variety of work ensures you never get bored and have the opportunity to learn about the cutting edge in many industries. It’s not for the easily panicked, but incredibly rewarding to see your concepts, campaigns and content get some ink and impact your clients’ bottomline.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Honestly, not sure I’m in a position to give advice to other CEOs, but I’m happy to give my .02 on developing a workplace that your employees love to come to. First, don’t take yourself too seriously — be a human being and relatable. Second, respect their individual needs. Everyone works differently and has different circumstances, so try your best to let them do what they need to do to achieve balance. Third, get in the trenches with your team. You can’t ask people to do things you’re not willing to do. Fourth, make sure you have consistent open and honest conversations. You won’t have all the answers but demonstrating you care is usually all you need. There are probably 1,000 other nuggets, but I’ll spare you. 🙂
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
You’re totally right and I wholeheartedly believe I’m nothing without my family, my mentors and my network. To single out one is a difficult task because there have been 100s of people that in some way gave me an opportunity, some insight or some encouragement to keep me moving forward. One of the most notable mentors was my first boss — a Harvard MBA, VP at a Fortune 150 company by 30 and an ex-Navy seal. To say the guy was impressive is the understatement of the year. I began working for him fresh out of graduate school and very quickly learned the RIGHT way to approach work. By this I mean, what REAL effort, focus and determination look like. I was challenged, inspired and led in a way they write leadership books about. In addition to the practical skills, my experience with him gave me a better understanding of what I was capable of if I applied the right amount of effort. Having skated by throughout my education, this was EXACTLY what I needed to jumpstart my career.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Most recently my partner Becky and I felt so troubled by the atrocities happening with families at our southern border. We felt motivated to help, so we provided a significant donation to the ACLU and matched any donation our team members felt compelled to give. Additionally, we’re currently speaking with their communications team here in NYC about how we can get involved in providing pro bono PR services to further their worthy causes and initiatives.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Stay off the roller coaster — there are highs and lows. Celebrate your wins, but do your best to stay level headed and focused on the task at hand.
Never lose your growth mindset — most problems are resolved through growth. A robust pipeline allows for strategic investments, breathing room and a heck of a lot of fun.
Nurture your network — you will live and die by your network. Take time weekly, if not daily, to stay connected to the people that are most likely and willing to advise and support you.
Learn to disconnect — it’s easy to never turn off. Disconnect or you’ll run the risk of burning out or more likely making less than optimal decisions.
Plan for success — planning for growth does two major things: first, it ensures you have the resources and the plan in place for smashing your goals. Second, it’s an amazingly positive mental exercise. As Stephen Covey says in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, ‘there are two creations for all things — the mental and then the physical.’ Considering, you might as well mentally create a badass business. 🙂
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think most of the world’s problems can be resolved by 3 things — empathy, effort and education. If we as a people focus on living the 3 E’s and instilling them in our children — the world would be a much better place.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge. The relevance to me and to everyone should be the understanding that effort leads to more success than anything else. It is amazingly empowering to know you don’t have to be the smartest, have the most money or come from a particular background. You just have to give it your all and have the mental fortitude to never give up. Expect setbacks, learn to relish in them and keep hammering away.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Edelman, Marcus Lemonis, Mark Cuban
How can our readers follow you on social media?
TW — gmondshein & sourcecodecomms
Insta — sourcecodecomms
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Originally published at medium.com