Each year, HDI enlists the help of our Strategic Advisory Board to guide us as we serve the IT service and support communities. These leaders in the field provide input about what’s important to cover and what training and events to offer, and help us network with others in the IT sphere.
Throughout the year, we’re highlighting the individual members of the board, and asking each of them a few questions about their experience. Here, we speak with Pete McGarahan, Senior Director, Workplace & Collaboration Services. First American Financial, who has been a longtime supporter of the HDI community.
Thank you for agreeing to be a part of HDI’s Strategic Advisory Board. Why do you think it’s important to give back to the IT service and support community?
I think it’s important because it is who we are; it's part of our make-up. We have been on the receiving end for many years and now it’s time to give back. It’s important because we know it matters and makes a difference. It enables us regularly to connect with our network and community and share experiences and lessons learned in addition to finding better ways to service our community through networking, training, certification, events, and meetings.
What lesson did you learn from your biggest success in your career? And from one of your biggest challenges?
It’s all in how you define success and what success means to you. I don’t really consider any of my accomplishments, awards, or honors as the biggest success moments in my career. I see it more as a series of accomplishments that have been recognized and rewarded for what they are, what they mean, and what they accomplished.
The biggest challenge in my career has been reporting to a “Bully Boss” or “Energy Vampire.” They see themselves as the owner, manipulator, and controller of your job, career, and life. We should never let anyone control our job, career, and life, nor should we allow them to tell us what we can do and can’t do.
All of this is up to us, it’s in our hands. We make the right decisions for us, not because someone told us to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do – for us. Be always open to new adventures and experiences, take risks, travel the untraveled road, and when there is a fork in the road, take it and know that the adventure will make you better and stronger because you will learn from both the good and the bad.
In your opinion, what skill or skills will be most needed in the next decade in this industry?
Without a doubt, customer service and the ability to empathically relate to our customers while holistically delivering on their expected customer experience.
From a leadership perspective, I would say having passion and motivation for leading people, teams, and an industry to always improve and consistently deliver against the customers’ expectations in an ever changing, technically complex service environment.
What are you most proud of in your career, and why?
Winning the HDI Team Excellence Award – Twice! First the Taco Bell team in 1995 and then the First American Financial team in 2020.
You find yourself in a room full of IT service and support professionals and you can give them just one piece of advice to set them up for success. What would you say?
Always put your customer and team first and lead from the back while never arriving, constantly learning, and always improving.