As we observe Women’s History Month, we are fortunate to share the story of an exceptional leader who’s been making history at Digibee for the past year. Her passion for innovation and technology is inspiring, and her leadership style is inclusive, supportive, and collaborative. Meet this bold, goal-oriented, analytical, strategically-minded, self-motivated, coach, Cait Porte, and read about her work as CMO at Digibee.
There were many factors that led to Cait’s decision to join Digibee. One key draw was the opportunity to be part of a startup culture. Being able to build something from the ground up and have a direct impact on the company’s growth and success. Cait said “there’s a lot of risk, but also a lot of reward.” With a background in product, joining Digibee also allowed her the opportunity to learn about a new product while exploring a different area of the technology industry. Of course, the people and culture mattered as well. Being part of a team that is talented, brilliant, passionate, driven, and supportive was something Cait found incredibly appealing.
However, the biggest deciding factor for Cait was the value that Digibee had to offer. Seeing the company’s early success, where customers were so enamored with the product that they rebought or bought more within the first nine months (which is quite uncommon in the product world), demonstrated not only a healthy company but one with longevity. Joining a hypergrowth company like Digibee was an opportunity to be part of something truly special and be at the forefront of a rapidly expanding industry.
Life at Digibee
Cait is extremely self-motivated and goal-oriented, so the start-up culture is a natural fit. She believes these particular skills are a result of her upbringing and the unwavering support of her parents. Growing up, Cait’s parents were always even-keeled in responding to whatever she was doing. They never acted surprised by her achievements, but rather responded with, “of course you did that.” They were confident in her capabilities, and there was no judgment in whatever path she chose. They taught her to trust that whatever she wanted to achieve, she could, and all that mattered was that she was happy doing it. She recalls when graduating from her MBA program, when she went to thank her parents, her mother said, “it was all you. We didn’t do it. You should be thanking yourself.” She is grateful for her parents’ guidance as it taught her how to set levels, find self-motivation, and seek what is most exciting and fulfilling.
As a woman and a leader, Cait is invested in pushing the limits on more diverse representation across the company. She recognizes that the Pandemic has not been easy for working parents, and unfortunately, it mostly cascaded to women. Much of the progress made prior for working mothers was immediately lost, and she’s invested in having that conversation every day. As a working mother myself, this part of the conversation really resonated with me. It was both refreshing and encouraging to have such a candid discussion about it. Cait feels a personal responsibility to ensure that the progress trajectory is visible, especially for women who want to work. She believes that if you want to work, (and it’s a choice for you to be a working parent), there should be equal opportunities for representation at all levels, and we are opening those doors. Cait believes that more diverse representation across the company is not only the right thing to do but also good for business. By creating a more diverse workforce, the company will benefit from different perspectives, ideas, and experiences, which will lead to better decision-making and more innovative solutions. Cait is really encouraged by the work currently being done at Digibee to address this. In particular, the compensation review will be an important area of focus, looking at fair compensation individually, comparatively, and globally.
In that same vein, Cait also talked about the statistics she’s seen that highlights the differences in women-run companies and organizations. “The data we have access to only includes two genders for now, but we know that in those terms, women manage and lead differently. The more profitable organizations are led by women.” In fact, a study from the Frank Recruitment Group found that the majority of Fortune 500 companies with a female CEO are typically more profitable than those helmed by a male CEO. In the research they found that 87% of the top 500 companies last year led by a female decision-maker reported above-average profits, compared to just 78% of companies without a female CEO. The takeaway is that women approach growth more conservatively and that leads to healthier companies. Cait feels that it is really important for organizations to recognize these facts, for everyone, not just women. In terms of diversifying perspectives, there is an interesting dynamic being represented in the work population that shouldn’t be overlooked.
For Cait, being in a leadership position brings both challenges and opportunities. As a manager, Cait is charged with ensuring everyone on the team is suited to their roles. “When you are hiring, you are not just looking at expertise, you are looking at drive and curiosity. It can be hard, but sometimes you discover the role you hired someone for isn’t the best fit for them.” It can be difficult, but it’s necessary for both the health of the team, and the benefit of the individual. On the other hand, she says, “if you can find their best fit, then you can keep this incredible person while also watching them flourish as a result of putting them in the right spot.“ As challenging as that journey can be, it’s also an opportunity to help people fully realize their professional potential.
The Future Ahead
In terms of the future, Cait said emphatically, “the future is bright!” To put it simply, Digibee has fantastic technology, provides unique differentiators for our market, and solves the universal integration problem. Those characteristics alone are a recipe for success, but Cait said our differentiator really comes back to our team. She has been impressed every day with the level of talent and intelligence of Digibee’s workforce. She joked that “of course, it’s nice to feel like you are the smartest person in the room. But, it’s also rewarding to work with people that are smarter and know we have THAT person! They are on OUR team!”
Digibee’s people are hard-working, dedicated, committed to our core values, and have achieved a lot in a short period of time. Cait feels Digibee brought on the right people at the right time and because Digibee encourages curiosity and growth, “everyone is empowered to have a voice and a seat at the table.” Cait has incredible faith in the people at Digibee and believes they will be the key to driving our future success.
Digibee encourages curiosity and growth, everyone is empowered to have a voice and a seat at the table.
Balancing Work & Life at Digibee
Cait is the proud mom of a one year old boy and four year old girl. Her family tries to be experience-focused; family time means choosing to do an activity or go on an adventure together. Of course, anyone with young children knows that at this stage, it can be hard not to lose your sense of self, and finding your work/life balance is constantly top of mind. My children are a few years older, but I recall how difficult it was to find time to be anything but “mom” when my kids were little. Cait said it’s imperative to intentionally allow time for your hobbies and passions. “I want to be sure I make time to be the best version of myself. Balancing between work, family, and myself, has to happen every day so I don’t look back with regrets. You have to choose to prioritize yourself.” But Cait also said there is a lot of reward being a working parent. Especially as the mother of a daughter, it’s important for her to model that balance.
Coaching is a big part of Cait’s life. Having benefited herself from great mentors and leaders both personally and professionally throughout her life, she is eager to give that back. Throughout her career, Cait was fortunate to witness the effect of good leaders bringing out the best in their teams. She also credits her inclination toward mentorship to her parents. She noticed that her parents approached raising each of their three daughters differently. That taught her to recognize that there is “a uniqueness to how everyone flourishes. Everyone has a different way of learning and responds to different drives and motivators.” To continue to develop her coaching skills, she is constantly researching, seeking advice, reading leadership books, and staying connected to the product community. She loves engaging with people that are naturally curious and want to educate themselves.
Since my first conversation with Cait, it was clear she had an educator’s soul. In team meetings, she’s always invested in everyone understanding the topics being presented, and she’s naturally adept at breaking down concepts in an engaging way. She’s also extremely approachable, so you know the door is always open (or in our case, the Slack channel) if you have questions.
With every interview, there’s almost always some surprise hobby to explore. Cait’s is dog-training. She has two dogs, a french bulldog and an old english bulldog (warning: incredibly adorable pup photos below!), and she and her husband spent ample time training them. Before having children, it was a huge part of their lives. They have raised well-behaved, well-mannered, therapy dogs. She knows once the kids are a bit older, they will return to this particular hobby because it brought them a lot of joy.
It’s truly exciting for me to talk to incredible “Digibees” like Cait each month and hear about their different interests and journeys. Keep reading our employee highlights to learn more about this amazing team of people working to bring Digibee’s innovative enterprise integration solution forward in the US and globally, and see for yourself why we have the best team around!
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