ConnectStrat continues to grow and we are excited to welcome Andrea Tancredi to our team of strategic coaches! She is one of 4 new coaches we will be introducing over the next few weeks. I hope you can get to know her a bit more though our recent interview.
Tell me a little bit about your personal life. Where did you grow up? School? Family?
I was born while my dad was in grad school, so after he got his PhD we moved around a few times for his work in biotech. Most of my childhood was spent in the NJ suburbs of NYC, then a big move out to Northern California for a few years before we returned to the East Coast near Philadelphia. While the teen years are never easy, and moving is always stressful, I appreciate the perspective I got from growing up in parts of the US that were so different from each other.
I was especially inspired by my mom who worked because she loved it. When I was 8, she decided to go back to college and get her degree. I saw her work ethic firsthand when we did homework together and then as her career took her to positions as a senior VP and then COO for a top trust bank.
I married my college sweetheart, Ethan, and we have raised three amazing adults together. Our sons, Geoff and Ben are out of college and pursuing their careers and our daughter Sam is finishing up college this year. They are all on their own amazing paths and I couldn't be any prouder of who they are as people, their goals and how hard they work at showing up as their highest and best selves.
How about your early business life? Where did you get started?
I had a bit of a winding path in business. I got married in college and hustled to manage an apartment building in Seattle's U-District, go to school full-time and work part-time jobs. One of my first jobs was setting up databases for research labs. Over the years, I have owned and operated several home-based businesses and a pasture based farm that produced eggs, grass-fed meats, and sheep's milk dairy. After selling the farm, I headed into corporate America as a business analyst which paved the way for later roles in project management, business solutions and leading global strategic initiatives. At heart I am an entrepreneur, so several years ago I took these skills and started sharing them with other entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
How did your passion for coaching, teaching, and facilitating start?
Nerd alert: I am super curious and especially love to teach what I am learning. I am fascinated with systems and all my work experience has taken me to the intersection of people, process, and technology. Along the way, I saw that while excellent management is critical for systems and tools, coaching is really the only way forward with people.
I got my official start as a coach during my time at a global enterprise. People around me were burning out. Lots of folks were working harder (not smarter) to keep their head above water. We lost a lot of good talent from teams and many of the people who remained were just going through the motions or getting bitter and disgruntled. There was a huge need to shift perspective away from feeling trapped to feeling capable of rising to the challenges. So, I started leading a group at lunch where I taught content and shared TED talks & HBR articles. I would lead a discussion and then coached the group on applying the ideas with the idea of adding to our toolkits. It was great to see people feel empowered and I was hooked.
Tell me more about your experience in that regard. Where have you focused your work since you began coaching?
Several years ago, after a trip to HTG (now IT Nation Evolve) I was energized to start my own company and blend coaching and consulting to get entrepreneurs results. Huge corporations can afford high-priced consulting teams, but I saw a real need for the same support in smaller companies too. My husband has worked in IT for 25 years and over that time I learned to speak MSP too. For established businesses especially in the MSP space, there were a lot of niche coaches and consultants that could sell you a tool or get you started on a process but very few that actually coached you through to creating a new normal for the business. I offered services that bridged the gap and operationalized tools and processes to get clients out of a "muscle and feel" stage, into management excellence and beyond.
I really enjoy working with MSP and SAAS owners. My clients are smart and capable, but they can't do it all by themselves…yet. None of us are now who are companies will need us to be in 2-3 years. That's why coaching is so valuable. Personally, it is so satisfying to see clients reach their goals and then go on to scale that success by leveraging the tools I coached them on.
Finally, bringing it back to the personal side, what do are you passionate about outside of work? What do you do to balance?
I am an avid reader and usually have a novel and a non-fiction book with me. My family is scattered across the US, and it is always great to spend time with them. One of my sons is an actor and comedian and the other two are very serious about rugby so I take every chance I can get to watch them perform on the stage or the rugby pitch. I also love to travel and experience new cultures abroad. I have been to Europe and Asia several times. I live in beautiful Central New York and hiking in the Adirondacks, Great Lakes, and Finger Lakes are all about an hour away. When I am home, I putter around my garden with my husband and embrace the wondrous commotion provided by our dog, Dax, and macaw, Mikka who much to my chagrin are partners in crime every day.