Location: Baltimore, MD
Years in role: 1
Years at company: 2
LEADERSHIP AND MENTORING: “My team is the NASCAR driver and I’m the pit crew,” says James Bain, COO at Parking Panda. “When you hit a roadblock you can’t get past, it’s my job to remove it.” Bain embraces three principles for his team: autonomy, empowerment and accountability. “I spend a great deal of time explaining the why, the thought process and business goals behind what I’m asking of my employees and teams,” he says.
FUN FACT: “I am an expert wedding-toast giver, having served every role in weddings, except the flower girl.”
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES: “Because we are still in growth mode, there are 100 different directions we are trying to go in, and an ever-increasing list of customers and stakeholders that we need to keep happy. Oh, and we need to do this with a lean organization,” Bain says. This means the company has to be laser-focused on making the right hires, and Bain embraces hiring based on culture fit as much as skillset.
DRIVING VALUE: “I saw an opportunity to expand the way we do business development,” says Bain. “I used my experience in two-sided internet businesses to get us to think more strategically about business development, and about customer service. … Before my team took over, we had 20 affiliates. Less than a year later, we had over 600.”