“There always has to be a faster, easier way to accomplish something,” says Betsy Adelstein, Senior Vice President of Sales at Flashtalking. Working smarter rather than harder has always informed Betsey’s leadership style, although she’s not averse to a little bit of elbow grease.
“I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in relentless pursuit to figure something out that I’d never done before,” she says before citing vivid memories from high school, where she used the school’s very first Mac to design their yearbook and her first internship at an ad agency, where she taught herself the now-defunct Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program. It wasn't about the hours spent working, but making herself as knowledgable and as capable as she could be.
It should come as no surprise that this attitude has propelled Betsy into a successful career. Taking pride in sharing her hard work ethic with other team members, she’s helped them to also learn and grow faster alongside her. “In my mind, one of the best qualities of a leader is someone who enables the rest of the team to accomplish what they need to do faster, easier and better than they could without them.”
Betsy’s passion is clear, but what makes her a great leader is her genuine care for the people she works with. Upskilling and educating her workforce is important, but genuine care for her team’s happiness comes first. “I want them to be as happy as I am coming to work every day,” she told The Software Report. “I want them to know how much I value their contribution, I want them to feel like if they want to do something different that I will be supportive and help them.” Not one to forget her roots, Betsy is always at the ready to roll up her sleeves and join in on the hard work it takes to get the job done.
After experiencing her own professional hardships, including being fired from her dream job after spending 5 years at a company she loved working for, Betsy understands the value of nurturing relationships. A lot of this understanding comes from one of her biggest inspirations, her co-worker, friend, and the CRO at Flashtalking, Joe Sabol. “We started as colleagues on the very same day at our previous company, then [we] created an opportunity to launch Flashtalking in the US 10 years ago,” she says.
Just a few weeks after being fired, Betsy flew to New York to meet with two of her colleagues and the owners of Flashtalking, which at the time was a small UK firm. “A few more weeks after that, we bought a few laptops at Best Buy and launched Flashtalking in the US.”
Navigating unknown territory was part and parcel of this new journey and despite both of them having young families and their own busy lives to manage, they pulled it off. “To this day, [Joe] continues to take on the less sexy stuff so I can stay focused on the parts of the job that continue to inspire me, drive my success and most importantly make me the happiest,” Betsy beams. Today, Flashtalking is a leading global independent primary ad server and analytics technology company.
At the heart of what makes Betsy brilliant is her incredible resilience, which can’t be credited to her professional accomplishments alone.
“I have a daughter who is a sophomore in high school who isn’t a fan of reading,” she recounts. One night, her daughter approaching her mother with an assigned book, one which she claimed changed her life. Reading passages out loud from celebrated Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, they both came to a thrilling realization.
“As she read each of the suggestions, she related each one to how I approach my career, my marriage, my values, my relationship with her and our family,” Betsy remembers. “She said that I do all these without having read the book. And, that she really benefits from knowing how much I love work and how much I love my work family and how she hopes that she has that one day too.”
Despite achieving the heights of career success, Betsy has never lost sight of what makes her unique. By using tenderness, warmth, and tenacity she opens the doors for a new kind of leadership, one that is caring and kind. And in the world of tech, it’s much needed.
As hardworking as Betsy is, she does admit finding joy in the more quiet moments of life. “Believe it or not, my most favorite place to visit is anywhere I can’t connect to WIFI,” she quips. “It’s the most freeing feeling to be totally disconnected from everything.”