Marketing maven Kasey Byrne is in the business of making an impression. With the likes of Microsoft, Shopify and Cisco singing their praises, API-tool provider Postman is leading the industry charge and Byrne is there to make sure everyone knows it.
Despite her Ivy League credentials, she credits raising four children with the skills she needs to get the leadership job done. Byrne sees her experience as a parent is completely relevant to her career and tries to lead with the same perspective that she parents - with mutual respect, enthusiasm, and maybe some humor.
In a Fearless Force interview, she spoke about a product launch debrief that was not going well despite Trello boards, flip charts and a bean bag that imbued the holder with permission to speak.
“There was about 15 of us...crowded around a table. It was hot. It was painful. It was a complete disaster,” Byrne recalls. “I had this flash of brilliance that we needed a time out.” That hard-won lesson learned through toddler trial and error saved the meeting. The time-out was exactly what everyone needed and people were able to attack the problem from a fresh perspective.
“I have a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Cornell University and I have an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management but the reason I knew we needed a timeout is that I’m a mom,” Byrne laughed.
When she thinks about what motivates her to succeed in her career, she admits that she feels a certain kinship with Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager. “She started out as a science officer and ended up the captain of a space ship!” she pointed out. Like Janeway, Byrne started out in the science-tech field and certainly isn’t limiting herself to what space travel is possible today.
More seriously, Byrne says she is motivated by her colleagues and the prospect of building something really special together with them. She observes that people in the tech field tend to be lifelong learners which is wonderful, challenging, and inspiring to be around which continuously pushes her to be her best.
When asked about what she struggles with in her work, Byrne says it is finding balance. She finds that at any given point, she can be a great leader, or a great team player, or a great mom, or a great friend, or a great spouse but very rarely more than one at a time. “I definitely try to give myself permission to be good at only one thing at a time,” Byrne said.
Postman is a startup in the API-first development space - their product helps developers work faster and smarter on APIs. Byrne began her career as a software engineer at the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Digital Equipment Corporation and it has served her well in her current position.
“Our product is quite technical,” Byrne said. “Our users are developers and technical leaders - that is, folks who are analytic, thoughtful, and practically allergic to marketing. I feel like I have to use all the parts of my brain at my job.”
Byrne is a big believer that trust is key when bringing out the best in her people. It’s easy to say but the hardest thing to do, she admits. But also very worth it. To those women who want to become leaders in technology, she urges them to stay technical and to keep learning.
“I have enormous curiosity about technical things, and regularly task myself with learning a new skill, even if it doesn’t directly apply to my current job,” Byrne stated. “Constantly learning forces me to be prepared to deal with the overwhelming amount of information that comes with marketing a technical product.”