Name: Gary Skraba
LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garyskraba/
Executive Network Member Since (Year): 2015
Newly-Landed Position & Company: Chief Financial Officer, Pasadena Federal Credit Union
Prior to landing your new position, were you currently working or in-transition? I split my time between working as the Chief Marketing Officer at a re-startup (Playmaker Nutrition) and in-transition with other potential opportunities.
How did you get connected to the company where you landed your new role? For many years before my transition, I worked closely with the Chief Lending Officer at PFCU: she recommended me to the CEO when a good-fitting position opened.
In your estimation, what allowed you to stand-out during the interview process? Preparation and being myself, which sometimes were in conflict during prior interviews, i.e., I often over-prepared for an interview and would then enter an interview with a mind full of facts/strategies/ideas that poured out during the interview, resulting in answering five questions at one time rather than the one question that was asked. When I instead relaxed and was myself, which is typically more mindful and an in-the-moment approach, I had much greater success.
If you could give an in-transition executive any piece of advice, what would it be? First, be patient and avoid self-criticism: it’s too easy to criticize yourself when you are not as successful as hoped during the transition period. Stay confident in yourself and in your past successes, and be positive with yourself and with the opportunities that each day holds. It’s a long, long process, most likely more than twice as long as you would expect, and every bit of patience and self-care makes a huge difference through the marathon.
Second, consider getting advice from a coach and from friends/colleagues, but doing so in discerning manner. For example, I hired a highly-recommended coach whose values we appeared to share, but only received generic information and programs, rather than his listening to me and understanding what I was doing/thinking; the money I paid upfront was completely wasted. On the other hand, I later hired another coach who tailored his coaching to my skills and mindset, and this made all of the difference. It’s important to discern the advice that you are receiving and distilling it to what it is effective for you, throwing out the rest and not getting overwhelmed with the extensive volume of advice, some of which will actually be contradictory and potentially slows you down.
Bonus Question: What events and/or resources offered by the Executive Network have helped enhance your career? I mainly attended McDermott & Bull roundtables and events: I remain tremendously grateful to Matt, Emily, and Mallory for their efforts and supportive work. If you get the opportunity to connect with Chris Lord in the Sales & Marketing roundtables, you’ll find yourself more focused, more energized, and much happier regarding the transition / transformation in your career. Lastly, use all of the extensive resources that McDermott & Bull provide, including the search list and the partnerships with other organizations. McDermott & Bull was invaluable in helping me throughout the transition period: immerse yourself with this tremendous organization.