“You Can Mold a Skillset But You Can’t Mold a Passion”

In early November, Redeam CEO Melanie Meador recorded a podcast interview with Roland Siebelink, host of ScaleUp Allies. Roland, a Silicon Valley coach to hypergrowth tech companies, immediately understood Redeam as a middleware platform and ecosystem solution between the supply and demand of the Things To Do sector of the travel industry. He asked Melanie deep questions about the company, her vision, how she’s bringing it to market, and how she’s transformed the company and its culture from what its original founders created to what it is today. As Roland recounted in his email unveiling his interview with Melanie:

“I know that all of us are probably frustrated with our slow recovery from this pandemic. Like most of you, I hate not being able to travel. However, this week I got a good reminder that the travel industry always bounces back from hard times. Also, the travel industry always comes back better than before.

I heard those words of wisdom during my conversation with Redeam CEO Melanie Meador. Redeam provides real-time booking and redemption connectivity between operators, resellers, and ticketing systems of tourist attractions, reducing the friction of the traveler’s guest experience. The company has done a brilliant job of creating value for both the supply side and the demand side of the travel industry.

In addition to hearing how Redeam solves a pain point in the travel industry, Melanie had great insight on several topics. In 2018, she was put in the unique position of being a successor CEO. She has had several challenges since then and has done an incredible job of meeting them head-on.

During our talk, Melanie spoke about how she rebuilt the executive team at Redeam. She also discussed the importance of a new CEO being able to establish a culture. One thing that stood out to me was her belief that the job of a CEO is to bring in experts and give them a voice. I thought it was a great reminder to, as Melanie put it, “intentionally hire people that are smarter than you.”

One phrase Melanie used multiple times during our talk was “emotional intelligence.” She related that to CEOs having a willingness to learn from others. She also mentioned how CEOs must be able to suppress their ego. Personally, I think this is something that more experienced CEOs tend to have. Of course, the sooner younger CEOs learn it, the better off they’ll be.

With regard to hiring team members, Melanie had two points I found fascinating. First, the company is a big believer in having a diverse workforce. That means diversity in age, race, gender, and even experience. Second, Melanie looks at personal qualities more than skillset or experience. She says you can mold someone for a specific skill set but you can’t mold someone to be a good team player—or to have passion.

By listening to the full podcast, you’ll hear Melanie speak in great detail about these topics and more. She even shares a list of activities Redeam does to maintain company culture while everyone is working remotely. I thought she was ahead of the curve in so many areas. Drop me a line if you feel the same after listening to our conversation.”

If you’d like to listen to the podcast or read its transcript, visit the dedicated podcast page on the Midstage Institute website.

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