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Don’t Accept the Status Quo (EP25)

During this episode, You Me and Your Top Three host, Gregg Garrett, speaks with Tracy-Ann Palmer, Vice President Global GTM, Strategy and Transformation at Rackspace and global technology executive who hails from South Africa. Tracy-Ann has worked with iconic tech brands that are known around the world. She is a humble leader who appreciates being pushed and encouraged to reach far beyond where she thinks she can reach. Tracy-Ann used her passion to found Midwest Technology Leaders and the non-profit We Build Character. Of course, Tracy-Ann talks about the importance of mentoring stemming from her “Top Three,” ranging from a caravan leader in Africa, to CEOs of tech companies, to the top tech executives in the federal government – all of whom helped her to never accept the status quo.

About Tracy-Ann Palmer

Tracy-Ann Palmer has over 25 years of experience in high-growth, global, technology driven businesses. She has been consistently recognized for her strong leadership and ability to help accelerate growth for companies. 

Tracy-Ann is currently Vice President Global GTM, Strategy and Transformation at Rackspace.  Rackspace is a leading provider of expertise and managed services across all major public and private cloud technologies.

Prior to joining Rackspace, Tracy-Ann held a variety of leadership roles in sales, channel and business operations at Cisco, Salesforce and in the start-up world including founding her own experiential marketing company that received numerous business awards. 

Since 2005 she has been a very active contributor to the community through numerous philanthropic efforts including serving on a variety of boards.  She has a strong passion for developing leaders and founded a non-profit “We Build Character” focused on building future leaders through executive mentoring programs.  In 2004, Tracy-Ann founded Midwest Technology Leaders, an annual executive IT event bringing together top IT leaders together focused on collaboration, innovation and excellence.

Show Highlights

Segment 1: Overview

2:03        Tracy-Ann Palmer – a global tech executive whose worked with iconic brands. (Cisco. Salesforce. Rackspace.)

3:17        A journey across continents and across industries.

Segment 2: The “Top Three”  

5:18        Tracy-Ann’s “Top Three”: Her Father – Work ethic. Discipline. Warrior.

6:16        Tracy-Ann’s “Top Three”: Mark Moritz – Believed in Tracy-Ann more than she believed in herself.

8:31        Tracy-Ann’s “Top Three”: Jane Sydlowski – Creative. Absolutely resilient. (Michigan Council of Women in Technology. AMI Strategies.)

11:16      The history of Midwest Technology Leaders (MTL).

14:08      Tracy-Ann’s “Top Three”: Teri Takai – Be deliberate about your career. Direct. Honest. Pragmatic.

15:22      “Surround yourself with people who aren’t necessarily like you.”

16:12      Honest and directness are key. “Are you open to coaching today” – David Behen.

19:46      Tracy-Ann’s “Top Three”: Phil Bertolini – Incorporating the business into IT. Career coaching.

Segment 3: Industry Disruption & Transformation  

22:18      We Build Character – providing structured, community-based leadership mentor programs to high-potential professionals.

25:29      The “absolutely invaluable” role of reverse mentorship.

28:10      “I cannot tell you what an impact this has had in my life” – a We Build Character Mentee.

34:01      Rackspace – a managed cloud computing company focused on mid-market organizations. (AWS. VMWare. Microsoft. SB.)

36:33      The fascinating facts about a cloud model: 1. There is always a lot of disruption. 2. The business model is very different.

39:05      In response to transformation – “I believe in looking externally for your answers – not in your industry.”

40:19      Disruption: “We’re the problem, or the opportunity – It’s all about consumerization.”

43:56      Learnings from transformation of the past – “As a transformation leader, you’re at risk.” (Billhighway.)

Segment 4: Wrapping Up

49:36      Advice to leaders – “Don’t accept the status quo.”

51:15      Advice to leaders – “Break our own patterns.”

52:04      Rackspace is transforming – watch the news!

52:38      Connect with Tracy-Ann, Rackspace, and We Build Character.  

Additional Information

Contact Tracy-Ann Palmer:

Contact Rackspace and We Build Character:

Contact Gregg Garrett:

Contact CGS Advisors:

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