A Swiss Army knife. That’s probably the best way to describe Michael Rabinowitz when he started CoEnterprise in 2010.Whichever role comes to mind when you think of a technology startup, Michael performed it, and with the utmost passion and determination.
“I was literally running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” he says. “It was whatever I needed to do to get to the next day and help the company take the next step. I just powered through and got the job done.”
Whether it was securing contracts, managing sales and partner relationships, invoicing and payments, or acting as the head of finance—to say Michael did everything under the sun is a bit of an understatement.
Over the years, as we began to experience rapid growth, he slowly started bringing on seasoned professionals to own those roles. During that time, he continued to run the sales department and acted as the face of the company, managing the relationship with IBM while still paying the bills, managing invoices, and developing training.
As the growth continued, his role continued to evolve. He slowly transitioned into that of a leadership one and worked to ensure everyone had the tools they needed to not only be successful, but thrive at their job. Today, it’s safe to say Michael is officially the visionary face of CoEnterprise and works hard to communicate COE’s mission both internally and externally.
“My comfort zone has always been taking action and getting the job done myself. But I’ve really had to teach myself over the years, as we’ve grown, to move away from that and become more of a leader and a mentor, while allowing others to lead and grow.”
Currently, his duties are more about determining how to best allocate resources so that we can stay true to our long-term goals and strategic vision while also being profitable and successful. He’s not running around trying to wear a million hats anymore, but he is wearing the hat of CEO.
Michael is an early riser and up by 4:30 AM and in the office by 6, an aspect of his day-to-day that he views as a big advantage.
“Getting to the office early allows me to get into deep thought and do a lot of my strategic thinking,” he says. “That’s the time when I make a lot of decisions and conduct a lot of analysis. It’s also when I feel the most creative so I like to build out content, both internal and customer presentations while the sun is coming up.”
After that, he typically spends the next portion of his day interacting with both employees and customers. A time he likes to use to understand their challenges and what he can do to eliminate them and help drive success.
Meeting with the sales and marketing teams is also a critical aspect of his day-to-day. During those meetings, he’ll gain a better understanding of how those areas of the business are performing within the company, who needs help, and what he can do to offer assistance.
“I’m constantly meeting with my leaders and executive team throughout the week to gauge the progress they’re making and seeing where I can help.”
Today, Michael is out of the office and travels only about 25% of the time—as opposed to the 90% when he first started the company. But the energy that comes from being in front of customers is something that will always be in his blood.
“I truly enjoy spending time with customers and listening to them,” he says. “Hearing about their challenges and successes helps me develop long-term strategies that pave the way for where our company is headed. It’s always extremely helpful.”
Because he still spends a lot of time with customers, he’s noticed some trends over the years and sees them as a huge opportunity for COE.
“Companies today are so paralyzed by politics and processes that making significant progress is an enormous challenge. But that’s what we can do for these companies—help them break through all that so they can get things done and take their business to new heights.”
Over the years, he’s not only witnessed COE help take other companies to the next level, but he’s seen the internal growth and the shaping of a culture that he’s extremely proud of today.
“I love how connected our culture is, and it’s not manufactured or fake,” he says. “Our people genuinely care about one another, their personal successes, and the company’s success. I think we’ve created a place where it’s okay for people to fail. It’s okay to make mistakes. As a leader, I want to encourage them to learn from those mistakes and get back up off the canvas and try again.”
After a long day, Michael often chats with his advisor and mentor, COE Chairman Simon Baitler.
“Through it all, I’ve always had him to lean on. We all need that type of person in our lives. We need to have someone to talk to when we’ve had a tough day or when we’re unsure of something when it comes to the business, it’s so critical.”
After all these years, though, the aspect of leading COE that he enjoys most is simply basking in the glow of his employees’ and customers’ successes.
“My favorite part of being a CEO is watching people grow and be successful,” he says. “Seeing people experience joy in what they’re doing is something that will never get old. Whether it be using Syncrofy, IBM, or Tableau solutions, it doesn’t matter. If we can affect people in a positive way, then I think at the end of the day we’ve done our job.”
That’s the CEO of COE.
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