“Now is not the time not to communicate,” Shawn Glinter, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pendant Biosciences Inc., reminded those who participated in a Thursday afternoon virtual workshop hosted by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC).
The topic was about leveraging boards of directors, advisory boards, and investors, but it also evolved into a robust discussion about related topics – everything from the federal “Paycheck Protection Program” that had just exhausted its initial funding a few hours earlier to the importance of maintaining a company’s culture and mood.
The NEC will be posting a recording of the event on its website.
For Glinter – we spotlighted him in this recent series on teknovation.biz (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), it’s a challenging time since all of the start-up’s R&D is shutdown with the isolation that is occurring across the globe, while he maintains a team of key people across the globe.
“I have called every investor in Pendant,” he said, telling them “where we are, what’s my plan, and how the team is doing. Email is not enough.” His proactive communication processes also include at least weekly conversations with the geographically-scattered team where Glinter says he’s totally honest. “Don’t lie.”
The importance of communication was also emphasized by Yvonne Sullivan, an angel investor and active mentor at the NEC who said the “biggest bug-a-boo” a CEO can make is not communicating.
“You’d be surprised how few of the start-ups I have invested in have contacted me,” Sullivan said, noting that investors like her are the most likely source of additional capital to pay salaries and expenses in challenging times like the current environment. “You need to keep your investors informed,” whether the news is good, bad or just an update,
Jorge Titinger, CEO of Titinger Consulting, moved to the Middle Tennessee region recently after successful stints as President and CEO of several California-based companies. He is also an active angel and reinforced the importance of communication specifically focused on the team.
“Mood is contagious,” Titinger reminded those viewing. “You need people to be at their best. Put an effort into sustaining the mood and culture” you have created within the all-important team.
On the core topic of leveraging advisory boards and those with fiduciary responsibilities, Glinter had some cogent advice.
“You have to make your advisory board work for you and with you and not against you,” he said.
Titinger discussed the composition of advisory boards, reminding the viewers that “competence is domain specific.” As such, Founders and CEOs should ensure that those they invite to join an advisory board “have the experience you want and need.” He added that an advisory board “might get you borrowed credibility” with investors if those members have actually invested in the company. “Danger, danger if they have not,” Titinger added.