The Digitize.AI team is a driven, creative bunch with an almost compulsive need to solve huge, complex problems. This "17 Questions" series is our way of giving you an inside look at our quirky culture and the people shaping it. One key takeaway: apparently our people love woodworking.Our VP Customer Success, Pat Morrell, has been with Digitize since its founding. Here he answers 17 questions about himself, discussing hobbies, leadership style, and his hopes for Digitize. Enjoy!
1. What does success look like to you?
I'm home for dinner every day, and my family is excited when I get there.
2. What's your go-to for inspiration?
Talking to a friend or another entrepreneur about anything other than work. I've found that giving my work brain a break with relaxed conversation revitalizes me and leads to unexpected dot-connecting between ideas.
3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Running, reading, listening to music and podcasts, squeezing in an adult conversation with friends while we chase our toddlers.
4. What's one skill you'd love to master?
Woodworking. On a lark I built an adirondack chair with borrowed tools during my senior year of college, and eventually I would love to get back to that.
5. What keeps you up at night?
Personally, the drive to be the best dad, husband, and friend that I can/should be.
Professionally, the drive to 1) be as attuned to our clients’ needs as we can/should be, and to 2) take full advantage of the opportunity we have to solve real problems.
6. What have you learned this year that is a surprise?
Having two kids under the age of three is actually a great time in life to launch a company. The logistical and emotional demands that come with fatherhood compel me to be a better advance planner and communicator—with my co-founders, and with my family. I’m not perfect, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I’m better at this juggling act than I expected to be.
7. Where were you working before Digitize.AI?
I’ve worked in sales, campaign politics, and also spent a combined 8 years at two NC-based startups. Most recently I ran the inside sales team at Sealed Air. I also founded a specialty eCommerce company in 2014, but sold a majority interest in that business to focus 100% on Digitize.AI.
8. What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?
How we learn from clients and incorporate those lessons into our solutions, how we tell our story, and how we live our values in and out of the office to sustain the culture we founded the company on.
9. What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self? What do you think you would like to tell your current self 10 years from now?
To 20-year-old-self: Keep taking interesting jobs and pursuing unique (weird?) opportunities, even if they mean changing roles and industries—the growth is worth it. And start doing yoga (your 30-something flexibility sucks).
To 10-years-from-now self: Stop overplanning. Have hard goals, but malleable tactics. And enjoy yourself.
10. What do you want for the employees of this company?
That they build the skills and reputations to be courted by other companies that would offer them a king’s ransom, but that they’d respectfully turn down opportunities because they enjoy being a part of our team, they love living our culture and values, and they just feel good and fulfilled by using A.I. to help make the American healthcare system just a little bit better.
11. Night owl or early riser?
Night owl. That 11 p.m. airing of Road House on TNT isn’t going to watch itself.
12. What's your favorite book of all time?
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. I try to re-read this every 2 years or so. It has everything.
13. What's the best thing that happened to you last week?
My 2.5-year-old daughter Nina started potty training and our family is still intact.
14. Biggest fear?
Letting myself be dishonest.
15. What's the best way to start your day?
5:30 a.m. wake up —> long run —> walk dog —> meditation —> coffee —> make breakfast for my kids and wife —> eat said breakfast with my kids and wife —> drive from Southpark to Uptown, catching every green light and listening to NPR (when they’re not running a fundraising campaign).
16. What are some things that you've had to unlearn?
When is the right time to lose my temper (answer: it’s never).
17. What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?
Seeing what kind of person and leader I am 10 years from now, and if I’ve kept the promises I’ve made to myself, my family, and our team.