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7 Questions on Leadership with Greg Noymer


Name: Greg Noymer


Title: VP, FP&A


Organisation: Locality


Greg Noymer lives in New York with his wife of almost a decade and 2 beautiful daughters. His formal education is in finance (undergrad) and accounting (MBA). He has worked closely with sales leaders and executives over the past 12 years in digital media and advertising technology, providing decision support and guidance at companies such as AOL, Yahoo, Ericsson Emodo and currently: Locality. Throughout his career, Greg has gained a broad spectrum of expertise including budgeting, forecasting, and financial modeling.


Being analytical and data-driven allows him to closely research and develop models to provide answers and insights. As a natural collaborator, Greg has the proven ability to build and foster effective working relationships with stakeholders at all levels, emphasizing an environment that is engaging, supportive, and interactive.


Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!


I hope Greg's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Cheers,

Jonno White



1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?


As a leader, I have found change management to be one of the biggest challenges. During my career within the digital advertising landscape, change has been omnipresent. Change can rear its head in multiple forms: M&A Activity, internal restructuring, launching new products and sunsetting old ones to name a few. What has helped me to confront change is to attempt to not take any of it personally (more often than not there's something bigger in the works - much bigger than my individual role or team). Aside from removing myself from the equation, natural curiosity has aided in navigating through change. I have made it a habit to ask enough questions to reach a comfortable understanding of why a specific change is occurring and what the expected outcomes are. As a finance professional, with specific regards to forecasting, understanding the state of the business today vs. the future expected state helps me to ground myself, structure my efforts in support, and also ensure that my team is aligned ready - as uncomfortable as it may seem at first. Throughout any change, my emphasis is geared towards communication and transparency. By sharing as much as possible as soon as the information is available, I know at the very least my team can trust me through what may turn out to be an ambiguous transition.


2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?


I have always kept my eyes and ears open for opportunities to better myself and grow in the workplace. Even without a formal leadership role, as an individual contributor I made it a point to showcase my expertise on a given topic to become a vocal thought leader. After building a rapport with leadership through those efforts and not being afraid to share my opinions (some of them have been unpopular), I was then able to build the case for why I should be in an official leadership role. I have been able to attain such positions through natural progression such as during my time at AOL where I had demonstrated a clear understanding of the topics I covered in addition to my own point of view which facilitated my growth from an analyst to senior manager overseeing a team of analysts. From there, I jumped into an individual contributor role as a director where I was able to showcase my leadership capabilities in a smaller organization but a more expanded role, working closely with the executive team. That experience then propelled me to want to continue my growth journey and take on a broader set of responsibilities in my current position. But to my original point, my career growth would have been stalled or looked very different had I not been open to and cognizant of the opportunities available to me in an implicit or explicit leadership capacity.


3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?


This is an area where I am continuing to develop. However, without a set schedule each day, there are a few consistencies that keep me on track and meeting expectations and deadlines. For starters, I know that I need to be up at the same time everyday to get my daughters to school. After that, I have a list of projects or deliverables that I either need to complete or show progress on. To ensure I have enough time for individual and team / cross-functional collaboration, I build enough slack in my schedule to accommodate meetings that I drive or meetings that I need to attend / actively participate in. Additionally, I know that I want to make sure I'm moving (enough) be it walking a few miles or enjoying a peloton class. Of course, I also like to spend time with my family which either marks the end of a workday, or a nice break in between blocks of work. These items (outside of school drop-offs) may fall at different times on a given day or in a given week (impacted by revenue updates, budget submissions, end of month processes) but as long as I have my goals and objectives laid out for the day, I worry less about doing specific tasks at specific times and am more focused on ensuring I have the ideal amount of mental/physical energy to approach a project or task. There may be times where I won't be able to wrap up a project or am waiting on additional information. While difficult, I make sure to manage expectations up and down the organizational chart so that no one is waiting on an update for me or worse - asking me why something is late (they'll be able to recalibrate their own expectations of me when I am transparent with the current status). In certain instances, running behind on a project may be unacceptable and when these arise, I have no problem working very late or getting an especially early start to my day, knowing that it is not the norm and how much my input is appreciated also helps to ease the pain of some lost hours of sleep.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?


Honesty is the best policy. This isn't anything new, but a concept I am constantly reminded of and one I actively practice. Specific to finance, if there's bad news to report, it's best to get in front of that to manage expectations and start to work on a rescue plan or offer solutions. Regarding team dynamics, how could I expect the most from my team if I'm keeping information to myself or not sharing why certain decisions are made? It's a rhetorical question. By sharing as much as necessary, as soon as possible, I am confident that I am fostering a collaborative environment and not making anyone feel unsettled by a big change all of a sudden.


5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?


"How Starbucks Changed My Life" by Michael Gates Gill. This book did not have a profound impact on my leadership per se, but did change my perspective on how to approach my career in the early days, especially when I was not in my ideal finance role. My interpretation of the story was that regardless of your role, you can have a positive impact. That made me wonder what professional impact I wanted to have and when I figured that out, I felt like I had it all figured out and regardless of role, I could more confidently forge my career path. Even in the first 4 years of my post-collegiate career, I was not a financial analyst (which I thought I had to be). However, raising my hand to tackle budget questions, help to analyze client trends, and make sure I have the right technical skills (think: MS Excel), I was poised to be qualified for a job in finance if given the opportunity. Fortunately, being vocal about my career goals ultimately led me to the start of my finance and leadership career when my (now) wife's best friend referred me for a sales operations position at AOL.


6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?


Get some rest and stay hydrated. It's not so much career advice as it is life advice. You can't expect to purposefully lead and motivate a team if you're not operating at 100%. This is most likely why you are urged to make sure your oxygen mask is on first before helping others (when you fly on a plane). Take care of yourself first, and then you'll be able to take care of your team even more capably. Aside from these basics, it's important to maintain your authenticity - remember who you are, remember what you stand for, and don't pretend to be something or someone you aren't. You can surely fake it 'til you make it...eventually though, the truth comes out.


7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?


Acting as a mentor has been a meaningful experience and seeing the fruits of my labor has been a real treat. I still keep in contact with my analysts from old roles and companies. Hearing from them about their current successes (and challenges) makes me feel appreciated. For one, they still want to have a relationship with me which is obviously a positive. Moreover, to hear from them that I helped them in their career truly warms my heart (what's even better is when they inquire about open roles at my new company, re-iterating the fact that when possible: you choose your manager, not your company). In the moment, while leading a team, this rosy picture may not be fully developed. But letting some time pass after moving on, taking a step back to reflect, it's humbling to know that some of the daily work-induced stress coupled with remembering the laughable moments along the way (and believe me - laughing helps) makes being a leader so worth it.

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