Betsy Stumme joined TPG five years ago this month to oversee strategic planning and execution, change management, business transformation, and process improvement. Today, she is part of our First Team leadership group. Happy anniversary, Betsy!
[Responses were edited for length and clarity.]
TPG is intentional about building leaders within the company. Can you talk about some of the education and training you receive, as a member of our First Team?
There are a few things about leadership training at TPG that, I think, make it unique and powerful. First, there is a variety – there is training I get as a member of First Team, but there is also supplemental training that all leaders complete, such as that focused on diversity and inclusion, that is really engaging and thought-provoking.
Second, the leadership training is done as a First Team cohort, meaning that I’m going through it together with all of my peers. We all come away with a common set of knowledge, language, and tools with which we can support each other.
Lastly, and I think this is really important, the training we learn in one year builds upon the training we received in the prior year. TPG is not a “flavor of the month” type of organization. I appreciate that our company selects tried and proven tools and methods, trains on them, and then comes back to them in future trainings. None of our trainings are “one-and-done.” We come back to the same concepts (e.g., conflict resolution, creating a culture of accountability, DiSC, and active listening) and reemphasize them and explore them in additional ways to further strengthen us as leaders.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a company leader within the past few years?
I’m responsible for our facilities and the safety of our employees within them. So, naturally, COVID brought an extra level of challenge – keeping on top of all of the directives and guidance coming from the states we operate in as well as the health authorities, figuring out how to make our workspace as safe as we could for our employees, and forming a plan for what to do when the inevitable exposure occurred. At TPG, we support each other and collaborate, so I didn’t have to go through any of that alone. We quickly formed a fantastic team of HR and operational leaders with diverse viewpoints and we met regularly throughout those first couple of years, figuring things out together.
How do you feel that TPG leads the way within our industry in employee management, leadership, recruitment and retainment, etc.?
One thing I love about TPG is that we don’t just look for the skills someone brings to their role – we look at the whole person. Do they fit our core values? Do they “Play Well With Others” and support the team? Are they “Curious” and willing to listen, learn more, and seek to understand? We tend to attract and retain the individuals who fit our core values because TPG aligns with who they are and what they value as people.
Something else that I think is really cool is how we use tools like DiSC and the Clifton Strengths at TPG. Every new employee takes a set of assessments, which help them learn more about themselves – what their preferred behavioral style is, how they think, how they make decisions, what motivates them, etc. As an employee, it’s helpful for me to use this information to make me more aware of my blind spots. As a leader, it helps me know more about where my team members’ strengths are and how they prefer to engage with me and with others.
In terms of leadership, what do you feel are your strengths?
I think I’m objective. I try to look at situations from multiple angles, since people, and situations, are multi-dimensional. I’m also value-focused – are we doing the “right” things and delivering the best value to our clients and our employees for the effort we’re expending? Lastly, while I like to have input, I also really like to get input – diverse voices and perspectives lead to the best decisions for TPG and our clients.
What has been your leadership focus for the year?
In 2023, we have expanded our operations team to include specific roles focused on innovation, client and employee experience, value, and scale. I’m incredibly excited about the team we’ve formed and the work we’ll be doing. We’ve just started, so it’s too early to say too much, but starting to ideate with this team and make plans has been invigorating. Multiple times a day I think about how lucky I am to get to work with and lead such great people and exciting initiatives. It inspires me to double down on my own leadership development to make sure I am being the best leader I can be for my team members and for TPG.
What is one important leadership lesson you’ve learned during your time at TPG?
I’m very fortunate to work for Doreen Barnhouse, TPG’s Executive Vice President of Operations. Doreen and I think about and approach things really differently. She’s decisive where I can be deliberative. She’s got an eye for beauty and design, where I focus on function. She brings spontaneity whereas I lean towards structure. Through working with Doreen, I get challenged in the very best way to open my eyes, get out of my own head, and see things more holistically. That has really helped me to grow as a leader and a human being.
Which core value resonates with you most clearly, from a leadership perspective?
They are all so great, and so much a part of who we are at TPG. I think the one that resonates most with me is “Own It.” I want my team, my peers, TPG as a whole, and our larger community of clients and partners to be able to count on my doing what I say I’m going to do and following through on what I’ve committed to them. I appreciate that this sense of ownership is something that TPGers as a whole embrace, so that we can all count on each other to deliver what we say we will.
Have questions, comments, or interested in connecting with Betsy? Feel free to reach out at email@example.com.