Inspiring future leaders: An interview with Taulia’s Darcy Douglas
Darcy Douglas, Taulia’s Vice President of Professional Services, has worked for Taulia since 2011. Her considerable achievements include founding the Leadership Initiative for Taulia (LIFT) program, as well as creating and running the Taulia Leadership Program (TLP) last year. Read on to find out how Darcy is inspring more future leaders at Taulia.
Darcy Douglas, Taulia’s Vice President of Professional Services, has worked for Taulia since 2011. Her considerable achievements include founding the Leadership Initiative for Taulia (LIFT) program, as well as creating and running the Taulia Leadership Program (TLP) last year.
With over 20 years’ experience of leading Professional Services teams, Darcy oversees a team of Project Managers and Project Consultants who implement and deliver Taulia’s solutions to clients. In her free time Darcy enjoys being in the mountains of Utah, with all the activities those surroundings provide.
When did you start working at Taulia?
I started with Taulia over nine years ago – I was employee number 12, and I started the Professional Services department from the ground up. To start with, it was about doing whatever was needed to get customers installed, and then I put the processes, templates and methodology in place that I felt were appropriate for Taulia. As the company has grown, it’s been very rewarding to look back and know that there is something I started.
Every time I interview someone or welcome them to Taulia, I tell them that Taulia is a place where the power to create something is very strong. If you have an idea, bring it up and try it out – people will usually say yes, and they’ll have your back if you fail, but your idea might turn into something amazing.
What is it like to be a woman in supply chain finance?
When you are involved in the financial world, it can be a very male dominated space – but there’s definitely a strong network of women in this area who are here to support other women as they come up into leadership roles. I’ve had women from other organizations come and speak to the Taulia LIFT team so I can give everyone visibility over how many strong women there are in our space. I have also spoken at industry-leading events such as Women in Technology International (WITI) and Women in P2P about the things I’ve done to advance my career, and the things people should consider as they progress.
What does mentoring mean to you?
I’ve mentored over 50 women during the course of my career – in fact, if I were to pick my dream job, it would be Chief Mentoring Officer. One of the speakers for LIFT was a woman who said that you should always have one hand reaching forward and advancing your career, but the other one should be reaching back and pulling another woman along with you. That’s what I’ve tried to do in my career.
Creating the mentoring program at Taulia is something I initially did to help women along, and then we expanded it to include men. Karen Riley, advisor to Taulia’s Board of Directors, was the very first speaker on the program. After the meeting I asked if she would be my mentor, which resulted in a six-year relationship where she has met with me every week. With her encouragement I set out to become a VP, and I give her a lot of credit for helping me get to that position. So having a mentor has made all the difference in my life and career as well.
What prompted you to start Taulia’s Leadership Program?
When I got to the executive table, I was spot on when it came to running Professional Services – nobody could do my job better than me. Then the CEO said things like, “How shall we spend $2 million? Write a business plan,” and I realized that I had been so focused on running my team that I hadn’t focused enough on the rest of the organization.
That’s why I started the Taulia Leadership Program – I wanted to take the people who are showing promise as future leaders and teach them all about the organization, so that when they get to the table they are ready to make those decisions.
Is it difficult to select the right people for the program?
It is – there are a lot of great people at Taulia. I purposely made the selection process very challenging, but even so it is difficult to pick the right applicants – I appointed a selection committee, because I didn’t want to be biased towards people on my team.
The people who are selected for the program have a commitment to Taulia; they show a lot of ambition and willingness to learn. The five people we picked in year one have really bonded – they had fun on the program and rely on each other, and other people in the company see that and can’t wait to apply.
How important is it to empower others within the organization?
I run a department that includes several different organizations, with some very strong leaders who run those organizations for me. Six months ago my CEO asked me to step away from all of it to manage another Taulia strategic initiative – but because I had these strong leaders, the next day they were in place running everything and allowing me to focus on this new initiative.
I give a lot of talks on delegation and how important it is to bring people up to work at your level. I tell my managers to delegate 100% of their tasks – it may sound impossible, but if you can bring people up to your level it frees you up to do new things and be more strategic, which can then help you get to your next position.
My favorite piece of advice to any woman in business is to get a housekeeper – spend time with your family, do some crafts or whatever makes you happy, but don’t spend one more minute cleaning your house!