Jaimie: Well my guest on the podcast today is Leisha Major. Now Leisha is a change maker, helping businesses explore better ways through IT solutions. Leisha has more than 25 years of experience in it. And she's enthusiastic about making a positive difference in how customers operate their businesses. She runs The POP Team based out of Sydney, Australia with her husband, Peter, and they are a business that prides itself on family values innovation and connection. Leisha is generous with her energy curious to find the right solution and is determined to find the best way forward. Now when she's not working, you can find Leisha with her beautiful family or in a body of water swimming. She helps growing businesses by being their IT team. They keep their customers it up to speed and The POP Team becomes part of your business. Now Leisha passionately leads a team of IT experts to ensure that their staff and customers are always valued and they are always learning and they will always go above and beyond and just to top it off. Leisha has a Bachelor of information systems and a Master of Information Systems and various certifications in Salesforce and Viva CRM. Leisha, welcome to Pitch Perfect.
Leisha: Thank you so much, Jaimie, what a beautiful introduction. It's celebrating me so yes.
Jaimie: Well, it's a very impressive bio and I should also mention how you came into my world because we are co authors of a book. We wrote a chapter each in the book called Ignite, which was organised by the Ausmumpreneur team and we met at the launch and I love that because I didn't actually wasn't 100% sure I was gonna go that night and just by going, you know, the world's first you know, just put us in contact with each other and it's so great. You're now in PR club. So many questions to ask you because we don't really get a lot of one on one time. But, you know, can you share with us first of all, how we're a little bit about your journey in the IT industry? And and how you became a change maker in in helping so many businesses at IT solutions?
Leisha: So after my Bachelor of information systems, I went to the workforce and I was grateful to start my journey at Pfizer where I was part of a team implementing a new CRM system. So this was way back in nine like back in the early phases.
Jaimie: Pfizer as in the vaccination company?
Leisha: Well, yeah, the pharmaceutical company so yeah, yeah, that's right. So I found myself on the Help Desk assisting their sales reps, particularly some of those seasoned met ones that were very there. So it was getting them accustomed to that new technology. So that experience taught me the profound impact that it can have when it's thoughtfully deployed. So after Pfizer I moved over to aro pharmaceuticals. And there was a sign in it and especially an arrow that Nothing ever stays the same. And that was really true. So we were always consistently pushing the boundaries on how we could make it work best for Arrow and help like make the best out of it. Then I moved into a consultancy role for implementing various the CRM system so Viva and Salesforce for various pharmaceutical companies. So you can see there's a pharmaceutical theme there. What I know what I really noticed was that initial enthusiasm for the new system, the new system is going to change everything. It's going to be fantastic. And then when people realise that it was their systems that they knew on an adrenaline are no it's not going to be me or that somebody else is that real transition phase. That's when I really found my calling for being a change maker and really helping people go from this was the old way and then this is the new way and what's in it for me. And my primary focus has always been the end user and that who is actually going to use it, whether it's their email, CRM system or their website, it's never it's always about what people's most comfortable choice is. So it's not about what I choose for them, what are they comfortable and how we can improve their experience and how can it be improved. So those are those always those questions that I'm always asking our customers on? What can we do differently and how, what is what is going to bring bring the biggest impact for you? So then, in 2008, we started the POC team, and we recognise that the small growing small, growing to small businesses and medium sized businesses couldn't often couldn't afford a full time IT manager and we focused on identifying a customer's needs and providing that most efficient and practical IT solution that will be consistently used and maximising the benefit for our customers. So yeah
Jaimie: I love them. So I guess like 25 years experience in it, I can just imagine you've witnessed so many changes in the industry. So how do you kind of adapt these changes in a really fast paced world and then adapt those changes to sort of benefit your clients?
Leisha: So we have a saying that we will always be learning so in the rapid changing landscape of technology, that means we're always constantly innovating and we are always looking to stay ahead for our customers. So I guess a good example of the change in the industry has been 15 years ago, cloud computing was just a concept and hesitant that businesses were really really hesitant to move away from their servers or their in on have in house premise service systems. And then we had to that whole constant education and guiding them to why is it benefit so it's that constant education and communication on the benefits. So when they realise that then they move to the cloud that they had those greater feature sets and that processing power that they would have had been only tied to being on prem on premise, then they they realised the benefit of it. So then that's where we did. And so it's a real we're really in a really interesting period of time right now. And it feels like exactly that 15 years ago with cybersecurity and generative AI. So there are so many different possibilities and it's that same sort of energy that was with cloud computing that is now being experienced with cybersecurity and AI so there is always the malicious actors, the people that are looking out for where you are your weakest linked in all of your systems. So that's where we're at the top team are always thinking about how we can best serve our customers. And instead of being reactive, we're being proactive, like always looking at those emerging changes in it.
Jaimie: Yeah, I mean, gosh, it's so funny hearing you say about the cloud, because it's just such a common IT term now. But it wasn't really that long ago when the cloud was all a new concept. And, gosh, it just goes to show how fast paced the IT world is. I want to ask you about collaboration because you're you and I collaborated on a book together and I'm firm believer in collaboration being a big key to success. So how do you and your husband Peter manage running the pop team together, while also sort of maintaining a balance between work and family?
Leisha: Well, Peter and I met 21 years ago at Arrow, and we worked literally three meters apart. We kept our office romance really under wraps. Really got engaged. I mean, until we got engaged, and we work actually better together. And then apart so and when we when we hit roadblocks or we need advice, we always turn to each other and we're very eager to help each other so we very keeps we complement each other so well in the business. So Peters really great at that strategy piece, and that's why he's our virtual it and that's why virtual CIO and then that's why I'm really great at that operational in that tactical execution. As for the balance between work and families, I often say it's more like a river. We're both in it together. We're all heading towards the sea. So that common goal and I love my family and I love working so it doesn't feel like that harsh divide between the two of them.
Jaimie: I love that because my three year old is very switched on and he has he's getting into this habit at the moment where he keeps saying even this morning, oh, you have to go to work. You have to go to work. And I just turned in this morning and I said I love work, and I love you. And it was just like this moment of realisation on his face. Because I didn't want him to think that I work was a negative term and all that sort of thing. But it is a struggle, especially as a working parent. And so you're also a swimmer and I am you know you talk about how you prioritise time with your family. So how do your personal pursuits contribute to work? They do contribute? I'm assuming they do. How do they contribute to your success in the IT industry?
Leisha: Well, I love ocean swimming. So ocean swimming is something magical of being able to focus on my breath. My stroke and just being in the water. I only took up swimming, when I turned 40 and the discipline that it takes to be able to, like swim, and I've swam, I think up to three kilometers in different competitions. And it's always been pushing forward so there's just something about being that border of there is nothing else there is nothing else and that has really had a real profound impact on the way that that focus and determination is how I provide it back to our customers of really focusing on what their needs are and how we then can help it so however I had fears about ocean swimming.
Jaimie: The sharks?
Leisha: No. I had fear of being crushed by a wave or by jellyfish getting attacked. So there's like…
Jaimie: You're worried about jellyfish, but not sharks?
Leisha: No, but so. But, but there was one time when we were swimming out a criminal law because I swim around shark Island. And we I was on the the conditions had worsen but we didn't know that they had worse than when we started out. So we were swimming really really far out. And then all of a sudden, I realised we were on the wrong side of the shark nets. And then the alarm that goes off and I was like alarm ease. Oh what's that the mom and I'm swimming with other people and they got nothing, almost nothing at all. And then it turned out that it was the Shark’s alarm that had gone off. And there was a surfer that had got his little board nipped and then yeah in that so maybe I should be a bit more fearful of sharks but I never thought that I would ever be like would ever been an incident where there has been sharks. So and that really reminds so the way that it ties back into it. It really reminds me the misconception of cybersecurity. Everybody thinks especially in the small to medium sized business. Oh, it's not going to happen to me. They've bigger fish to fry the officers than many banks. But it's the smaller ones just like I never thought that a shark would. I'd be in the water where there's sharks. You just it's that whole you never know when that few might actually really happen. So it's yeah, that navigation of a two.
Jaimie: Wow, I love that. So now were you scared of sharks after that experience?
Leisha: Not really. I still I still plays in the back of my mind and I've heard other people's experience but still, if it was meant to be my time it was meant to be my time and I and I love the ocean so much.
Jaimie: That’s good. So hopefully that was that's a once in a lifetime thing anyway, I mean, surely that won’t happened to you twice. So hearing you speak Leisha and you know the time that I met you as well, it's really obvious that you have a huge commitment to your staff and your customers. Have you got any stories that really, I guess, exemplify putting on the spot here but exemplifies the dedication the positive impact that you have on your staff and customers?
Leisha: So we we have really long term customers and I guess that's a real testament to the way that we work so we had one of our customers right at the beginning wanted a part time and IT manager and a part time IT. They're an American company, they have it on the East Coast, and they couldn't find anybody it locally. And that timezone of being able to get help overseas is just like a killer that you can't wait. When something is broken in there. So we became their IT team and that real liaison between the US and here in Sydney, and we educated them on cloud and again, took them on that journey, help them implement Salesforce and they were a real office centric business. Like everybody always came into the office, everybody was always there. So we've been pretty much remote first since 2016. So we've always been able to navigate and build a really strong it culture in the pop team have really been connected. So when COVID hits this customer, we were able to really show how to build that connection, how to build that collaboration, and then just keep on working. And because we've been there for so long, it's always the small tasks. It's always the there that always goes above and beyond feelings that we keep on providing. And it's just a testament to how we run business and we're just included in the office parties that offer celebrations and even their awards night as well. So, yes,
Jaimie: I love it. You can just see it and hear it in your voice and seeing your face light up talking about it. One other question I want to ask you, and I'm putting you on the spot here, but I saw some images. I was in London when Ausmumpreneur conference, and I, Ausmumpreneur awards were on this year in 2023. And I saw photos of you mixing with people and you had some sort of anecdotes and stories of women that you've met that really changed your life, your career. Is that something which you have just recently placed importance on that's networking and going to events and meeting you know, even like our book launch, you know, we all were strangers, and now we've got probably lifelong friendships and business relationships. Do you think that's really important as a business owner to put yourself out there and attend these types of events?
Leisha: Ah, I've got goosebumps just thinking about all of the beautiful connections that I've made in there. So in 2021, I think the second round of COVID I really did a real big push forward to find my people and find different connections. So I have different sets of groups and each one has enriched me and made me a better person and a bit of business as well. And also Mum, I'm still writing the high like, I don't know if you've been noticing on their Instagram, everybody's writing the high and this year. This is my second year of doing awesome. And also mom has given me so much i i came into Usman last year kicking and screaming. Somebody recommended me to do the awards, and I was just like, I don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to entering the thing. And then I my children wrote most of my words that first time and it was so interesting hearing their words of what I do and all of the different advice that I provide. I've like that it was in your head than it is in real life.
So if you're overthinking something, just do it and I was just so so shocked because I think one of the questions was what would be the advice that you would give to somebody who's starting out in business and I was just really shocked at how much my again that that swimming Enos between family and business of how much they hear inside it. So that first award, I also went to the conference. I was positive that I was going to win. But then that awards and meeting all of the people through the conference. That's where the magic is the award tonight is a very low light. Yeah. All of those different people when they got up and when they did win, and I know why they won why I didn't win. You had the magic of the room supporting you. And then this year 2023 Ausmum was just next level, like it was just the speaker's. Every single speaker from I'm going to the queen of acknowledgment, Natasha I can't remember her name just blew me with why with hers. I've already taken away how I do my acknowledgement to country of just taking it and making it more personal and as opposed to something that I recite. I've taken it and made it more meaningful to me so and then there was cheeky Kay Christina Carlson. And she just blew me away of dreaming big and sometimes you feel like because when you get caught up in the day to day doing of stuff like you have to send out the invoices you have to chase your team up on them doing their tasks, just stepping back and dreaming big and knowing that just having that power of the 200 women all in that room just was electrifying. Like it was just like it was just every single speaker just with less there. I'm not even giving them all justice. Every single one I was like, wow. And then sorry. And then just one last thing about this year was extra special because I had all of the Ignite co authors.
Jaimie: Except for me. I was in London.
Leisha: I know. So that magic of being able to see and meet and it was so funny. I think it was MIT male Pierre, she I recognised the voice first and I was like, I know that voice. Why do I know that voice because we've done all those zoom sessions. It was just there is just something special. Our Ignite really ignites my heart. So yes, amazing.
Jaimie: And of course you wouldn't be here on this podcast today. If it wasn't for that Ausmumpreneur world being part of that book. It's amazing how the universe works that way.
Leisha: And the one thing that was so special about our Ignite experience when we met was the family connection. So a lot of the people brought all of their children together. And again, they brought it again to Ausmum and just that whole, you can do it all I feel you can do it all with your family, have the passion for work and still be a great entrepreneur. And yeah.
Jaimie: Yeah, and I love that. You know, it's funny, because I'm only a fairly recent mom, my kids are three and four. And I'm 41. So I think for most of my adult life, I haven't been a mom. And I remember last year going to the awards, and I saw so many women with their babies and toddlers attending this evening event. And my natural instinct was to go, why are they here with their kids, and then like it was a long night and after as the night went on, I just sort of watched them and thought actually, this is amazing. But the fact that they're here and they're having a great time, actually is changing our opinions and our attitudes about having kids and and just the absolute absolute epitome of just juggling, you know, a business and parenthood and it's just now becoming the norm and I love how they really foster that environment. Katie and Peace, the Ausmpreneur sisters who we've started that movement, it's really quite incredible, isn't it?
Leisha: Oh, yeah, absolutely can't sing it enough. And so many older children came as well like that teenager that tween teenager year, this year, which was different a bit different from last year. And the like, you could just see the pride in their moms like the moms have done hard. things and they want so it was just that whole being able to celebrate as opposed to something. Oh, this is just something that I do. Oh, yes. But here it was dislike celebrations.
Jaimie: So yeah. I love that. Leisha, thank you so much for coming on to Pitch Perfect. It's been incredible to get to know you this year and now you're in PR club you one of our annual members. And we'll go you know, hopefully your story. I know your story has inspired so many people and thank you so much.
Leisha: Thank you, Jaimie and yeah, really, really appreciated for that connection. And yeah, and I can't say enough about PR club. I am your biggest fan. And your PR club gives actionable tasks every time that we meet your guest speakers blow my mind. And yes, everybody joined PR clubs.
Jaimie: Yeah, thanks, PR club.com.au. We could keep talking about that forever, but we better go thanks.
Leisha: Thank you so much.