Welcome to the 6 a.m. CFO, where finance chiefs share how they jump-start their days and engage with the tasks that are in front of them.
Today, Constant Contact’s Michael Pellegrino shares why it is important to be a decisive leader, his love of the outdoors and fly fishing, and what the Boston Bruins have to do with his favorite number.
- Constant Contact is a digital marketing and automation platform that helps small businesses all over the world get more customers, communicate with them effectively, and grow.
- Founded: 1995
- Size: 1,000 employees
Walk us through your normal workday morning routine: My typical day starts early. My dog, Bozeman, is usually waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs for his breakfast, then I usually hit the Peloton for a morning ride, or if the weather is nice (not always a given here in New England), I go for a run.
I find that exercise in the morning is a good way to get that first victory of the day. Then I stop at Dunkin’ for a large coffee on my drive into the office, which is usually spent listening to CNBC while sitting in Boston traffic.
How do you structure your first few hours after you log on at work? My first few hours are usually spent catching up on overnight emails and reviewing our daily metric dashboards.
We are a company that prides itself on data and using data to inform everything we do, so I think it is important to take time each morning to review the numbers. That will typically prompt further conversation and discussion with my leadership team and functional leads across the business.
Favorite quote or mantra: “The choices we make dictate the life we lead; to thine own self be true.”
That was a line from an old Danny DeVito movie, and it can probably be sourced to someone else prior to that, but I give the credit to my mother. I first heard it from her when I was younger, and I’ve carried it with me ever since. She would remind me of it often, and she still does to this day.
Every decision we make in life — big decisions, small decisions, decisions we make early in life and decisions we continue to make as adults — they all come together to define who we are and dictate the kind of life we ultimately lead.
Favorite leadership lesson: An old lesson that I love, and that I was just recently reminded of by a colleague of mine is, “The road is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.”
You have to be decisive. That doesn’t mean being reckless. Gather information, gather data, understand which decisions are permanent and which decisions are reversible, then make thoughtful, educated decisions. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Identify them, learn from them, correct them.
Don’t end up a flat squirrel.
Something about me that you wouldn’t know from my business bio: I love the outdoors. I love to fly fish. I really enjoy the peacefulness and serenity that comes with being out on a river.
We all live hectic and busy lives, with work and family and commitments. It's always good to slow down when you can, go out into the woods, find a river, and enjoy the quiet of nature.
What was the last job you did at your company that fell outside your traditional scope of work? I’ve been known every now and then to help a co-worker having computer issues by offering the tried-and-true IT advice of turning their computer off and on.
Favorite number: The number 4 has always been a favorite of mine.
Growing up playing hockey and as a die-hard Bruins fan, Bobby Orr’s iconic number 4 is why I wore that number myself. And with a CEO who is from Toronto and a deprived Leafs fan, that keeps hockey season a bit more entertaining around the office.
The most noteworthy items in your workspace: I have a framed quote in my office, “You can’t scare me, I have two daughters.”
Girl dads out there know what I mean. It may sound cliché, but kids have a funny way of keeping you grounded and humble. My girls are no different.
Do you have a pet sitting in your office right now? I don’t, unfortunately. We don’t have pets in the office.
At home, my office is on the second floor. My dog Bozeman is afraid of stairs, so he stays on the first floor. He’s a big, lazy, lovable yellow lab, and faithful family companion that my two daughters absolutely adore.
Favorite phone app that is unrelated to work: My wife would say DoorDash based on the amount of food we order because, at the end of a long day, the idea of cooking for ourselves is simply a bridge too far.
What’s the most important piece of literature you’ve recently read? One of the more memorable reads that comes to mind is “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. While not a veteran myself, I have great respect for those who serve(d) and I really enjoy reading the old war stories.
This one in particular was later made into a movie, but as with most books made into movies, I strongly suggest you read the book. The story of Louis Zamperini, athlete turned soldier turned POW, is absolutely astonishing.
It’s a story of perseverance and survival that is almost unthinkable and certainly puts life into perspective.