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Executive Spotlight: Stacy Schwartz, VP of Public Sector & Education at RingCentral

Stacy Schwartz

VP, Public Sector & Ed.

RingCentral

Executive Spotlight: Stacy Schwartz, VP of Public Sector & Education at RingCentral

Stacy Schwartz, vice president of public sector at RingCentral, spoke with the Potomac Officers Club about her career journey in the GovCon space, her advice for executives and her core values for winning business and achieving success. Prior to joining RingCentral, Schwartz spent two decades at AT&T and served for nine years as vice president of public sector, overseeing public safety, FirstNet and education. 

When did you decide to pursue a career in the federal landscape and what were the key tasks that you wanted to complete? Any bigger goals you still want to accomplish?

I decided to pursue a career in the federal space based on a long academic focus on public policy and government, and a desire to live and work in Washington. I wanted to be a part of what this country’s government does to support our nation and the world. 

While I certainly wanted to be successful at achieving the business goal of my company, I also wanted to feel like what we did made a difference. I recall our team being the successful awardee of the first FTC Do Not Call Registry. We also helped change the way the USPS delivered packages and the way senior citizens spoke to the Social Security Administration. At the culmination of my AT&T career, I served public safety as a part of the FirstNet team that won one of the largest technology contracts ever awarded, and more importantly created a network for first responders requiring superior prioritized service. And every day, we supported saving lives. 

I am extraordinarily proud of these accomplishments and could say I feel satisfied. However, I still wanted to lead the strategy and build and lead an entire public sector team at a dynamic, transformative company.

As the head of the U.S. Public Sector and Education, I am now doing that at RingCentral, a cloud-based communications company that will further advance the delivery of the government’s mission to its communities. RingCentral allows agencies to communicate seamlessly with citizens and its employees through unified communication, video, collaboration and contact center.

What can you tell us about your background and how you’ve been able to adapt to the ever-changing challenges of the federal landscape over the course of your career?

I have been in marketing and sales roles for my entire business career, and I have always understood the importance of being customer-focused. I have built a track record of leading successful teams that drive significant business growth. 

First, don’t accept the first ‘no.’ Most critically, I have been fortunate to have worked with and for leaders who have empowered me. I learned quickly to not easily accept ‘no.’ It is important to ask, ‘Why not?’

What is the art of the possible to support your client, address your market and win? Being innovative or creating change is hard in small and large organizations alike especially if the culture is long established.

Secondly, listen. I believe I don’t know it all and need people who have ideas and talents that I don’t have around me. As the landscape changes, bringing in these influences, people and ideas is critical to adapting to change. This means provocative thinking in your company, in an industry partner, talking to clients, consultants and friends. I survey others’ thinking and test my own. I ask my clients and other solution providers. I leave my desk, my office, even trusted advisors and listen. I have found this is the best way for me to understand the change and sense what is coming.

Finally, never be complacent. Your competition is already there. Change is happening. I have always told my team to be proactive and protect your relationships — be the change agent. Don’t try to fight it.

Even when change is uncomfortable and not always asked for, government clients want to be ready for the mandate, the legislation or the disaster that is coming. Be the change.

What are the core values that you believe are essential to build a great team and establish a foundation to drive success in such a competitive industry?

Mission and Community Focus. Work from the customer backwards and understand how your solution can positively impact an outcome for government agencies. I have spent my entire career in IT and communications, and I have come to learn that enabling communications can provide everything from critical benefits to senior citizens to actually saving lives. Our government agencies are established to serve our citizens from neighborhoods and towns to cities, states and the nation. If your team members seek to understand how they do that, and lead alongside our customers, we can build relationships and solutions that cannot be beat.

Trust. I have had the privilege of building and growing successful teams my entire career. What has always distinguished the culture of these teams is sincere trust. Trust that when they need help to do their jobs, that support is surrounding them. Trust that when they make a mistake, we can work together to fix it and move forward. Trust that I and we have each other’s back. Trust that when they ask me to advocate for our customer, we’ve got it!

And most importantly, when we have a moment in time where a teammate needs help, we all come running to help. This culture makes a team like a family, and that is what has made me love my job and have fun every day.

Clearly defined goals and results. If you are on the client side of your industry, it is important to define what is expected. Building a government business requires tenacity, time and measured goals. If your team knows what it is driving toward, there is a measurable goal and a way to coach and support one another to get there. There are best practices and lessons learned that we all can share in support of those goals. The clarity is critical to ensure we know that each of us is responsible for building a part of a greater business goal. It is empowering and fosters creativity and success.

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