Billtrust Business Advice – Rory Byrne
There are a series of variables that go into molding a successful career. A great mentor, a successful manager, the list goes on and on. Rory Byrne, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Billtrust, shares a few insights into these topics in this Billtrust to Business blog post.
What is the best piece advice that someone has ever given you and why?
My first job in the US was a five-year stint at a large company working for one particular Executive Vice President. He was very highly regarded by everyone who knew him, and particularly those who worked for him. As part of new hire orientation, each new employee was tasked with answering one question “What does it take to be successful here?” This EVP’s answer was very simple — a good boss. A good boss – a good manager – provides guidance and advice, helps you to grow and develop in your role, and provides opportunities for visibility and advancement. In my career, I have always looked for the opportunity to work for a manager with integrity, from whom I could learn, and who would provide the right level of guidance and support. As I’ve progressed in my career, I have always tried to be that manager for those I have had the opportunity to lead, manage or mentor.
Who is someone that you have looked up to during your career?
Although it did not occur to me for many years, my father has been an inspiration to me in my career. He immigrated to the US shortly after he finished college in Ireland and worked for General Electric for 5 years before returning to Ireland. He was an entrepreneur before the term was popular, and at a time when conformity was valued over risk taking. He started multiple different business ventures over the years but none was successful until the last one, which has been profitable almost since the beginning, and is over 25 years old. He is recently “retired”, and turning 80 next year, but still works one or two days a week. He always had an incredible work ethic, an appetite for risk (not always appreciated) and perseverance, all attributes that I have tried to emulate in my career and in my life.
I often think about the parallels between my dad’s career and mine, despite the generational differences, and appreciate him more as I realize all he achieved in a very different world and envisage all he might have achieved were he in my shoes. It inspires me to continued effort to grow and accomplish.
What are three things that you hope to accomplish before your career is over?
- Lead a team to accomplish the seemingly impossible
- Help to lead a company through an Initial Public Offering
- Transition, potentially part-time, from private industry to education, to help the next generation succeed both individually and as members of the community, balancing the pursuit of individual success with the need to give back to society.
What would you tell yourself 10 years in the past based on experiences you now have?
It’s all about the people. Jobs – and companies – come and go. Liking the people you work with makes the difference between liking and loving your job.
Grit – the concept of working hard to accomplish something, using setbacks as a learning experience – is the single biggest determinant of success. Find that in yourself, and help others to develop it in themselves. For more on grit, Angela Duckworth’s book of the same name is a worthwhile read.
What advice or motivation would you give yourself for 10 years in the future?
When you reach the summit – and achieve your objective – pause and enjoy the view before attempting the next summit. It’s essential for one’s health and well-being to find the right balance between working hard and productively and enjoying life, spending time with family and friends, and looking after your health. One of Billtrust’s core values is finding a work-life balance. When I joined Billtrust, the founder and CEO, Flint Lane said ‘go coach your kid’s team’. So I did. 10 years from now, I plan to be doing even more to help and give back while still executing to a high standard in my work.
About the author:
Rory Byrne is the EVP of Business Development at Billtrust