Career Path: Christian Ponce, Director of Applied Innovation and Founding Member of LogMeIn LABS
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Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work?
I was born and raised in the Bronx with a sprinkle of Puerto Rico having spent my summers there from 5-15. My mother was an ESL teacher in an NYC public school, and my father was a union carpenter.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I graduated from Boston University with a business degree before starting in public accounting at KPMG. I went on to hold many roles related to security and IT at The TJX Companies, Vistaprint and eventually Akamai.
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
First, I would say it is my willingness to do the job that is needed now even if it wasn’t what I originally signed up for. Deliver value and then find what you want to do. In addition, I would say my desire to see those around me thrive and my willingness to help any person from any walk of life. I’ve always embraced every opportunity to serve as a mentor and example for others and these experiences, and relationships in combination with my work ethic have helped drive my career to the position I’m in now.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as Director of Applied Innovation and Founding Member of LogMeIn LABS?
I lead a mixed skilled team of Catalysts, Growth Hackers, Designers, Product Managers, and Engineers in developing methods to address the challenges of empowering, engaging, and enabling a global workforce to Innovate.
This past year we designed and implemented the LABS @ LogMeIn Incubator program. Our incubator focuses on driving meaningful revenue growth through the development of “horizon three” products and services. This includes a model for how to get initiatives from the incubator back into the business with a high expectation of success.
How is your team enabling a culture of innovation at LogMeIn and what have been some examples to date?
To me, “innovation” is not just a buzzword — I want to break the mold. I pioneer and deliver a new version of our annual hackathon, giving hundreds of employees the opportunity to bring their creativity to fruition and providing ideas that generated tangible revenue impact and ROI. My team works across the organization to get everyone speaking the same language and solving problems in a real way. Over the past year, we have delivered tens of workshops as well as product ideas like LastPass Connect, Central Monitor, and Meeting Remote, that are making their way into our product roadmaps after having been proven within our program.
Christian (front and center) celebrating with the Idea Boot Camp.
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
I guess nothing. My wife is an avid coffee drinker, and as a Latino, it is almost sacrilegious to not drink it, but I have always been good with a glass of water.
What time do you get into the office?
I’m not a morning person so most days I am in by 9:30, but you have a better chance of catching me at 6 PM than at 9 AM most days.
What are three things that motivate you in your role?
Innovation, a desire to promote those around me, and being able to be in a position that allows me to give back to the community and serve as a role model.
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
My day usually starts the same as other in tech, a review of email, slack, and my to-do list. Then it’s either a run of meetings or other 1x1s meant to help ideas move forward.
What time do you head out of the office?
Usually by 6 and 6:30. This is mainly because I prefer to avoid the 5 PM rush.
Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?
I try to leave work at work but have been known to respond at odd hours. I do keep it to a minimum though.
Any productivity hacks?
Time management is the key to any project. If you have a clear timeline and transparency into deadlines, then it’s easier to stay on top of everything and not let distractions get in the way. Also, call things out early. If you need help, ask for it. If you don’t understand, ask for clarification.
What are the three apps that you can’t live without?
Audible, Twitter, and Outlook. They let me be remote, learn, and be in the know.
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
I joined LogMeIn in 2016 just before its massive merger with Citrix’s GoTo product family and was tasked with leading the technical integration for the organization while working to instill confidence and help people understand the process and cultural aspects. It was after this period that I was able to deliver on my commitment to innovation, moving directly into an innovation role where I could focus on supporting new ideas that drive meaningful change.
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
For me, it would have to be Simon Sinek. “Start with the why” helps me deliver as an innovator but also as a people manager and a person. Outside of that, I would say my wife. As a nurse, she is focused on making sure you take care of the whole person. That focus reminds me to step back and remember that there is more than what we are doing today.