For This CPO, Leadership Means Setting Others Up for Success

Closinglock’s Sushma Zoellner fosters transparent communication so her team can problem solve and grow their careers.

Written by Cathleen Draper
Published on Feb. 21, 2023
For This CPO, Leadership Means Setting Others Up for Success
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When Sushma Zoellner has had to build or join a new team at Closinglock, she takes time to get to know each and every member.

She doesn’t want to know solely about their professional lives, including their career stories, and what drives them. She wants to know how and where they grew up, their hobbies and the personal experiences that led them down the path they’re on.

“This is a crucial time in Closinglock’s history when establishing relationships with everyone in the company is critical to our success,” Zoellner said.

Getting to know her team members is an essential part of how, as Chief Product Officer, Zoellner opens the door to transparent, consistent communication without the overhead of meetings. That way, team members always have the opportunity to offer alternative solutions when a product problem arises and get recognized for their wins.

It also creates space for Zoellner to empower her team members and help to drive their careers forward. 

When you stay in touch with your team on a regular basis, it’s easier to stretch their skills because there are always opportunities that they can take ownership of,” Zoellner said. “It's best to learn by doing, and I provide support if they are struggling. “

Built In sat down with Zoellner to discuss her vision for her team and why joining a startup is a stellar career move.


Tell us about your role.

I get the awesome job of understanding our customers' pain points and focus on removing that pain by delivering great products in tandem with achieving business results. I leverage the talents of all the functions within our company — engineering, sales, customer success and finance — to ensure we account for all the details that make a customer experience special. 

There are lots of product ideas and areas to address in the property tech and financial tech space that we could solve for. We believe in focusing on the most impactful problems, and my responsibility is to make sure we have enough data to inform the next product capabilities we will prioritize.



Closinglock strives to simplify the real estate closing experience. Its secure, easy-to-use platform for title companies, law firms and other financial services allows them to share wire transfer instructions and other documents with clients, collect e-signatures and instantly verify bank or loan payoff information.


What’s your vision for leading your team?

Leadership means setting my team up for success so they can achieve positive outcomes. I believe in hiring top talent and empowering them to make decisions and then provide support when needed.

I encourage and ensure diversity of thought on the team when we evaluate new team members to join. We have a team dynamic that challenges ideas, and we are mature enough to come to a decision.


What tools and support do you offer team members to allow them to stretch their skills?

All good leaders can provide resources, books, access to mentors and podcasts, but great ones think more about providing constructive feedback and giving their team members the time to take advantage of the tools and resources provided.


What is something exciting that you are currently working on with your team? 

We are launching a new product to market that will provide home buyers peace of mind when parting with their hard-earned dollars to purchase a new property. I’m thrilled to be working with a great engineering team and excited that we will release cool products that customers will enjoy using while we disrupt the real estate industry in the best way.


Building new products and stretching your skills where it's needed the most is the most effective way to learn and build on your career capital.”


What is the employee value proposition for those thinking about joining Closinglock? 

Joining an early stage startup is the best time to be a part of a company. Building new products and stretching your skills where it's needed the most is the most effective way to learn and build on your career capital. The impact you will have is tremendous, and you will contribute to our mission of protecting funds for all parties involved during the home buying process.


Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Closinglock.

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