Leadership Transitions Have Huge Impact on Long-Term Productivity. Here’s How Two Austin Companies are Navigating the Change.

At SonarSource and Sailpoint, new executives are driving big change.

Written by Dana Cassell
Published on Apr. 24, 2024
Leadership Transitions Have Huge Impact on Long-Term Productivity. Here’s How Two Austin Companies are Navigating the Change.
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New leadership in any organization is a big deal. When the organization is a fast-paced tech company with big goals and constant challenges, the stakes are especially high. 

A recent McKinsey study found that the way those leadership transitions go has a huge impact on long-term productivity. Nine out of ten teams whose leadership transition went smoothly had a much higher likelihood of meeting their three-year performance goals than teams whose leadership transitions were unsuccessful.

Those statistics mean that making the right hire for important leadership roles is particularly important, and particularly exciting when it happens.

Built In Austin sought out companies who are leaning into smooth leadership transitions and excited about their new hires. At Sonar, Clarissa O’Connell has just come on board as chief human resources officer, and she is excited about how her role aligns with the work of the company as a whole.

“Sonar’s mission to genuinely change the development world is only possible when done right and with the right people,” O’Connell said.

Sree Kancharla, the newly hired chief information officer for SailPoint, is confident that her experience will be a great fit for the new role.

“I’m excited to bring my expertise in driving digital transformation to the organization, particularly when it comes to opportunities to leverage automation and AI to scale the organization to new heights and drive a robust technology agenda,” she said.

These companies are making big changes at the top, and leaning into making those transitions smooth and successful.

 

Clarissa O'Connell
Chief Human Resources Officer • Sonar

Sonar provides open-source and commercial code analyzers to help developers manage code quality.

 

Tell us a little bit about your new hire. 

Clarissa O’Connell, Sonar’s new chief human resources officer, brings with her over 20 years of experience in human resources. She has driven human capital programs and initiatives in alignment with business goals and values. 

She previously served as senior vice president of people at ClearDATA where she delivered world-class talent acquisition and development, enriched performance management, championed DE&I culture and practice, and advanced other key HR areas of the company. Prior to that, she built the HR department at Care.com, overseeing the growth of the company from 45 to over 350 employees, and she has also held senior HR roles at Microsoft. 

O’Connell holds a number of HR certifications from organizations such as the American Management Association, the Association of Talent Development, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and several from the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).
 

Beyond onboarding and getting up to speed on the internal workings of your new team, what's your first order of business in your new role? 

Sonar’s mission to genuinely change the development world is only possible when done right and with the right people. I look forward to building upon Sonar’s 15 years of proven success, founded upon its core values, as well as helping shape and positively strengthen the organization.

 

"Sonar’s mission to genuinely change the development world is only possible when done right and with the right people."

 

 

Sree Kancharla
Chief Information Officer • SailPoint

SailPoint harnesses AI and machine learning to automate management and control of access for complex enterprises. 

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

As a visionary technology leader deeply rooted in a cybersecurity-first approach, I have steered numerous business transformation initiatives and successful IPOs. I have revolutionized enterprises through digital innovation underpinned by a robust zero trust framework. 

I am passionate about elevating customer and employee experiences while driving top-line revenue growth and ROI – all while simultaneously fortifying security postures against evolving cyber threats. In my more than 20 years of experience as a technology expert, I’ve successfully enhanced operational performance, championed international standardization, spearheaded customer advocacy programs and delivered cost savings through strategic business and digital transformation.

I joined SailPoint, a leading provider of identity security for modern enterprises, as chief information officer. I’m excited to bring my expertise in driving digital transformation to the organization, particularly when it comes to opportunities to leverage automation and AI to scale the organization to new heights and drive a robust technology agenda.

 

"I’m excited to bring my expertise in driving digital transformation to the organization, particularly when it comes to opportunities to leverage automation and AI to scale the organization to new heights and drive a robust technology agenda.”

 

Beyond onboarding and getting up to speed on the internal workings of your new team, what's your first order of business in your new role? 

As a CIO leading digital transformation, there’s no shortage of projects. My team partners with and supports stakeholders across the organization, and we’re involved in several high-impact projects designed to ensure operational excellence. 

I’m most excited about some of the initiatives we’re doing around standardization and automation, which will ultimately accelerate our sales cycle and drive financial performance.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Shutterstock and listed companies.

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