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Charting a New Course

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Dan Hoffman Assumes New Leadership Role with ShoreTel – Keith Nealon Becomes President and General Manager of the Cloud Division

On paper, it has been a long time since I had a “new job.”  But actually, in growing M5 from zero to $70 million, I've had a new job every year. I've had to change my leadership style constantly as we grew from five people to 50 and now to 250 people.   As Christopher Columbus supposedly said (in Portuguese), “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

The personal learning has been thrilling.  Public speaking, team-building, managing people, designing sales processes, embracing the Agile development methodology, building culture, strategic planning, bits and bytes – through it all, I've had the joy of working with world-class teachers and experts, many of them on my own staff.

So here goes another ocean crossing.  On February 1st, I will begin a new role as Chief Strategy Officer for ShoreTel.  I’ll be working on the direction of the entire company.   After all, ShoreTel’s acquisition of M5 Networks was grounded in our shared belief that we could change our industry faster together than we could apart.  I will be working with our key stakeholders to hone our vision, design our strategy, and unite us in a common mission to deliver on our full potential.  And please don’t doubt, it is a potential we are all confident exists.

I will continue to help drive success in the Cloud division, but I’m passing the helm to Keith Nealon.  Keith is one of the most talented and rounded executives that I’ve come across. During the ten days I fought to recruit him, he read “The Art of Learning” cover to cover.  In his first few weeks as our VP of Revenue, he threw himself into our Jiu-Jitsu program with a sprint of private lessons that blew away the instructors.  He has approached building our revenue team with the same intensity.  Keith is committed to evolving the Cloud division, deepening core values and rituals, strengthening systems and processes, and growing the people that have been at the core of our success.

It is going to be fun working on ShoreTel’s overall strategy.  The workplace is changing fundamentally, creating a disruptive need for mobile, cloud, and unified communications technologies. We've got all three.  There is new thinking about blending service and product offerings. We are strongly positioned with both.  And it is increasingly clear in industry after industry that creating a world-class customer experience is a winning strategy.  This is what ShoreTel is all about and it inspires me.  My biggest challenge will not be finding opportunities; it will be focus.

I’m proud to be part of ShoreTel, and I’m honored by the invitation to help chart our course to a New World.