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A high-profile tech CEO starts a new career—as a coach

As CEO of Levant Technologies, Stacy Eads drove 300% growth her first year, tapping what she learned by reading Scaling Up and attending public workshops that a local Scaling Up Certified Coach taught. By year two, the web design and hosting firm hit 500% growth and launched two spin-off companies. 

But after eight years as CEO, Eads was eager to try something new. She’d spent a good 21 years, on and off, in tech. “I wanted to do something that felt adventurous and like territory I had not been in before,” says Eads. 

 “Brick paving”

Eads had always been drawn to volunteering, and she was sought-after as a mentor at the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce. This led her to consider coaching.

“I’m a brick paver” says Eads. “I enjoy listening to other people’s dreams and helping them break that down, step by step, so they can take the next step. “When I looked around and asked, ‘What’s next for me?’ that’s when I realized being a brick paver and having a passion for helping others grow was going to take me in a different direction from being a woman in tech for the rest of my life.”

Eads became a Scaling Up Certified coach, after working with a Scaling Up coach of her own, and since 2019 has run her practice, Stacy Eads LLC, in Newcastle, Oklahoma. She works with clients from $1 million to $250 million in annual revenue in a variety of industries, among them mining hardware, software-as-a-service, IT, manufacturing and auto dealerships, to name a few. She manages up to 13 accounts at a time, meeting with them every two weeks in between their quarterly meetings. 

Building a practice

Many of her clients come from referrals through the Scaling Up program. Others arrive through word of mouth. Eads keeps herself visible by doing frequent keynote speaking and column writing for local publications. She is also the training coordinator for EO and YPO, connecting Scaling Up coaches to training initiatives in which they can participate. “These cohorts are a wonderful place to expand my knowledge and meet entrepreneurs,” she says. “It has been a real joy to see the difference in coaching from country to country.”

Her first client was a drug-testing company that the local Chamber of Commerce had introduced to her. The client needed help setting marketing goals and forming a sales team—areas she had tackled in her previous positions. “My background in sales and marketing were a good complement,” she says. 

Asking the right questions

Eads has discovered that her tech know-how comes in handy when working with many of her clients. Although she focuses on strategic planning in her work with them, she often finds herself guiding them to resources to help them with their tech goals. “They don’t know what right question to ask at that exact moment,” she says. 

A focus on helping others

Eads has found that experience in her early career doing public relations for the nonprofit organization Citizens Caring for Children now informs her coaching, helping her to guide her clients on team-building.

 “Working with children who had been taken from their homes because they were neglected, you’re working toward a common goal,” says Eads. “And you’re helping others. Even though I ended up switching to the corporate world, I kept that in my heart. I couldn’t work anywhere that I didn’t genuinely feel I was helping others.”

Eads’ career is very different than she envisioned it would be when she was a tech CEO—and, she finds, even more rewarding than she could have imagined. 

“When I joined the coaching community, everyone was very warm, very welcoming,” says Eads. “Three years later, I have found the perfect career for me, and I really enjoy it.” 

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.