Name: Erin Rollenhagen
Current Position: President at Entrepreneurial Technologies
IT Background: I went to college as an English major wanting to write the next great American novel. After a less-than-inspiring first creative writing class, I scored a summer internship at ATG (a West Des Moines-based software development company) which piqued my interest in programming. I ended up switching my major to MIS/Economics, interning there every summer during college and eventually working there for 6 years full-time as a Java and .Net programmer before striking out on my own.
Biggest Failure: When I first started my business, I wasn’t assertive enough about giving clients my opinion. I thought “well they’re paying for it, I will do it however they want me to.” As time went on, I realized that most clients have an idea of the end goal they are trying to accomplish but not necessarily the steps necessary to get there. The value we provide is being able to steer them in the right direction with the specific implemention strategies and tactics necessary to accomplish the overall goal — that’s what they’re paying us for.
Biggest Success: When I quit my job, the economy was not in a great place. That made it tough to make a living at times and I think sometimes when that happens there can be a temptation to compromise things that shouldn’t be compromised. I’m proud that as we’ve grown we’ve maintained the focus on providing what will truly benefit the client, stood our moral ground when it was necessary, and stuck to the philosophy that people always come first.
Mentors: Tej Dhawan: He’s a family member, business partner, mentor and friend and I’ve been lucky to have his wisdom and encouragement. And of course my parents, both of whom are entrepreneurs themselves. One thing I can say about all three is that while we may not agree on every dilemma, they all have a strong sense of right and wrong and that’s one of the things I value most.
Current Book I am reading: “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
Hobbies: Running, painting, working with clay, just about any project I can get my hands dirty with 🙂