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Phillip K. Naithram: Well, Anna. Thank you so much for being here. Tential CDTO. We’re here in your office here in Annapolis, Maryland. Thanks so much for making the time.
Anna Frazzetto: Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited about this today.
Phillip K. Naithram: Me too. We took some coordination, but we’re making it happen. So, I really appreciate you just being committed to doing this with me and I, and I’m excited to get to know you. C DTO, what does that stand for?
Anna Frazzetto: So, it stands for chief digital technology officer. Okay.
Phillip K. Naithram: So chief digital technology. And is there a CTO also?
Anna Frazzetto: No, there is not. There’s not.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, you kind of doing both roles or it’s all rolled up in one,
Anna Frazzetto: actually. interesting because the way the role came about is really more and working with our clients and being viewed as a trusted advisor, a strategic partner to our clients. Representing pretty much whatever is going on in your its world that you can partner with us and that I can help you from that perspective to kind of lead you down that path.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, you know, a lot of people that I’ve interviewed that are our CTOs, they always say that that T actually stands for translator, not necessarily technology.
Anna Frazzetto: You kind of feel the same way I do. Absolutely. And actually, I love that. I think I’m going to copy that and use that going forward because often what happens when you’re dealing with, with clients or any organization that is kind of looking at their technology road.
It’s pretty confusing. It’s pretty complicated. And the world is changing so quickly that sometimes it might take a lot to get your organization to kind of move at that level. So therefore, that role, the CDTs or the CTO clearly is going to have to play a significant role in kind of bridging the gap between what’s happening technologically, and then what’s really applicable to your organization.
Phillip K. Naithram: Did you, are you a technologist by trade or is that something that you studied or are you a little bit different?
Anna Frazzetto: So, I, I studied, I was double major computer science and mathematics, a total tech nerd, really proud of it. And I still wear those stripes as kind of like a badge of honor, but love the technology background that I have.
Phillip K. Naithram: And you’re from New Jersey. We didn’t mention that before, but you made the time to come all the way down here from New Jersey. While you’re here in the office and I’m really glad that we’re doing this.
Anna Frazzetto: Perfect. I try to come to the office, you know, ever since COVID, everything has been pretty much remote, but I try to make it to the office at least every couple of months, because it’s always nice to, we have an expression that we joke around about, you know, we want to come and touch the rock like we’re all on the same page and, you know, come and meet and greet with each other once again and, and then go off and do what we need to do.
Phillip K. Naithram: And you, you grow up in New York?
Anna Frazzetto: Yes, I did. Manhattan lower east side. What was it like growing up in New York?
It was fantastic. I mean, I have to tell you, a lot of people would always say to me, oh my goodness, you didn’t grow up.
You, you grew up in a concrete, you know, village, you didn’t you didn’t have parks, you didn’t have grass and you know, didn’t you miss it, or, but honestly, when you’re in it, like you really don’t know what you are missing. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Now that I’m, you know, obviously an adult, I was.
Want to have any other upbringing than the upbringing that I had, because I think what Manhattan did for me was it offered me a So, diverse. Environment for me to grow up in and for me to be part of. So, you know, for example, my parents migrated here in 1958 and they actually came with an, an older sister.
I would have had an older sister, but she passed away when she was here just after six months that they were here and my parents were determined to make it in New York city. And then I have to say, I thought, you know, my mom really wanted to go. To So, Italy because she did not want to deal with, you know, obviously the loss of a child and wanted to go back.
But she, you know, my dad was incredible. Like he was so persistent and he had that, I call it the intestinal fortitude to literally like he was gonna make it here in the U S so growing up in Manhattan, it means a lot to me just because when I take a look at the upbringing that my, you know, my parents actually, their initial years here, what year was that? When did they come?
They came in 1958.
Phillip K. Naithram: Okay. And what did they do
Anna Frazzetto: so, my father is, so if you think about 1958 was kind of at the end of like the industrial you know, revolution, so to speak where there was a call for different trades around the world. So, my dad was. And there was a need for, you know, tailors to come to America.
So, him and my mom on an 11-and-a-half-day boat ride from Italy to New York, they came here and it was all for the opportunity to become a tailor here in Manhattan. And that’s what brought them here. And then honestly it was their own determination and passion to survive and live is what kept them here.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, did he have a tailor shop?
Anna Frazzetto: No, he worked, he worked in a for a tailor company, actually. It’s kind of interesting because when you take a look at some of the early work of Salvatore, Ferragamo, and Ralph Lauren, And Zenga my dad was one of the tailors that worked in all of those organizations.
Phillip K. Naithram: That’s awesome. So, when you were growing up, was that kind of, was it, was it was fashion, a big deal or it, people were that around the house and everyone was talking about, okay.
Anna Frazzetto: So, so actually it’s really funny because we grew up pretty poor. I mean, my dad worked three jobs to provide for my sister and I, and but the one thing is we were the best dressed.
Kids on the planet. I mean, I went for my first interview and I had a Ralph Lauren suit that obviously my father, you know, cut, you know, cut for me or whatever. I didn’t have the Ralph Lauren label, but I mean the style and everything. So, it was like, I was always like rocking every interview because my dad dressed us and, and made sure that we looked, you know, top-notch. But meanwhile, we were really, really poor
Phillip K. Naithram: Well, but like being well-dressed and well-tailored. Has that, is that something that, that stuck with you over time?
Anna Frazzetto: Oh yes, absolutely. My, you know, my dad, you know, we can never, for example you know, when you get a suit or a suit jacket, it’s always sewn. Right? So, and a lot of people, what they’ll do is they open up the pocket and, you know, get rid of the stitching.
So, it’s like, so. You’re not, he would not allow you to do that with any of the jackets. Like he would just say, keep it, keep it sewn because what’ll happen is you’ll start putting stuff in the pockets and then it will make the jacket not look as tailored and perfectly shaped. So, it’s pretty fascinating.
Phillip K. Naithram: You know, come to think about it. Some of my suit jackets where I’ve gotten used to just putting my, my keys in the pocket, those are the ones there. It’s my size, but it looks a little bit more around there just because it’s used to holding my keys.
Anna Frazzetto: Right, right. It changes the shape of the, of the jacket.
Phillip K. Naithram: Did you play sports growing up?
Anna Frazzetto: So not really. I’m on a team, but I did play softball for my sorority So, house. So, I wouldn’t consider myself to be super athletic, but I am very competitive. So, I think the combination of being very competitive. Helped me and I was able to always do well. So, there’s a trophy that sits in my office of a winning some intermural that we had done at the sorority house.
And so of course, anybody in my family that knows me now, they’re like, you. Actually one, one I’m like, yes, I did. I was a catcher for my, for my sorority. So, it was a lot of fun. What sorority was it? It was gamma. Delta.
Phillip K. Naithram: What school?
Anna Frazzetto: NYU. Okay.
Phillip K. Naithram: That’s right. And so, you went to grad school also?
Anna Frazzetto: No, I did not. I thought I was going to go to grad school, but no, it started working and then pretty much stuck that. What was your first job? So, my first job I worked with IBM and I was a systems engineer for IBM and I loved it. The only thing is that I was an intern for IBM, between my junior and senior year.
And then that was kind of like the drill. What would happen is you would become an intern and then most likely they would offer you a job by the time you graduate the senior year. But, you know, IBM also stood for I’ve been moved. Right. So, what would happen is I lived in Manhattan and so I had a job opportunity either in Kingston or Endicott after I visited the two locations and saw the winters that they had.
I decided, no, I’m good. I’ll I think I’ll find someplace else to, you know, to go work. And that’s when I started to work for Syncsort, which was a, you know, sorting technology sorting. What did you learn at IBM that you think you wouldn’t have otherwise learned?
I think, you know, what was interesting in starting in an organization that’s that large?
I really learned the fact of being. That only you can control your destiny. So, I think when you work with a smaller company, you kind of feel like, oh, well, you know, my manager knows me and my manager is only maybe like one or two levels removed from the CEO. So, I’m being noticed when you’re at IBM and there are hundreds of thousands of employees.
You literally have to kind of take ownership of your career and figure out what path you want to go down and make it. So, I learned very early on, make it known whatever your desire is, as far as like, kind of the next thing that you want to try. How do you do that? Communicating with your manager? That’s a great way to start is you communicate with your manager be aware of whatever publications and whatever communication there is within the organization.
Usually. Large organizations do a great job at communicating as far as if there’s job openings or there’s different groups or functions, or, you know, you can volunteer to do different things that might expose you maybe to a skill that you’re looking to seek after. So that’s what I would do is talk to talk to your manager, make sure that they’re aware and then also make sure that you are in the know as far as whatever communication’s happening in the organization.
Phillip K. Naithram: Where you like that in your sorority? Like kind of reaching out to other people. Yes,
Anna Frazzetto: constantly. You know, I was always looking to you know, what else can we do? What, how, how else can we help? What are the sororities, can we partner up with to maybe if we wanted to get the school to move on a particular transaction, gamma, deltas, and national?
Sorority. So, tapping into some of the other geographies, we’ve done that too. Just getting your power in numbers, right. If people unite, you, it’s amazing what you can get done.
Phillip K. Naithram: Was there something that you were trying to get done in school that you were partnering up with other sororities?
Anna Frazzetto: So, so one of the things was making sure, having a more dedicated space for the sorority to be able to run either different meetings or different fundraisers that we were part of.
Like we often. Would associate with like the American heart association. And we would want to have like aerobic Athens or things like that, but access to space. So, we would look at other gamma deltas that maybe they had a larger campus. And be able to say, okay, how did you get that larger campus footprint?
Can we learn from that? And can we then adopt it in at NYU?
Phillip K. Naithram: So, you were learning business development and skills to get things done with other teams, other companies from a pretty young.
Anna Frazzetto: I mean, now that you put it that way, I guess I was, I mean, it’s always been my curiosity. I think, you know one person once asked me in one of these kinds of, you know, sessions where I was being interviewed.
If I was to pick, you know, three words, how would I describe myself? And curiosity was the number one word that I picked because my whole life I’ve always been curious and try to figure out like, how can we do it? There’s gotta be a better way to, you know, to approach it.
Phillip K. Naithram: It doesn’t sound like you’re the traditional, well, I don’t know what traditional technologists really even means, you know, but you just seem pretty outgoing.
And I think that, it sounds like from a very young age, you were doing those sorts of things, and it’s no wonder that you wound up in a role where you translate to a business. You translate between the technology and the business units.
Anna Frazzetto: Right. So, it’s funny you say that fellow because I’ll tell you, I started off in my career.
I was a developer, so I was a programmer. And did that for, you know, many years. I, I kind of moved up the rank. I was a development manager and then not until I started working for a company called MHT services at the time. And it was the CEO who was. You have such strong people skills, like why are you developing, you know, like we, we need to put you in front of clients.
And so, he kind of like almost invented a role for me where I would help the salespeople. On being able to explain to clients what our platform really did. And I, I would be able to translate right translate and put into layman’s terminology. As far as we, we worked on this conversion tool that we had, and we offered it as a service, but I would just basically show up and be able to kinda, you know, help a client understand, you know, what the product did.
So that kind of stuck for. For a while. And then when I started working at Brandon systems which was a small consulting company, then got acquired and became, you know, Sperry on another, you know, manager, the CEO at the time his name was Bob. He did a great job at basically saying, okay, he was great at looking at individuals and assessing their skill sets.
And he said, you yes, strong technical background, but you need to be involved on the sales side of the organization because there’s tremendous power that you can bring and working with the salespeople and selling yourself. Now, of course, in my mind, I was thinking like, oh no, I’m a technologist I’m not selling.
And my friends were accusing me of joining the dark side if I was going to become a salesperson. Right. But I wound up doing it and I have to tell you, it, it gave such credibility to the story, right. Because I can show up to a client site. Hmm. Understand their technical logical pain. Right. And be able to propose the right solution for them as far as what they should or couldn’t do or what they should evaluate.
And so, it really evolved nicely. And then because of that background, it kind of broadened my perspective where I can manage operations and delivery too, because I came from that. So, I I’m grateful for. The mentors in my life. Right. I mean, that was the key and I, and that would be my advice to anyone would always be, make sure you get mentors in life that help you, they see you differently than you see yourself.
Phillip K. Naithram: And, and has that always kind of been the case for you when sir, first mentor, how old were you when you get your first mentor?
Anna Frazzetto: So, my first mentor I would have to say was my father. And you know, not, not to get emotional, but my, my dad was ahead of his times. He So, had this way of conveying such confidence.
And so, I think, again, it’s part of, and I know Phillip, we’ve had this conversation being first-generation of immigrant parents. It really does. Why are you differently? I think that. Anyone who doesn’t come from that. And I don’t mean that, you know, one in a bad way or anything for those that are not, you know, first generation of immigrants, but I think what happens is it, it, it really teaches you almost survival skills, right.
And how to dig deep and fight for what you believe in. So, my dad was full of that, and I remember plenty of times where I would convince myself to talk myself out of a promotion, right there, a job potentially. And I’m literally sitting in my room and kind of going through all the pros and cons that I’ve convinced myself that I’m not qualified for that job.
Right. W without even talking to my manager yet, and my father would come in and he would say, Anna, talk to your manager. And I’m like, oh, but no, he’s like, what’s the worst that can happen is he’s going to say no. Right. So, for him to say, no you’ll learn from it. And then you can apply though. To, you know, future, you know, future skills.
So don’t, you know, like, like you’re, you’re, you’re talking yourself out of it as opposed to convincing yourself that you can go for it. And I have to tell you that was such a great lesson that I learned, because then it gave me the, the inner. To go after and pursue the things that I wanted to pursue. So, my dad definitely number one, mentor in my life.
And then I’ve been truly blessed where I would always, wherever I worked, I would seek out that one manager, either the manager I reported into or other managers that I noticed, and I would ask them like, are you, are you okay with, you know, kind of be me. And can I come and talk to you, maybe every, you know, couple of weeks or once a week.
And, and some would, would be fantastic. And I would talk to them every week on, you know, kind of how I was progressing and what challenges I was encountering. Others were a little bit more like, what do you mean mentor kind of thing, but then you find someone else that will help you.
Phillip K. Naithram: But you’re asking for the help.
And it’s so funny, you know, you mentioned something that I talked to a lot of people about that. It’s so crazy how we can have the whole conversation with ourselves, right? You, you went through the entire process of hoping to get promoted, asking it, having the conversation with your manager, deciding that you weren’t qualified, not getting it all within your own head from your room without even leaving the house to the point where you believed everything that you thought.
Right. But all it takes is that external voice of like, hey, get out of your head, go, go have the conference. And what’s the word. They’re not going to take you out back and kill you. They’re just going to at worst. Say no. And they won’t even prop more than likely most companies won’t just say no, they’ll give you reasons why. And those are action plans that you can take action towards. And then Reevaluate
Anna Frazzetto: exactly. I mean, it’s amazing. And now, you know, now years later as I coach and mentor other individuals that report into me, I always say your worst enemy is yourself. You, you create your own monsters and basically don’t create your own monsters.
I mean, you have the hey inner strength to be able to kind of, you know, believe that you can do it. You know, just recently I was helping a friend of mine who was rejected for a particular job position. But she felt, you know, passionate that she could really do the job. And I told her, I said, you know, did you say.
Did you express that passion? And so, you know, she admitted to me that she goes, well, no, not, no, not really. I said, but you see how you’re talking to me right now. You need to go back to that recruiter and you need to be able to say, I know I can do this job. Be confident. Don’t, don’t say, I think I can, or, you know, and that’s the big difference, like be sure of yourself.
Where do you think
Phillip K. Naithram: that that sort of. Lack of confidence or that sort of, I think I can voice. Where does that come from within us? Because she seemed to be very passionate and very able to express her passion to you because he already knew you probably. But where do you think, you know, in the other room with the recruiter, with the other person. That lack of ability to have that same passion come.
Anna Frazzetto: Right? I do think, I do think that unfortunately, what happens is that you have this, you know, kind of like evil, inner voice. That, you know, kind of takes you down a couple of notches. And maybe sometimes it’s a protective mechanism where it’s saying, don’t get too excited about this job, because most likely you’re not going to get it, you know, kind of thing.
And maybe it’s like that negative, inner voice that’s telling you that you can’t achieve. But I think what you have to do is you need to literally put that voice in a box and get rid of that voice and say, no, I really do believe, you know, in any job that you approach. Let’s say there’s 20 things that you need to learn for that job.
And you might only know 15. But you’re smart enough to figure out the other five. And I think what winds up happening is that sometimes you convince yourself that those other five things, that they are more important than the 15 that you already know how to do. Instead, you should be focusing and saying, no, I got the 15 and because I got the 15, I’m going to be able to do the other five.
Phillip K. Naithram: It’s that feeling of not enough. We all suffer from that. I think, you know, it’s just that, or, and if it’s not. Not enough. It’s the fear of. It’s almost a fear of success, just as much as it’s a fear of failure, because what if I do get the job and something happens that I’m not enough to handle on the other end.
Right? What if I’m not, you know, what, if it’s a mistake, what if I get it by accident? I, I felt like that plenty of times. And you know, I think you’re right. It’s we have to be able to make space for that voice, but realize that’s not, you know, that’s not God talking up there. You know, that’s, that’s me, that’s all my fears and the fear of the unknown expressing itself and convincing me that I’m not good enough to do the thing that I’ve already got 15 reasons, as you said, that shows, then I am like they weren’t all of us.
Even if one was 14 other ones. I mean, maybe it’s a skillset that we have. And I think I do a lot with the reticular activating system and trying to understand that, that, like, you know, if you bought a blue car, you’ll see blue cars everywhere. It’s not because more people bought blue cars. It’s just because you’re now more aware of it.
So, if I start my day in a frame of mind, That I am successful and I am worthy and I am valuable and I am capable and I take every action to achieve my goals throughout the day. I’ll see more and more examples of opportunities for me to take actions towards those kinds of thoughts, or if it’s like, you know, I’m not really all that great at this. I don’t know why I’m doing it. It’s throughout the day. I’ll find more reasons to reinforce that.
Anna Frazzetto: Exactly. You know, one thing that I do every time I’ve led a sales organization, especially salespeople. I mean, it is such an emotional roller coaster when you’re in sales and very different than, you know, when I’ve managed operations and delivery, operations and delivery is a little bit more you know, logical, you know you can pretty much stick to facts and figures and, and you can appeal to, to the team that way on the sales side, there’s a lot that’s emotionally charged as far as what makes you a great salesperson.
And I would do this thing where I would, you know, print off these in laminate and put on everybody’s cubicle. If you believe it, you can achieve it. And it’s really simple. And every day I walk by, this is, you know, when we were able to be in an office and I would basically say, do you believe it? Do you believe it?
Yes, I can achieve it because I want that positive reinforcement. The fact that if you approach the day and you approach the day with saying, oh, I don’t know. I have such big targets. I don’t know if I can make it well, guess what you’re not going to do well on any of the calls you have with your clients.
You’re not going to do well in getting responses from your LinkedIn, you know, messages that you sent out because you’re already projecting a little bit of fear or a little bit of anxiety, as opposed to. I got this kind of charge, same thing with delivery. You know, if you’re managing a large project and you have tight deadlines and you have tight deliverables, if you approach it will all, I don’t know if we’re going to make it.
I don’t know if we’re going to do it then. Guess what? You’re not like you need to approach it from the position of, we got this. We’re on track. We’re managing to the sprint cycle. We’re managing to these objectives. We’re all over it. We can achieve it.
Phillip K. Naithram: Believe you can. And you will, you know, it’s funny.
I talk about, I am statementing a lot. How are you with,
Anna Frazzetto: oh, I love, I am statements because I think there’s nothing wrong with being able to wake up in the morning and say, you know, kind of go through your own series of. I am you know; I am a great salesperson or I am going to skydive today. If that’s so challenge that you’ve given yourself, I am going to conquer Mount Everest in animal kingdom, Disney, because that’s a ride.
I want to be able to conquer, you know, whatever it is as little or as big as it is. I think if you have that positive kind of mantra that you can go through. It will come to fruition. Where’d you pick that up? I have to say it’s been through work, you know, obviously different managers that I’ve worked with that have given me this, you know, kind of positive reinforcement.
I through therapy. You know, obviously therapies, OAS, like when you evaluate you know, I, I w I was I had a divorce. Didn’t go, well, it wasn’t a pleasant divorce. The first time that I went to therapy and I have to say it was one of these things like, oh my God, you know, I was one of those people like, oh, oh my God, who needs this seriously?
Like, oh no, I’m not doing this. And then I did it. And I felt like I became the infomercial for it because they said, this is amazing. Like everybody should go. I think we should start therapy when you’re in grade school, because I think it’s so helpful.
Phillip K. Naithram: It’s that positive kind of mantra amazing how I was similar. Right. And I didn’t even, we don’t know what we don’t know. I don’t, I I’d never been to therapy. So, I had no reason I had no qualifications to say whether it was good or bad, but I was convinced that like, oh, I don’t need that. I’m fine. But we don’t know what we don’t know. Like it’s, I don’t, I didn’t know how unfinished it was until, you know, I started working with someone else and, you know, we all go for our separate reasons and we find that, you know, the, the amount of work that I was able to do and ripping off a lot of those old ideas and those old beliefs going to therapy wasn’t necessarily so much of identification of new things to do as it was on learning a bunch of old stuff that I had already.
Anna Frazzetto: Exactly. And then I think also what happens too, is that you have no idea how your upbringing, so we we’ve talked about being first-generation right. Immigrant. So, I grew up where I had to do all of my father’s, you know invoice, writing financial statements banking. I had to take care of the household.
I was running the household at the age of 10. Because my parents didn’t speak English and I was the one that learned how to speak English before, you know, they did. So, you wind up grow it. Like you really don’t have a childhood when you do that. And you wind up growing up really fast. And then you develop almost a little bit of a.
You know, exterior because you feel like you’re protecting the household and you’re, you know, your kind of, you know, anybody can come to you and you’ll be there for them and you’ll, you know, help them through whatever crisis. But we’ll after years and years of doing that, you don’t realize until there’s a pinnacle event in your life.
That, that actually. Maybe has created some patterns that you shouldn’t be hanging onto. And that’s exactly to your point, like you unlearn certain things and that’s exactly what happened after, you know, like my, you know, my divorce, it was, oh my goodness. I’m like, oh no, I don’t want to, I don’t want to be that person.
I want to be this person. And it was somebody who was objective. And can shine the light on different things that maybe your family can’t be objective because they’re your family, right? So, you want somebody who doesn’t know you to basically say no, you know what? You have a tendency to be a little too hard on yourself.
So go, you know, go approach it this way kind of thing
Phillip K. Naithram: And it’s not all, you know, look, I I’ve got the person I spoke to. She was very real with me. Right. She was kind and loving. But she was very real with me. It was a lot of. She described to me my own patterns, that I was unable to see that every, like, you know, if you want what they have, do, what they do, and if you don’t want what you’ve got, look at what you’re doing.
Oh, I love that. You know, it’s like, I mean, I made that up on my own, but Naithram: you know what I mean? It’s, it’s like, you know, these things aren’t happening to me, not everybody is thinking about me as much as I’m thinking about me. Most of the things that are going on in my life are a result of my own behavior.
So, you know, and Naithram: just the amount of work that goes on in the, in those rooms is so great. And it, it changed the way that I. It changed the conversation I was having with myself and therefore changed the conversation I was having with others. Right. You know? And I was able to look at my own behavior and have a lot more compassion for other people’s behavior too, because I understand that they’re suffering with some stuff.
I, I didn’t even know. I had never heard the phrase abandonment issues, or I didn’t even know what that stuff meant. I knew that people have. I never would have told you that I had them. Cause I’m like, what are you talking? Nobody abandoned me anywhere. Like, I’m always where everybody else is. Right? Like, like I just didn’t even understand what it meant.
But when you were talking and describing like that sort of growing up too fast, sort of missing out on the opportunity to just be any responsible kid, you know, It’s great in a sense that when we’re teenagers, we’re like, oh, they’re so responsible. We’re looking for that praise from other people and they’re giving it to us.
And that’s what they’re saying. So, we’re doing more of it. Not realizing that we’re missing out on other opportunities, that we’ll never be able to get back. And it sort of, calcifies this idea that. Right. And like all things. It there’s a time and a place for it. It’s what I found is that therapy and working with coaches, you mentioned coaches and even mentors, right?
That’s I think that’s the power of having mentors and more than one, because no one person fills all your gaps. You know, being able to work with someone to, to kind of point out where you’re taking certain actions that are equaling certain things. It’s almost like you’re using the wrong tool for the wrong thing.
Right. It’s great that you have a hammer and you’re doing really well at it, but what you need is a screwdriver right now.
Anna Frazzetto: Exactly, exactly. And it’s true. So that’s why it’s like, I’m a big, big proponent of, of mentors in your career. I often look at, you know, when I take a look at my, you know, my journey and, and I say, you know, did high school really prepare me for college?
To college really prepare me for work. Did I have a support structure around me, of people that I could go to being the oldest in my, you know, so basically it was my sister and I, and then I had two cousins and we grew up like four sisters, but my two cousins were kind of sandwiched between myself and my sister.
And before. I was able to learn things, to help my cousins and my sister, but I did not have, you know, I didn’t have anybody to go to. So that’s what I look at. I look at, you know, how do we create environments that people have, you know, places to go. When I look at, you know, the numbers of like women in tech, why are they so low?
Technology is a difficult industry to be a part of. And it’s not very embracing, but you know, what can we do, you know, to kind of create that environment that makes an embracing not only for, for women in tech, but for diversity in general, as far as, you know, how do we create the, you know, that kind of environment.
And it comes with coaches and mentors and making sure you’re, you’re talking to people that kind of help you along the way.
Phillip K. Naithram: And you know, the benefit of it. And you also know, I think that teaches us how to help other people too. And I found that even though I may be helping someone else, they’re helping me way more than I’m helping them because they’re teaching me at the same time, because they’re asking me questions that I didn’t even know.
We don’t know what we don’t know. Right. So, and I think the best way, and sometimes I don’t even know. I So, couldn’t until you asked me a question of how I got to where I am to have me articulated, I never would’ve thought about those things that made that much of a difference to me. And being able to recognize that and reflect on that, I think is helpful because what got me here, won’t get me there.
Anna Frazzetto: Oh, and I love that. I love that. That’s such a powerful statement and I think it’s so realistic for everybody to think that I think when you own a company, when you how you manage your household you your own personal career, I think that’s so applicable as far as saying, you know, what got you here. Isn’t going to be, what’s going to get you there.
Phillip K. Naithram: This company Tential, it works with probably a board of directors or multiple. Managers of some sort, same thing with our own personal journeys, our own personal lives, whether it’s our career or our private life, it takes, you know, we need our own personal board of directors. We need help.
Anna Frazzetto: Oh. And I, and you know what, that’s a great way of putting it because I do think the mentors and the coaches and maybe therapists are your personal board of directors that kind of help you manage your career and your life.
Phillip K. Naithram: When you have kids too?
Anna Frazzetto: I have three steps on us.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, you have remarried?
Anna Frazzetto: I did. I got remarried, which was the greatest thing I ever did. In three step sons and I have six grandkids, so it’s awesome.
Phillip K. Naithram: When did you get married? The first time?
Anna Frazzetto: So, I got married. I was 24 years old, so it was literally just a couple of years. And, and that my advice to everyone is, do not get married at 24 years old because you have no idea what you want out of life at 24 years old.
Definitely look at waiting if you get married in your thirties, you know, as my, my suggestion, but yes, 24. So it was just not, you know, we grew apart, it was so easy to grow apart because we were. Graduated from my NYU at the same time. And, and clearly, we evolve differently and grow and, and that was the end of that.
Phillip K. Naithram: Do you think that’s what it is? Just you, you become a different person while every year of our life, right. Who we were last year? Isn’t who we are now, but you know, over time when you’re that young, you just. Your kind of still almost figuring out. I think I was kind of still figuring out who I was.
Anna Frazzetto: Oh, definitely. I think you still don’t know who you want to be. Right. And what you want to do for the rest of your life, let alone then figure out how you’re going to do it with someone else. Right. So that’s why when I got married, you know, the second time I got married I’ve married now the second time I’ve married for 16 years.
And, but we were both, you know, older, you know, wiser at different levels in our career already. Well-established as far as our careers and the trajectory for our careers. So, it was kind of interesting to see how you also approach the relationship differently. Because you have a level of maturity where you learned to hear each other out when you don’t agree on certain things.
It’s the true meaning of real, you know, compromise. Right. And being able to understand. So that’s why it’s like, it gives you a level of maturity that you, you can possibly have when you’re 24.
Phillip K. Naithram: How old were you when you were going through the divorce?
Anna Frazzetto: So, I was about 29 years old.
Phillip K. Naithram: And you were working at that time?
Anna Frazzetto: Yes, I was.
Phillip K. Naithram: What was that like? I mean, that’s gotta be a lot of pressure and a lot of,
Anna Frazzetto: I buried myself in work. I smelled I was at spirit on at the time. I excelled, I was doing great at work because I so got tunnel vision and just buried myself in work. But then, you know, personally, and emotionally I was, you know, a wreck but you know, again, you know, tunnel vision muster through it, you’re going to get through it.
Part of being that, you know, first-generation immigrant. Oh, like, no, nobody can know how much pain you’re in. Right. So just keep doing what you gotta do and survive and keep it all together for everybody. And that’s when, you know, I decided to get, you know, get some help. My sister was a pinnacle, a point in my life where she’s like, you’re not listening to me, but listen, you need to go speak to someone and I did, and that was the best advice as she could possibly get. And I loved it.
Phillip K. Naithram: Was there that feeling of like, as long as I look good on the outside, then no one knows how, how bad I’m doing on the inside and that’s, what’s important,
Anna Frazzetto: you know, I don’t even think I reflected long enough to even think that I’m not at all. I think I literally just, you know, kinda, you know, had the visors up and say, no, I’m focused tunnel vision, no time to. I feel the emotion of a, you know, it’s, it’s your morning, right? It’s a dead marriage, right? So, your guy, you should go through a mourning process. And I didn’t, I didn’t do that.
Phillip K. Naithram: And you know, your career or the stuff you’re doing at work, especially at that. You’re probably still doing more technical stuff. Those are things that you can control. Right?
Anna Frazzetto: Exactly. Which I loved. And it was also, I was involved on the, you know, kind of doing technical sales support and getting involved more on the sales side. So, I love clients. I loved interacting with people and that almost, I felt like that that gave me You know, the wind beneath my wings, so to speak, like it let me flourish.
And it, it, it fulfilled me in that way as opposed to you know, thinking about, you know, the marriage that didn’t work. And for the longest time, like you hit on something earlier where you talked about, you know, fear of failure or, you know, kind of, how do you approach it? I have to say that was the, the biggest lesson that I learned from me from my divorce was the fact of, you know I, I couldn’t fail like that was failure, right?
That you failed at your marriage regardless of who you want to blame. Right. In me, blame is 50 50 at the end of the day. And it was that whole thing that kind of made me realize, okay, no, you can fail and it’s okay. And just kind of learn from the experience.
Phillip K. Naithram: You know, that brings us to something that I ask every, every guest and I call it the jumping off point.
But it’s really what I mean by that is a moment where you can no longer keep doing what you’re doing, but you’re uncertain of what to do next. And it could be in your personal life, your professional life, wherever it is. Or even, you know, a moment looking back that at the time, it was a horrible experience where you thought at the time it was a horrible experience, but only now.
In reflection, you’re incredibly grateful for that experience because you wouldn’t be who you are or have the relationships that you have or the knowledge that you’ve gained from it. You know, what, what does that for you?
Anna Frazzetto: You know, it’s interesting because I think there’s so many. Actually, that as you, as you said, that my head was getting, you know, bombarded with different ideas, you know, the fact of, you know, going to NYU because my father was super strict and did not want me to, you know, go away to college.
Right. He wanted to make sure, you know, since I lived in the city, I could commute, you know, to NYU. So, it was easy, obviously that, you know, made me who I am, even though there were points in my life where I thought like, oh, I wish. But now in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t go away because I truly, I think it shaped me into who I am.
Being able to have the such a solid foundation at NYU. You know, the failure of the first marriage, I think shapes you in a way, even though that was a negative experience, but what it does is it actually taught me how to be a great. For my second marriage. Right? So, it was one of those things that I’m like, you know, a kind of, you know, worked out because it really helped me to better understand myself and better understand what relationships are like, because when you’re that young, you really can’t appreciate that.
So, I think those. Kind of avenues when I took the plunge of, you know, getting a hundred percent into sales. And that was because of my, you know, mentor at the time. But my mentor at the time was Bob Mano, who actually now is my husband that I’m referring to. So, it’s really kind of interesting. There’s probably some Freudian message there somewhere, but you know, him pushing me in the direction of doing sales and I was literally.
Horrified at the process and saying, I know nothing about sales, like, how am I going to do this? But him having the faith and the faith was strong enough to literally for both of us in the sense of pushing me in that direction. But now I’m so grateful. I think if I would’ve stayed the tech route, I wouldn’t be as fulfilled in my career as I am today because I literally can run.
The full gamut from sales to operations to delivery, which I’ve done in the past. And I, I, I love that, that I have that flexibility. So, there’s a few different points in my life that I could say are the, you know, jump off points, so to speak.
Phillip K. Naithram: Most people that I talk to have more. Right. There’s probably one that they can recall a little bit more of a fonder memory, or I don’t know if that’s the right word, but it sticks out a little bit more than the others.
But I think when we talk about building resiliency and building. Right. That is a repetitive action. I don’t think any one thing happens to us. And then we’re resilient from there on it’s probably it’s, it’s kinda, it’s like those knowing pains that just keep coming up, but we keep going anyway, right. That sort of.
GRIT or if you want to think of it, like working out, I think it’s like the S the lower rep, the more reps, lower weight, you know, you start to build some strength, almost like a wire cable. Like, it may not be that big, but it’s like, you know, Capuchin monkey strong. Right, right. You know? And I think that’s a, so that’s why I asked that question to everyone that I talked to you.
And I, I just, it fascinates me how people get to where they are and why they keep doing the things that they do. You know, what’s, what’s the biggest thing that terrifies you now. What’s your biggest. Like for right now,
Anna Frazzetto: my, my biggest fear is that I want to be able to leave enough like guidance and nuggets of lessons learnt to my nieces and my nephew and my grandkids.
Right. So, so my biggest fear is. Not being able to capture all that to pass on to them because you know, there’s tremendous amount of power and learning from people around you. And I feel the one thing that your kind of, you know, miss out in life is when you haven’t had that opportunity, when you feel like something’s been taken away.
Like my dad died really young and I wish I had him in my life, you know, a little bit longer. So, I think about those things. And I actually think like, oh my goodness, I want to make sure. That I can, you know either write down or, you know, leave little video clips, whatever the case is of like little pearls of wisdom that I could pass on to them so that they don’t have to experience the same, you know, pain and challenges that maybe you experienced as you’re trying to enhance your career.
Not so much directly from me, but also like the. Use mentors use, you know, use coaches use, you know, use your manager as, as a way to kind of lead you through that. So that I would say that’s probably one of my biggest fears is making sure that I can pass, pass things on.
Phillip K. Naithram: How old were you when your dad died?
Anna Frazzetto: So, I was 40.
Phillip K. Naithram: Do you think that your, your thought of like, especially you mentioned your nieces and your grandkids, like the people that you want to leave behind these messages for, do you think losing your dad at a relatively young age had to do with that?
Anna Frazzetto: Absolutely. Because you know what, he, he was so impactful in my career. And if you think about it, like when you, you know, when you hit. It was just under 40 I’m like, you’re just starting to get into a groove as far as what your career is going to be. So, it’d be nice. It’d be nice to still have him here as the sounding board, because he was always, I used to call him like, he was like the voice of calm, like no matter what the situation, no matter what the, the challenge I could talk.
Meanwhile, I mean, we’re talking about a man who had, you know, grade school education, but. Self-taught okay. So, he was an avid reader. I’m constantly learning. I mean, he would talk to me about, you know the latest, you know, like Jack Welsh and this and that amazing because it was always like self-taught.
So, I think that’s why I loved, you know, kind of, I can go to him with anything and he would be able to kind of cipher through it and, and kind of help me say, did you never give me the. Right. Never give the answer, but always would say, huh, did you think of, you know, possibly looking at that, you know, whatever that might be and, and he would just make you think, like he would shift my mind, like, think about it differently, approach it differently.
And I, he used to be like my focus, my focus lens. Right. Get me back and focus and on the right track.
Phillip K. Naithram: Well, it worked out really well for you did well. I you know, hopefully we can have you back on a couple more times and we can help you in that that opportunity to leave behind those nuggets, not just for your nieces and your grandkids, but for other people that that want to follow in your footsteps or just learn from your experience.
I mean, I think looking back, like, what do you think so far? To get you where you are now, what’s been the number one lesson that you learned either from doing something wrong or doing something right.
Anna Frazzetto: I have to say determination, right? Impact. Right. Whatever you do in life, be passionate about it. Don’t go at it half fast, because if you’re not passionate about it, then that should not be the avenue you should be pursuing and determination and determination.
Like you, you gotta be determined to see it to the end. I think that sometimes it’s so easy to give up. Because we have a life that things can be, you know, we can have access to things so easy, maybe so then it’s easy to just kind of chalk it up and say, oh, okay, didn’t work out. I’ll move onto something else.
But I think if you have tremendous passion for a particular goal, a particular career, a particular milestone that you want to achieve, have the determination that.
Phillip K. Naithram: It’s, it’s easy to start. It’s not easy to finish. That’s true. Well, like I said, hopefully we can have you back on a couple more times.
I’d love to help you, you know, keep spreading the word. And I really appreciate you being here with us today.
Anna Frazzetto: Thank you so much, Phillip this has been absolutely fantastic. It was almost a therapy session, so it was great.
Phillip K. Naithram: Well, so anyone listening that wants to get in touch with you to kind of just learn from your mentorship, learn from your experience, grab a cup of coffee or whatever it is.
What’s the best way to get in?
Anna Frazzetto: touch. I think is the best way to get ahold of me. I respond to all my LinkedIn messages. So, it’s Anna dot for Zerto, F as in Frank, R a Z, Z E T T O. And I am open to, you know, reaching out to me on the cell phone too, which actually my LinkedIn has my cell phone information there. So, you can reach me that way too.
Phillip K. Naithram: And you’re, full-time in Jersey, right. But how often are you down here? Around DC?
Anna Frazzetto: Probably about four or five times a year.
Phillip K. Naithram: So, they can even meet you in person.
Anna Frazzetto: We’d love it.
Phillip K. Naithram: All right. Thanks so much.