- Vimeo CEOAnjali Sud can credit part of her success to the best advice she was given – from her father.
- Sud’s father encouraged his daughter to leave her comfort zone and enter positions where she is not necessarily experienced.
- Sud has pushed herself into new experiences by attending prep school, spending time as an investment banker, and becoming a 34-year-old CEO.
When Anjali Sud was offered the job as the CEO of Vimeo at age 34, she called her dad immediately.
“My dad’s given me great advice. Probably one piece of advice that I give to others that he’s given to me is to live outside of your comfort zone. It speaks somewhat to the philosophy of ‘put yourself in positions where you might not have a ton of experience.'”
Sud became CEO of IAC-owned Vimeo in July 2017 after joining the company as the head of marketing in 2014. In between, she was charged with recruiting filmmakers, which Vimeo calls creators.
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Sud started following her father’s advice early, by applying to a prep school as a 13-year-old who just discovered the world outside of public school. Sud said that she and her father, an Indian immigrant who operates a plastics recycling plant in Sud’s hometown of Flint, Michigan, were walking through a Barnes & Noble store when they found a book called “The Best High Schools in America.”
“I didn’t know there was a thing called prep schools; I didn’t know that was a thing that existed,” Sud said. “We didn’t really know what we were doing. My dad bought me the book. The next day, I started applying. I applied to maybe 30 schools, ranging from a military academy to a Catholic school. I really didn’t know anything.”
Sud called applying to high schools across the country “an experiment,” but one that pushed her out of the zone she was comfortable in. At such a young age, Sud had put herself into a new position and used that as a springboard for success.
After graduating from the prestigious Phillips Academy Andover, Sud attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Harvard Business School. After college, Sud worked as an investment banker even though she knew that the banking life was not included in her long-term goals. “I did it for really one reason, which is I wanted to be really well-versed in finance, and I wanted to see how value was created and destroyed,” Sud said.
Again, she listened to her father’s advice of putting herself in new experiences. Her time in the finance field – specifically learning about mergers and acquisitions – paid off. Vimeo acquired Livestream within Sud’s first 90 days as CEO and she credits her time as an investment banker with helping her through the process.
The advice followed Sud through her time working at Amazon and eventually with Vimeo.
“It’s something I feel like I’ve done my whole life,” Sud said of pushing her own boundaries. “Leaving home at 14, going to Andover, where I didn’t know really anything, I was definitely outside my comfort zone then. In many of the roles I’ve had at Amazon and certainly at Vimeo, I’ve been in situations where it wasn’t like I had the playbook and I knew exactly what to do.”
Sud said she’ll continue to follow her father’s advice as her career continues.
“I think that when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone, you get off that learning curve so much faster and you develop as a leader so much faster,” she said. “I tell people to get comfortable doing that and do it as early as you can in your career.”
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