Life at Reveal Group – Morgan Conque
Tell me about your college aspirations. What was your chosen field of study, and what were your initial career expectations?
When I first went to college, I was set on pursuing a medical career. So, I studied biology. I was on a pre-med track, and my initial expectations were to be a provider or doctor in the Military and serve the most deserving population. As I progressed in my education and rounded off my undergraduate degree in biology, I had a change of heart about becoming a hands-on doctor. Still, I wanted to enable those providing care. I began to focus on a path toward logistics and operations. As I participated in our Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, a course in a curriculum that I went through to become an officer while I was pursuing my degree, I realized I loved planning, strategy, and the logistics behind it all – kind of like a giant puzzle that I enjoyed piecing together.
What led you to serve your country? Did you have family in the Military?
I did not have family in the Military, but I was at a point in my life where I was nervous about making the most of my undergraduate time. Pursuing ROTC created the structure and productivity that I craved. Ultimately, the decision to join the Military was to pursue medicine, but I now look back on it fondly for different reasons.
Describe the evolution of your career transitioning from your role in the Military’s medical services to Sales. What aspects have changed and what elements have remained constant?
When I was first commissioned as an army officer, I managed a medical supply office for one of the brigades, a unit of about 4,000 soldiers. We had a supply warehouse where I tracked medical maintenance statuses, available services, oxygen, medications, etc. It was a lot of fun. Then, I transitioned into managing a different type of platoon for medical treatment, where I worked my way up. By the end of my time in the Army, I was a Medical Operations and Logistics Officer for the First Cavalry Division. I was holding two roles at a grade lower than what was required. I had a lot of fun in that role, overseeing the medical operations and logistics for over 18,000 soldiers.
I eventually decided I didn’t want to spend my whole career on active duty, so I transitioned out. People tend to have this rigorous view of veterans and characterize you, i.e., having a regimented language, using specific acronyms, leading a team without emotion, etc. So, transitioning into the civilian sector came with a lot of anxiety as a former Officer.
I first transitioned into a role where I was managing an infusion pharmacy. It was a compounding infusion pharmacy where IV medications were compounded in a highly regulated lab. I managed 82 individuals on my team, a team of nurses and a team of pharmacists. I had a whole medication warehouse. We ran infusion services at CVS for the state of Washington and parts of Alaska. It was a blast. Then, as life progressed, I had to relocate to Texas to be closer to my husband’s family, and in doing that, I pivoted my career into a new opportunity that came up, which happened to be in sales. It was not something I was familiar with, but I started having fun quickly. I started as a bid manager, managing proposals through the sales cycle, responding to RFPs, and things like that. It quickly expanded my scope to managing sales platforms, enablement, content, and strategy.
Can you share an example of when you learned something valuable that helped your career?
Early in my post-military career, I learned the value of perspective. That became incredibly important as I started to work within a more politically driven organization. Corporations we know, at their scale, have politics and seniority and nuances like that. In my previous experiences in the Military, they existed, but they weren’t as complicated. They were relationship-based because there were rules and roles with clear boundaries within the Military. Understanding perspective enabled me to navigate advocacy for myself, my team, and any initiatives I ran. I learned that I must understand how others would view our efforts or how our efforts impacted them and position that to stakeholders or leaders.
There were eight pharmacy techs I needed to do a compensation review for. We were paying $16 an hour in Seattle, WA, and it was an incredibly competitive market for someone certified to work in a high-compliance environment. It took me a couple of months, but I could advocate for pay raises to $23.00 an hour, which significantly changed the culture, attitude, and, essentially, my team’s confidence in my ability to run the branch. More importantly, they felt heard. I could only have done that by engaging with different trusted individuals on the team to understand how to communicate the benefits effectively.
In what ways has your experience in the Military shaped your leadership style?
My experience in the Military quickly exposed me to very diverse teams. As an officer, I was often a younger member of a unit coming fresh out of college. I grew up in Idaho, so I was exposed to only a few individuals of color. Boise, ID, was a less diverse place back then. The Military exposed me to people of different religious backgrounds and economic statuses. It taught me that I had to find common ground quickly. I was more comfortable doing that with humor, so I often led with humor. It sounds cheesy whether it’s me making fun of myself or a situation, but we can all begin to trust each other if we’re laughing together. That shaped me early on to build trust fast because I could engage on a more human level. At the same time, the team knew when I was serious. I learned how to lead a team and motivate each one differently – that was a good foundation.
I view my experience in the Military as a time when I was exposed to diverse ways of thinking. Some of that was driven by us being stationed in different locations, different types of missions, or just interacting with various military forces. When I first started, I was deployed to Germany, and we were exposed to NATO forces from other NATO countries, which was incredible. Seeing how they pack things differently, why they pack certain things and not others, and how they define their processes was disruptive enough to me and gave me a more open way of thinking and incorporating different points of view. Then, I was stationed and deployed to South Korea for nine months to run personnel operations. I worked alongside Katusa, who are soldiers in the Republic of Korea’s Army.
After that, it was Afghanistan. Despite what they prepare you for, I advised an Afghani military core element around medical operations and logistics. I advised an army hospital. I got to know many of their doctors and their Chief Medical Officer. I helped them categorize and inventory all their medical equipment and put it on maintenance cycles. I worked with their warehouse to ensure we were pushing out critical supplies so their frontline soldiers could evacuate and survive. One challenge was figuring out how to evacuate a mission quickly, which took a couple of days. We went from a 17-hour evacuation cycle to three, which was incredible. You feel successful and accomplished, but sustaining the change was the real challenge. They’ve faced cycles and cycles of different elements and officers, and you need to know what’s been communicated beforehand.
As a woman, they don’t prepare you for walking through the hospital and all the soldiers taking pictures of you. I had to have a security detail because of that. They were really worried about females on their base or even in the hospital. There were several scenarios where I was asked to cover up, and they were always handled respectfully. Many Afghani officers I was working closely with would correct others about how to interact with me or emphasize the value I could bring to them, which started meaning a lot.
What motivated your transition to a role in the automation industry?
I look back on my transition to a role in the automation industry as serendipitous. It ultimately became an industry and a role that has suited me well. I remain fascinated and curious in the conversations I’m exposed to and excited about where the industry is headed.
What skills do you think are essential for success in your role as Executive GM, Sales Ops?
To succeed in my role, you must be comfortable with the unknown; in many situations, we operate in a dynamic environment. The pipeline is constantly changing, the market shifts, and you must balance Partners’ points of view with our internal team and their capabilities. Often, being successful is staying positive when everything could go wrong. If we face a massive deal, there’s a lot to manage – we must get it staffed and resourced, consider red lines, contracting, and partner discounts. It’s critical to navigate it all while remaining optimistic. The critical thinking required to get through those puzzles has made me successful.
As we look ahead to 2024, what aspects of intelligent automation are you most anticipating or excited about?
As we look ahead to 2024, I expect to see more dynamic and collaborative solutions. From 2022 to 2023, RPA vendors were trying to establish a one-stop shop. One vendor’s product line is only sometimes best suited for all and doesn’t answer clients’ needs anymore. This past year, we defined a critical solution combining a couple of different document processing capabilities to show that you can achieve the economics required to be sustainable in your digital transformation – but you must think outside a single technology. There’s an attitude toward vendor indifference right now, which will breed some exciting solutions this year. I’m excited to see what the Reveal Group team produces because they continue to surprise me. I’m here for all the exciting new capabilities and how the team applies them this year.
Female leaders of today are an inspiration for generations to follow. As a mother of two, how do you achieve a work/life balance?
I had my first child, Scarlett, when I was running the infusion branch in Washington. I would be working twelve-hour days sometimes. It’s in my nature to remain hands-on and advocate for my team. If the team needed me or I was in the back of the warehouse packing boxes and medication to go out, I was in the trenches with my team, so they knew I was in it with them. I was lifting massive bags of IV fluid during my third trimester, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It earned me a lot of respect, and I became approachable. It took a lot of work for people to find me approachable as a veteran fresh from active duty. When I was pregnant, I didn’t know the boundaries I needed to set. Once my kid came, using work as an excuse became easy. But I always ensured that I was there for the critical moments: breakfast, drop off, bedtime, and if you plan around it, you can do it intelligently, but you can’t do it alone. We can’t do it all by ourselves, and I have the most incredible spouse, a wonderful father who helps me maintain that balance and boundaries.
Being a mother is your superpower. I had to get comfortable with bringing my kids on camera while working from home – but it ends up being your superpower because it grounds you and makes you relatable.