Inspiring Leadership Stories with Derek Pando

MLP 116: Inspiring Leadership Stories with Derek Pando from Zoom

Sometimes inspiration is a direct result of humility combined with a willingness to learn.

Seeking mentors with lots of credentials and a big reputation for inspiration is not a bad idea.  You can find plenty of motivation looking at less obvious sources as well.

In episode 116 of the Meeting Leadership Podcast, we welcome back Derek Pando of Zoom Communications.  He speaks on the subject of finding inspiration in unlikely places, and much more.

Derek Pando

Derek Pando - Meeting Leadership Podcast - Effective Meetings

Derek Pando leads Partner and International Marketing at Zoom Video Communications. He has spent his career at high growth enterprise software companies including Salesforce and LinkedIn. He has held a variety of different marketing roles in his career. His expertise is in product marketing, international marketing, marketing strategy and social selling. He also writes and speaks on collaboration, technology, marketing, and professional relationships. He speaks Spanish fluently and can get by in Portuguese. If you a lot of time to kill, ask him about his vegetable garden. 

You can follow him on his personal blog ( or on Twitter (@djpando).

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00:00 – Show Opening

Gordon Sheppard: If you are a leader who wants to be inspired by the younger people in your organization, or if you’re one of those younger people and you’re looking to manage up, then you’re going to get a lot out of today’s episode, because today we’re going to hear another inspiring leadership story, and we’ve got Derek Pando from Zoom to share his inspiration about the young people that are inspiring him.

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:48 – Podcast content starts here!

Gordon Sheppard: Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard, and I just want to say thanks so much for taking time out of your valuable day to spend time here on the podcast, looking for another tip, another strategy, another way to become a stronger leader who knows how to run outstanding meetings. Really, it’s great to have you here. Today on the show we are lucky enough to have Derek Pando back from Zoom. He’s going to share an inspiring leadership story. 

01:10 – Welcome back, Derek Pando! – MLP 102 – MLP 109

Gordon Sheppard: For those of you who have not met Derek yet, he was on episode 102 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. It was called How Zoom Video Conferencing Software Makes Meetings Better, and you can get that episode by going to Then Derek was back on the show on episode 109, and that was called How to Lead Highly Productive Online Meetings, because Derek in his role at Zoom does this all day long. Again, you can get that one by going to

01:56 – More details about Derek Pando

Gordon Sheppard: and in the meantime, let me give you a few more details about Derek Pando. Now, he leads partner and international marketing at Zoom Video Communications. He spent his career at high growth enterprise software companies, including Salesforce and LinkedIn, and his expertise, well, it is in product marketing, international marketing, marketing strategy and social selling. As a leader, Derek is absolutely on a rocket ship right now. His company in the last couple of years has gone from 500 to 2,000 employees. But also as a leader, Derek has taken the time to acknowledge the fact that there are so many young, bright people coming into the organization who absolutely inspire him. Today the inspiring story he’s going to share is just along those lines, so stick around. Here’s the great inspiring leadership story from Derek Pando.

Gordon Sheppard: Derek, welcome back to the show. It is great to have you here again.

Derek Pando: Thanks, Gordon. Very excited to be here again.

03:18 – Derek’s self-introduction

Gordon Sheppard: If the people listening to this show were lucky enough, they’ve already heard you twice, 102, 109 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast, blockbuster episodes. You were giving out your best tips for the online video conferencing, how to do it, where it’s going, what’s so great about zoom software. I mean, it really has been great to have you here. There might be some people listening though that haven’t heard those episodes. Derek, when you introduce yourself, what do you tell people?

Derek Pando: I work for Zoom where we do video communications, and our goal and vision is to make video communications easy and frictionless no matter what device or where you are. My role to play in that, even though I’ve had many different roles in the last two and a half years here, currently I run our international and partner marketing.

03:54 – What inspires Derek Pando? – The hunger to learn and grow

Gordon Sheppard: Well, and it’s super exciting again for me just being a super fan of Zoom, I could go on and on and on, but today we’re actually here to have you hear from your senior leadership perspective to share an inspiring story. So, I’m just going to ask that basic question, see where we go. Derek, what inspires you?

Derek Pando: When you asked me this, the thing I kept thinking about was actually some of our interns here at Zoom. I’ve had the chance to have a few of them, and over the past year or two they’ve come on as full-time employees. So, if I had to say what inspires me, watching people enter the workforce with a lot of enthusiasm and a hunger to learn and to grow, the kind of young people that are fucking every single negative thing that gets said about people entering the workforce, I’ve just found really inspiring. I’ve been able to play a little role in encouraging them and helping them, but also just thinking about, “Man, what are they going to do in 15 years? I’m going to be calling them for a job,” has been something that’s been very inspiring.

04:54 – An inspiring example

Gordon Sheppard: Well, that’s fantastic. Obviously I would think you’re attracting some of the brightest and best because your company is on this rocket ship and you’re on the rise. Maybe you could give me the name, like the first name of somebody without sort of giving out a full name, and you don’t have to give a real name if you don’t want to, but I’d love to hear an example of what you’re talking about where you had an interaction that was inspiring.

Derek Pando: I’m thinking about Farshad. He might be listening to this, so if you’re listening to this, hi Farshad. But I think one thing about Farshad is just his enthusiasm and positivity is contagious. Right? Like no matter what you give him, he does it with a smile and he’s willing to help out when he sees some of his teammates are struggling either with the workload or personally. He cares a lot, and not everyone can do that all the time. But I find it very uplifting to be around someone like that. And so sometimes when there’s the moments where I’m not feeling super hot, it’s great to know I can go to him and say, “Hey man, let’s chat,” because I know I’m always going to be cheered up having a discussion with you. He has a gift to be able to see the bright side of everything and have a lot of enthusiasm, which I think is going to be something that helps him throughout his whole career.

05:43 – The humility to know you can’t do it all

Gordon Sheppard: Well, and I really appreciate your leadership perspective, because you’re obviously in a significant role, you’ve got people that are following you, and yet what you’ve just said includes the humility to know that you can’t sort of be doing it all and there are moments when you can go and reach out even to someone in a younger role and not feel like you have to be… let’s say you’re not up that day and you’ve got a chance to go to someone who’s really sort of, I’m going to say specializing or good at sort of being up in that kind of thing, and really be able to reach out to them. Congratulations. That’s great.

Derek Pando: Thanks. Yeah. I think he gets most of the credit for that. He makes it really easy. I’m sure I’m not the only one in the office who feels that way. But yeah, he’s been a great inspiration to many of us, and we’re really happy and grateful he’s on our team.

Gordon Sheppard: Well, and you sound like old man Derek, because what? You’re 72 years old, is that right?

Derek Pando: I know, I did say the term young people, which I’m like, “I don’t know if that’s ever come out of my mouth before.”

Gordon Sheppard: Oh my goodness.

Derek Pando: But I guess it’s that stage of life.

Gordon Sheppard: How old are you?

Derek Pando: I’m 34.

06:26 – The inspiration of the youthful spark

Gordon Sheppard: You’re 34, isn’t that interesting? I’m 52, and when I get into that conversation, I would love… the other piece I’ll pick up on earlier that you said is when we see young people coming in, and you would know your own attitude and you’ve been on that rocket ship in your experience in the roles that you’ve had throughout your career, what are you seeing again about this spark, about these types of people, again, that’s inspiring? Are they the same as you were when you entered the workforce, or what are you seeing that sort of inspiring from them?

Derek Pando: I think it’s just a good attitude and willingness to just… an excitement to learn. You know? I think later in our careers, sometimes we can get a little more jaded around, “Oh, I have to do this thing and it’s beneath me,” or, “This is not using my skills to the fullest.” Whereas at that level, they’re just excited to be going to work every day and to have a good job and to be learning. I think part of it is where we are in Silicon Valley. This is a very competitive, expensive place to live, and so a lot of the people that are here are very purpose driven and they have a plan and they’ve got things they want to accomplish, and so we see that in a lot of our entry level workforce.

I also think they’re drawn… you know, you mentioned, when I joined Zoom two and half years ago, there was 500 employees. Now there are over 2,000. I think a lot