From liberal arts PhD to pre-IPO startup CEO with Shift’s Toby Russell

Transitioning between different types of professional roles can be challenging — new expectations arise, and fresh ways of seeing the world are required to be successful. A few weeks ago, I interviewed Anjul Bhambhri of Adobe about how she transitioned from engineering into product, where she now leads the company’s customer experience cloud.

This week, I chatted with Toby Russell, the co-CEO of online used car marketplace Shift, which generated $135 million in revenue last year and has raised $293 million in venture capital according to Crunchbase. The company is targeting an IPO in 2021.

While we have written a lot about Shift, we have written far less about Russell, whose career spans a model he calls “learn, earn, and serve.” He received a PhD in international relations at Oxford, switched to founding a startup, then served in the Obama Energy Department, before heading over to Capital One to lead digital and eventually rejoining his friend George Arison and Shift’s co-founder as co-CEO.

Across these roles, Russell has had to adapt to very different environments, and we chatted about those transitions, his lessons learned, and his approach to leadership.

This post was originally posted at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/P6DhJAoZydU/.

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