40 Under 40: Mike Baird

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MIKE BAIRD

Pura | CXO | Pleasant Grove | AGE 39

Mike Baird nose what’s up. He’s CXO of Pura — the stellar smart home fragrance diffuser company that’s dominating its market (and was named Company of the Year last issue by yours truly). Mike has been busy directing innovation through new product research and development, as well as assembling top-talent team members building Pura’s first User Experience Org, which combines software, hardware, product management, industrial design and customer care. Before Pura, Mike was a powerhouse at Pluralsight and HP after graduating from UVU with a bachelor’s in computer science and interaction design.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT Being able to associate myself with some of the best humans I’ve ever met. HARDEST MOMENT Choosing to stay in Utah over and over with many compelling opportunities to leave. I finally decided to take a step down as a design director at a Fortune 500 company to join a small company in Utah with no clear path and only a hope and a prayer of finding work that I love with people I love. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. LEADERSHIP STYLE To build trusting relationships with a clear vision on the most important metrics for the customer and the business. As a user experience leader, I strive to empower teams to discover opportunities and solutions that anticipate our users’ behavior. It’s also important to own your mistakes and seek feedback from the team on how they are experiencing you as a leader. BEST PART OF BEING YOUNG IN BUSINESS As one of the oldest in this “under 40” article, I actually love learning from the younger minds. They bring new perspective and energy to the problems and opportunities we are solving. I’m excited with how much more there is left to learn. HARDEST PART OF BEING YOUNG IN BUSINESS It can feel intimidating and challenging at times to gain influence with leaders and board members around strategic direction and ideas. As I continue to learn and grow, I have found this has a lot more to do with me being an active listener and continuously seeking and sharing context. MAIN MOTIVATION Creating value for as many people as possible and doing work that I love with people who I love, everyday. ULTIMATE CAREER DREAM I’d love to have the financial freedom to continue to explore new and exciting ways of making life better in more sustainable ways.

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