We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelley Iocona and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shelley, how do you think about risk?
Risk-taking didn’t come naturally to me. Sometime during college is when I started to realize that if I didn’t take risks, many of the experiences I wanted in life likely wouldn’t happen and I would remain in the status quo. Naturally, the way I think about risk-taking now versus during my early life/career is quite different. I believe risk-taking is required to achieve anything of great magnitude. This is especially true when it comes to entrepreneurship; starting a business is one of the biggest risks an individual can take. I like to think that I take calculated risks based on data but the truth is I sometimes go with my gut and it’s really never let me down. Risk-taking has taught me that life is worth experiencing, that not all risks will pay off but that taking risks is a differentiator. Even if I fail, I will have learned something. And that is a step forward.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I run an innovation consulting firm helping enterprises accelerate faster and at scale. ON ITS AXIS was started in 2009 and since then we’ve partnered with some of the brightest, most forward-thinking companies to spark change, enhance agility, and optimize growth. We didn’t always serve Fortune 1000 customers. We spent many years supporting early-stage and high-growth startups exclusively. As we developed a framework for our service offering and added team members, we realized we could bring more value by serving a larger audience whose products are essentially household names. We spend a good bit of time optimizing employee engagement and developing innovation teams who head up new ventures within enterprises. The work is challenging, rewarding, and meaningful to us. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this entrepreneurial journey is that the more I’m aware of what I don’t know, and can articulate that, the more support I can receive in return. Partnerships and giving back are a big way we as a firm have been able to grow so quickly over the last few years. It hasn’t been easy to find the right formula, and we’ll need to continue tweaking, but what we’re doing is working and that feels great. As a company, I’m most proud of our commitment to give back. My business partner and I have been able to tie the nonprofit she founded to our charity work as a company, donating 10% of net fees we receive on staffing client engagements to the charity of our client’s choosing. As part of this work, we participate in endurance events such as marathons, bike rides, and triathlons as either participants or volunteers on behalf of local charities. When you’re able to do good as part of your work, and incorporate activities you find enjoyable, it’s highly rewarding.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Our little spot in Newport Beach/Costa Mesa has a few tried-and-true gems. A Duffy boat ride in Newport Bay during the day followed by a walk around Little Balboa Island or a hike at Crystal Cove would be a great introduction to anyone visiting. Nightlife is low-key but live music and great cocktails would be enjoyed at Boathouse Collective. Of course, one of the days we’d have to spend time walking or bike riding around Lido Isle and stop by our favorite co-working space, HanaHaus. Dinner and drinks at Zinqué Cafe are a nice choice overlooking the water and for an amazing meal with excellent service, we choose The Dock. Other favorite spots to hang out, eat, drink, and shop are The Camp and The Lab anti-mall along with SOCO and The OC Mix.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents instilled strong values in me and encouraged me to follow my heart. Despite the fact that I chose different experiences from them, they supported me along the way and saw me moving forward even if I saw myself falling behind. Believing in someone’s capabilities and articulating you believe in them is very powerful.