Learning to Lead


February, 2019

At the ripe young age of 25, my husband and I welcomed our oldest son, Cash. A golden, vibrant baby, Cash came into this world kicking and screaming—trusting his parents to know what it takes to lead a newborn through to adulthood.

I’ll let you in on a secret: I very much had no idea what I was doing.

This became evident meer days after getting home from the hospital as I sat, panicked, rocking my colicky baby, with the nurse on speed dial, a pile of borrowed books on the nightstand, and 87 tabs open in my browser with parenting tips & tricks. I was an anxious, tired mess and I could say the same for Cash.

Somewhere, in one of those conversations or books or articles, I picked up on a key piece of advice: I’m the leader, here. I set the tone. My energy matters.

So I focused on shifting my behaviors and observed the impact. When I sought the help I needed, and found myself to equilibrium, Cash would meet me there with coos and giggles. When I suffered sleeplessness and fell into delirium and anxiety, he’d begrudgingly meet me there, too.

As Cash grew into boyhood, our lives grew with him. Add in a little brother, a puppy, school, homework, careers… and I was once again just as lost as I was in those precious few days after Cash was born. Gradually, but also very quickly, really, (where does the time go?) I found myself knocked over by the chaos of our life.

And guess who met me there?

Amongst the chaos, I reminded myself: I’m the leader, here. I set the tone. My energy matters.

I took my advice. I reset my intentions, asked for help, and took ownership for the energy I foster. The shift in my homelife isn’t as palpable as it was when measured in baby tears and nap schedules, but a distinct ease now reverberates through all of us. We’ve grown from surviving to thriving.




There’s a direct parallel between my experiences as a young parent and my experiences as a growing leader.

Whether leading globally-dispersed teams at Google, ideating in the earliest founding days at my last startup, or navigating a new challenge here at Avanoo… that same message guides me through the mountains and valleys.

It’s empowered me to build strong, aligned, high-performing teams. It fosters trust and lifelong relationships. It rewards me with a sense of meaning and fulfillment. It drives me to lead with authenticity.

I’m a leader, here. I set the tone. My energy matters.

Alex Ostler

Head of Marketing, Avanoo