It’s been four years: Why I just elected to call myself CEO

In 2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic changing the outlook of the economy and the way businesses were conducted, I decided to leave my previous job and start my own company. However, this decision came with a lot of work to be done, including determining the services I should offer, the name of the company, and yes, even what title I should take.

I used to joke that you could give anyone a title. I never thought much about them—and I had some non-traditional ones: SVP of Creative Strategy, Head of Creative Solutions, and Solutions Architect. At my former agency employers, I embraced the differentiation between my strategy roles and the subsequent off-the-beaten-path naming conventions bestowed upon me. It made me stand out and sparked my clients’ curiosity when I was addressed in meetings. 

Internally, I was often lost in a system with no clear growth development plan. For better or worse, I was a post-hole dug too deep in the ground to move. 

That changed when I transitioned to the client side, where I came to appreciate clarity and hierarchy within organizations through roles and responsibilities. As I transitioned to the client side of the business, first Ford and then General Motors,  I was pleased to see that my management experience and conservative job title were used to determine my compensation and rank. But this, of course, came at a cost. While a title intends to ensure transparency and fairness in the workplace, I was back to feeling that a title could be limiting and didn’t capture the full scope of my role. 

What a mess. I felt bad for recruiters scouring through my LinkedIn profile. 

But enough ranting about titles, you get the picture – titles increase my anxiety levels when I think about them. This leads us back to the original intent of this blog post. Where are we today, and what should I refer to myself as? When Telemetry shot out the gates, I used president and principal. This was very intentional. As a small business, we didn’t have a formal board of directors or a management structure full of C-suite roles. I chose “president” to emphasize my role as the leader of Telemetry, and “principal” to signify that I owned the company. 

We incorporated officially in July of 2020. Nearly four years into this journey and we’ve evolved considerably as a company. It’s no longer just myself – we have nine employees and a team of over 40 freelancers (and growing). As the company expands, more senior voices have joined us, enabling me to think beyond my original role. 

Two titles often confuse the top of a company: CEO and President. While both represent positions of leadership, they have distinct areas of focus.

The CEO is considered the ultimate leader. They are the ship’s captain, steering the company’s course and setting its long-term vision. Their primary responsibility is crafting strategies for sustainable growth, identifying new market opportunities, and making crucial decisions that impact the company’s financial health. CEOs are accountable to a board of directors or advisors, who entrust them with the company’s future. The CEO also serves as the company’s public face.

In contrast, the President functions as the CEO’s right hand, ensuring the smooth execution of the grand vision. They are the masterminds behind the day-to-day operations, overseeing all departments and internal processes. From managing teams to achieving short-term goals, the President keeps the company running like a well-oiled machine. They are the first mate, working tirelessly to translate the CEO’s strategies into tangible results.

As a smaller boutique agency, my role has bled into the responsibilities of both president and CEO. However, after four years, we’ve established ourselves as Telemetry, not just Craig Daitch’s agency. For four years, I elected to refer to myself as president of Telemetry. Moving forward, however, I’m focused on my duties as CEO and founder of the most amazing integrated communications agency I could have imagined. 

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