Who: Marlene Dolan
Company: InsightShare LLC
Has held title for: 11 months
Previous title: Senior VP of human resources, Forum Corp.
The diminutive Marlene Dolan does not mind telling you: She's a tough babe. As the project meanie at InsightShare, a CRM software-and-services company based in Andover, Massachusetts, it's Dolan's job to keep her coworkers on schedule — using any means necessary.
Do you have to be cruel to be kind?
I don't know if I have to be mean, but I am. The CEO chose the title, and she meant it to be humorous. But to me, she was really saying, "Look, let's get this damn thing done."
Are people afraid of you?
Maybe. But I can get away with it. I'm like one of those little Chihuahuas that bark their heads off. It's like, What are you going to do, bite my sock?
But it isn't easy being mean.
Sometimes I feel like I'm the conservative in a group of left-wing demonstrators. Everybody looks at me like, "She looks like the CIA!" I used to think I was cool.
How do you maintain the golden meanie?
When I do a good job, I'm like the tough coach everybody loves to hate. I bring people down to earth, and they know that if they stick with a project, they'll get to a new level.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.