Managing Success

At SunGard, we were growing fast, organically and through acquisition.  During this time, I was asked by our executives to serve on a cross-organizational team creating a 5-year plan to double our revenue to $1B for our new private investors.  During this time, I also worked with newly acquired divisions to find synergies, align strategy, and introduce new teams to our culture.  And as we grew, I helped define common job families and competencies across our organization.

At the same time, we needed to mature processes in key areas, and to create patterns that would help us scale across the entire organization.  So I worked with leadership and business teams to streamline processes for solution ideation, launch, and sunset, and worked with internal and outside counsel, and our compliance team to improve protocols for anti-trust and export compliance.  I also supported our transition from waterfall to lean agile product development, and from local to global R&D.  And I was awarded recognition and advancement within the company for process improvements along the way.

 

Leading partnerships

To meet our revenue and margin goals at Ellucian and SunGard, we needed to partner well and thoughtfully manage those partnerships.  As Product Manager for Common Components, I led some of our most successful partnerships, consistently setting high expectations with our sponsors and then leading our teams, our partners, and our customers to excellence.

In one example, directed by leadership to create reliable, non-dilutive revenue growth for our investors in an area outside our core competency, I led an integrated OEM solution to consistent 30% or greater annual growth for 12 years, to $15MM in annual revenue - our largest partnership outside of our platform vendor.

My roles included identifying partners and opportunities, defining and negotiating terms for new partnerships and renewals, engaging customers, and managing operational success.  As our market penetration increased for these successful solutions, I helped our teams and partners expand our value so we could generate compelling new offers while retaining our customers and growing revenue.  And where we had solutions that produced less value over time or became unsustainable, I helped identify paths forward that retained customer loyalty while allowing us to evolve our vision for the business, including sunsets, replacements, and repositionings guided by close collaboration.

Along the way, I actively managed nearly every form of partnership we maintained - co-marketing, lead generation, resale, OEM, ISV, implementation and managed services, and channel sales - working closely with Sales, Business Development, Marketing, Services, Finance, and Legal for our teams and partners. From this experience, I grew to love partnerships and shared successes.

 

Analytics at Work

My degrees are in applied math and physics, with graduate studies in machine learning, vision, and data visualization.  These skills were helpful at Ultimate Software where I was product manager for our predictive and prescriptive analytics solutions for talent managers.  Among my responsibilities, I helped customers overcome their unfamiliarity with machine predictors and prescriptive analytics, turning doubters into believers.  These were also some of my favorite solutions, because they aligned with my education and generated great customer results; like the customer who was able to prepare for and ultimately prevent a top performer from resigning based on my team's product's predictions.  For these and other tools I managed, designed to coach managers into leaders, we were consistently applauded by analysts and investors in our space.

 

Analytics at Home

In our community and across the state of Florida, public schools were suffering from years of cuts to the capital budgets used for building safety and systems maintenance.  So a group of us worked to form a sensible plan for providing capital revenue and public oversight for our school district’s 73,000 learners. And then we delivered.  To raise public support for this measure, which had failed on past ballots, we worked with large public voter data sets and analytics tools like Tableau to visualize and guide decisions leading to our success.  In particular, through analytics we were able to direct our time and resources most effectively, and with visualization we could show others that winning was possible, and earn their support. Thanks to smart data use and lots of teamwork and sweat equity, the measure passed, raising an anticipated $200MM for local public education over its six year duration.

 

Counseling and Helping Others

While in college, I typically worked more than one job at a time to pay for education expenses.  Along the way, I served as a tutor for students who were struggling academically, often in math or science, and as a campus counselor for students who were struggling to find their way through college.  Having experienced challenges and setbacks in my own academic journey, I had empathy for others and helpful experience to share.  Through counseling and tutoring, I learned that I enjoyed helping others realize their potential.  And these themes of turning aspiration into action and helping people so they can help others have run through my professional and personal service ever since.

 

Service leadership and advocacy

I serve on the board of the Brevard Schools Foundation to help ensure sustainable excellence within our public schools.  I have also been privileged to serve in other community leadership roles supporting local aspirations for arts, culture, destination, workforce, and economic development through strategic partnerships and smart investment of public resources.

Periodically, I travel around the state to share our aspirations with business and community leaders and our elected officials.  And I regularly meet with state officials to provide evidence and advocacy for targeted public funding to seed innovative partnerships and productive programs.

In November 2017, Matt Reed and I explored some of these themes on “Brevard Watch”.  We discussed how the Brevard Schools Foundation supports innovation, engages our community, and changes lives.  We examined the impacts of strategic public funding for arts, culture, revitalization, and tourism development.  And we looked at how our community is helping students and families displaced by climate and storm damage.