We’re thrilled to announce that Peter Vellenzer has joined Hearsay Social as head of sales to grow our leadership presence in the DACH region, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Peter is responsible for driving sales and marketing, as well as educating financial services firms on why they must activate their advisors and agents on social and digital or risk irrelevancy. With more than 20 years of successfully launching new products into new markets and achieving double digit revenue growth, Peter has held sales and account management positions at Oracle, Deutsche Telekom AG and IBM, among many other leading firms.
Hearsay Social’s presence and team in Europe continues to grow exponentially. Most recently, we announced our newest customer in France, Credit Agricole, which received impressive press coverage. For more information on job opportunities in Europe, visit the Hearsay Social careers page.
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program this week announced their finalists, and we’re excited to announce that Hearsay Social CEO and founder Clara Shih is on the list! The awards, which is celebrating its 30th year, recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. EY Entrepreneur Of The Year has been at the forefront of identifying game-changing business leaders for the past 30 years. The program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks; Jeff Bezos ofAmazon.com; John Mackey of Whole Foods Market; Pierre Omidyar of eBay; Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn; and Mindy Grossman of HSN, Inc. Clara was selected as a finalist by a panel of independent judges from multiple industries, including technology, finance, healthcare and more. The selection process included a nomination application and a series of in-person interviews. Previous finalists from the greater northern California region include Kenneth Lin, CEO and founder of Credit Karma (and guest speaker at our Hearsay Social Innovation Summit last week); Keith J. Krach, Chairman and CEO of DocuSign; and John Foraker, CEO of Annie’s, Inc. The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries throughout the world. It has recognized more than 10,000 outstanding entrepreneurs for their vision, innovation, courage and leadership in building and growing successful businesses – businesses that influence the way we live, the products and services we depend on, and the economic vibrancy of our local communities and global markets.
For more information on the awards program, visit the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year – Northern California Region site. Related Posts:
Hearsay Social has been chosen as one of the Bay Area’s best places to work for the second year in row, and we are honored for the award! The San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley Business Journal revealed the “Best Places to Work” list last week, and Hearsay Social was ranked 7th of all companies in the mid-sized company category–up from 8th last year. Companies on the “Best Places to Work” 2016 list are ranked based solely on employee satisfaction surveys in areas such as employee engagement, work satisfaction, employee recognition, professional development, organizational leadership and management practices. “We’re thrilled to receive this recognition; it’s a wonderful validation of our commitment to our team at Hearsay Social,” said Patty Buckley, VP of Operations, People and Culture. For one, “we’ve put in a lot of work in our professional development program, giving people a strong sense of ownership and supporting them in their endeavors to grow at Hearsay. We’ve also launched some great programs that highlight our team’s skills beyond their day-to-day work. For example, Hearsay Talks gives folks the chance to share their expertise on any subject that’s important to them. It connects us as people, not just co-workers, while also showcasing people’s individual talents and interests.” So, what makes Hearsay Social such a great place to work?
Great Leadership Team
Hailing from all points on the globe, the Hearsay Social leadership team embodies the innovation and agility that defines Silicon Valley, and do an excellent job at creating a work environment that fosters creativity, productivity, and collaboration. Senior leaders work to establish an environment where employees feel valued by the company, helping employees to stay motivated to share ideas, try new things, and have fun.
At Hearsay Social, one of our primary missions is to engage our employees by making sure they’re excited about the problems we’re solving for our customers and the team that they’re partnering with to a build great company. We’re a place where we want our team to make mistakes and encourage them to do so, so that we’re all learning and getting better every day. And Hearsay Social employees are engaged employees who values a work-friendly environment, customer-first mentality, effective team building, and getting stuff done (GSD).
Cool Perks and Benefits
Hearsay Social continues to add employee benefits as the company grows and evolves. We offer competitive salaries, full health benefits (medical, dental, vision, life), equity so that employees share ownership in what we’re building, unlimited vacation, a 401k plan, free daily lunches, and more. While these are fabulous benefits and perks, the best part of our culture is our employees who voice what matters most to them and share it with all of us. Teammates lead Hearsay Makes sessions on crafting, coordinate climbing, basketball, tennis and soccer clubs, host regular game and movie nights at our headquarters. Our Hearsay Helps team has partnered with the Family House, a local non-profit in San Francisco, and hosts year-rounds volunteering and fundraising events for all of us.
Company Culture and Collaborative Workspace
When asked “what word best describes your work culture,” employees responded with the word “Fun”! “Our culture’s such an important part of who we are and how we approach our business and learn together, said Patty. “As we grow, our recruiting team and hiring managers work really hard to ensure we’re hiring people who, in addition to being smart, proactive, and talented in their craft, genuinely care about their teammates and customers.” Interested In Working at Hearsay Social? We’re hiring! Check out our Careers page for open positions.
In 2015, the exponential changes taking place within the technology industry was a recurring theme in the business world. Change was no longer just ubiquitous; it was accelerating. Today, this message has become even clearer as technological advancements continue at a rapid pace and are revolutionizing every aspect of our daily lives.
I wrote how this is fundamentally changing the consumer experience in a recent article published by Fast Company entitled “The Rise of Millennials, Crowdsourcing, And Automation.” But what about the enterprise? Here are two massive trends that business leaders need to watch in 2016:
The vertical cloud comes of age
For some years now, many cloud vendors have sold their products to multiple industries – an approach that has worked exceptionally well for companies like Workday and Salesforce. In 2016 and beyond, thanks to key technology developments across the public and private arena including low cost web hosting services and no-cost open-source programming languages, we will see the vertical cloud come of age, particularly in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, government, and financial services – industries that have largely been neglected by Silicon Valley due to the unique complexities involved. According to Frost & Sullivan, the opportunity in healthcare cloud will grow from $903 million in 2013 to $3.5 billion in 2020, while TechNavio predicts cloud financial services will grow 25% per year through 2018.
With the privilege of focus, vertical cloud solutions will be game-changing with obvious benefits. It offers more tailored offerings to address specific needs and solve unique industry challenges; it offers rapid ease of deployment, eliminating the need for lengthy implementations to customize and “verticalize” a “one-size-fits-all” product; and it allows those vendors to develop true industry expertise and deeper customer relationships such that customer feedback can rapidly evolve into newer and better solutions over time.
Ultimately, this enables those vertical cloud solutions to grow faster and establish dominant market share than traditional software vendors. Gartner estimates that the 2015 vertical spend of $113 billion will grow at 7 percent per year, something that Salesforce took note of last year (following Infor’s lead at their Dreamforce event) by doubling down on their vertical-focused strategy.
Regulators will aggressively play ‘catch-up’ to keep up with the impending regulatory tsunami
In 2016, there will be a growing number of regulators and regulations from the SEC, FINRA, DoL, CFPB, IRS, CFTC, OCC, state regulators, and others. The rapid and revolutionary shifts enabled by technology in recent years have caught regulators off-guard in everything from hospitality and transportation to healthcare and cybersecurity. But in 2016, I expect regulators across industries and countries to aggressively play catch-up and apply new levels of pressure on many disruptive companies.
We’re seeing this start now, with regulators across the globe poking holes in Uber’s business model. Right here in San Francisco, Prop F, aimed at regulating AirBnB’s impact on the tight housing market, failed to pass but still garnered 45 percent of the popular vote.
Not surprisingly, this game of regulatory catch-up is even more pronounced in highly regulated industries such as financial services. For example, the Department of Labor has proposed new rules requiring financial advisors to disclose any potential conflicts of interest with funds they recommend, while leaders at the SEC consider if and how to regulate robo-advisor firms, perhaps holding them to a fiduciary standard for offering (automated) advice.
Hearsay Social, for one, is helping firms and advisors navigate the impending tailwinds by keeping them abreast of these changes and offering solutions to remain successful.
As regulators continue to keep up with these massive changes, 2016 will be a year where businesses across industries will need to prepare for the shifting regulatory landscape while still delivering value to their customers. To overcome the overhead costs and time required to manage to regulatory guidelines and policies, companies will need to find ways to drive efficiency and growth by leveraging technology that enables their workforce to be more productive and compliant. Related Posts:
We’re delighted to share that Hearsay Social CEO and founder, Clara Shih, was selected as one of the top professionals age 35 and under by LinkedIn.
“No one has done more to persuade the risk-averse, compliance-bound world of finance to embrace social media than Shih,” reads her accompanying profile on the LinkedIn Next Wave list (#LinkedInNextWave), which celebrates 150 leaders who are changing the way business is being done in industries that are essential to the fabric of life and the economy. Read the rest of Clara’s profile here, and learn more about the other nine luminaries in the finance world. LinkedIn relied on a combination of data, editorial insights and Influencer ideas to forge the list. Other Next Wavers include Chris Wanstrath, CEO and co-founder of GitHub, in the enterprise tech category; Max Ventilla, CEO and founder of AltSchool, in the education and social impact category; and Payal Kadakia, CEO and co-founder of ClassPass, in the consumer tech category.
Earlier this year, Clara was named one of the Bay Area’s Most Influential Women by the San Francisco Business Times and, last month, one of the most influential women in tech by Hot Topics alongside Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Leah Busque of TaskRabbit and Susan Wojcicki of YouTube.
Browse the full LinkedIn Next Wave list to see who else is disrupting their fields in a big way, and be sure to connect with Clara on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter!
The two-day event is the latest iteration in a series of live events hosted by Fortune that puts the spotlight on accomplished women leaders in a myriad of different industries around the world.
This year’s event will feature a host of great speakers, including Julia Hartz (Co-Founder and President of Eventbrite.com, @juliahartz), Sallie Krawcheck (Chair of Ellevate Network and Ellevate Asset Management, former CEO at Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney, @SallieKrawcheck), Clara Shih (CEO and founder, Hearsay Social, @clarashih), among many others:
At 9:30 AM on Wednesday, December 3rd, Clara will join Gerri Elliott (Director, Whirlpool, Bed Bath & Beyond, Charlotte Russe, @gerri_elliott), Caterina Fake (Founder and CEO, Findery, @Caterina), and Pattie Sellers (Senior Editor at Large at Fortune and Co-founder of Fortune MPW, @pattiesellers) on stage at the conference to discuss strategies for landing the “right” board seats for your career.
To learn more, watch CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin (@jboorstin) interview Clara at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA last month, and explore the posts below all about financial services, technology innovation, and women in business.
At the recent LIMRA Annual conference, innovation and opportunity took center stage. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Leadership Challenge: Connecting in a Distracted World,” highlighting for executive-level conference attendees the importance of evolving their firms to grow their business in today’s digital era.
Presenting at the conference were industry speakers and moderators including Scott Davison (President and CEO, OneAmerica), Joe Monk (chief administrative officer, State Farm Life), Bob Kerzner (President and CEO, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global, Inc.), Kenny Massey (President and CEO, Modern Woodmen of America), Deanna Mulligan (President and CEO, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America), William Wheeler (President, Americas, MetLife), and Larry Zimpleman (Chairman, President, and CEO, Principal Financial Group), as well as external speakers including Lou Gerstner (former Chairman and CEO, IBM Corporation), Clara Shih (Founder and CEO, Hearsay Social), David Plouffe (SVP for Policy and Strategy, Uber), Don Yaeger (President, Greatness), and Jason Dorsey (The Gen Y Guy, The Center for Generational Kinetics).
Speakers focused on a few key consistent themes throughout the conference:
Adapting to changing demographics
One trend that fueled the topic of change was Millennials. According to LIMRA studies, 37% of Gen Y are unemployed, marrying later, and less likely to trust firms and individuals. In spite of all that, Millennials are more likely to buy life insurance than any other generation. They represent 80 million individuals spending $1 trillion in the US alone, 70% of whom want to learn more about financial education.
Conference speakers such as Bob Kurzner, David Ploufe and Jason Dorsey recognized that this segment of consumers represents a huge opportunity for financial services firms – especially their advisors, but that Millennials are going to buy differently than Boomers.
Adapting to the new buyer journey
Reaching Millennials will require very different methods than past tactics of “smiling and dialing.” For example, Millennials will decide to refer individuals and professionals they trust based on their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. In addition, Millennials consider phone calls an invasion of privacy, preferring engagement via text, email (only reading the subject line, of course), and social media.
Millennial buying drivers also differ, requiring financial education about different topics than their parents. According to Deanna Mulligan of Guardian Life, Millennials seek a secure platform for paying off loans and/or taking care of parents as opposed to buying a home and saving for the college education of their kids – more traditional priorities from the past.
The implication is that advisors need to adapt to consumer changes – both in how they engage and where they engage.
With the rapid emergence of cloud technology, mobile devices, and social media over the past several years, consumers – and not just Millennials – now expect different things from businesses. The conference highlighted key technologies that require advisors to adapt to stay relevant in the digital era:
Mobile & website experiences need to be on par w/Amazon or ESPN experience – ease of use, control & flexibility via @davidplouffe#LIMRAAC
Kicking off the conference, Bob Kerzner highlighted how industry firms need to enable agents to be authentic and engage as individuals, not as brands, especially since the financial services industry is among the least trusted industry (per a recent Gallup survey). Deanna Mulligan also said that social media is required to be where clients are and that social media is key to engaging with clients. Larry Zimpleman agreed and offered that, for the middle and upper income clients, there are primarily two locations to reach potential retail clients: in the workplace and on social media.
The good news is that, based on a LIMRA study earlier this year, 93% of life insurance companies now have social media programs in place vs. 55% in 2010. 70% of surveyed life insurance firms now have a social business program for their advisors.
People trust others in local community — applies to life insurance industry & oppty to be informed by tech + engage as individuals #LIMRAAC
Clara Shih, in her presentation, “The Future of Distribution and Marketing – Staying Relevant in the Digital Era”, discussed how today’s consumers and customers have vastly different client expectations than those from the past. This has primarily been driven over the past five years by rapid growth of technology acceptance, from the Internet to mobile devices to social media. This expectation isn’t driven by competitors in the financial services industry, but rather by the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and Uber.
Clara also highlighted for the audience how social media addresses three key challenges that the Life Insurance industry faces today, including (1) changing client expectations, (2) an aging agent force coupled with the generational gap between agent and new clients, and (3) an outdated distribution model that needs to increase productivity at scale.
Finally, Clara challenged the leadership in the room to innovate beyond social within their firms, revealing the opportunity to enable a true omni-channel experience for clients as well as the opportunity to leverage technology for information discovery, data mining, and informed interactions to simplify the customer experience from signing up to underwriting to customer service.
With today’s big data & predictive analytics technology being more business-friendly along with the right models and data specialists, the industry has the opportunity to apply behavioral economics and data mining to better understand their clients.
In closing, Shih offered three final actions that leaders can take to lead their organizations for success in the digital age:
Commit as management
Incorporate into business process – training, prospecting, etc.
Let early adopters do the talking
Like other industries, the financial services and insurance industry has three choices: ignore these trends and opportunities, innovate, or die. Clearly, the sentiment during and after the conference was that life insurance companies must embrace technology, adapt and integrate this into their training and internal processes, and enable their advisors to engage their clients at scale through technology, strong leadership, and innovation partners.
Earlier today we were honored to see Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih speaking at the Simmons Leadership Conference on the social business revolution sweeping the globe. With over a billion people sharing their most important moments on social networks, being a professional on social media is more important than ever.
Other speakers at the conference included former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (@HillaryClinton), Denise Morrison (president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company), and Neeti Bhalla (EVP and Head of Investment Strategy & Risk Management at Liberty Mutual Group Asset Management Inc.), who each brought their own flavor of inspiring and thought-provoking talks to the group of 3,000 woman professionals convening in Boston from around the world.
“Everybody must have a voice,” urged Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to the Hearsay Social team during a surprise afternoon visit. No matter your age, seniority, or role—you play a crucial part in executing on the vision of your company. “Don’t let mediocrity become the standard.”
Mr. Schultz encouraged the Hearsay Social team to continue fighting for the absolute best at this critical stage in our company’s growth, which he likened to the time-sensitive “imprinting” stage of a child’s growth. In addition, he proclaimed that every business from Starbucks to Hearsay Social must heed three key points to be successful today:
Every business must provide a unique value proposition to the market. For Starbucks, that’s providing quality coffee and giving back to the community. For Hearsay Social, it’s empowering our customers to be highly successful social marketers.
Digital and social technologies represent a tidal wave of change utterly transforming the way companies do business. A clear innovator in the Fortune 500, Starbucks asserted its commitment to understanding and embracing these new technologies when it appointed Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih to its board of directors this past December.
In the 21st century, customers only support those companies that share their values. At Starbucks, Mr. Schultz’s aim is to “manage through a lens of humanity.” Positive revenue growth at the corporation must go hand in hand with positive growth in local communities around the world to make it all worthwhile.
Thank you for all the great advice, Mr. Schultz, and we can’t wait to see you again!