Leadership executive with 15 years experience working in technology, startups and creative focused companies. My passion comes from helping businesses find their direction, while working with bootstrapped budgets, bringing a hands-on skill set to be a vision for productization, strategy, marketing, creative direction, governance, legal risk assessment, community development and communication, and being in the weeds of development teams.
MY LEADERSHIP STYLE
I’m pragmatic in not reinventing the wheel where such reinvention is not necessary but never accept the status quo. I access opportunities to try new solutions and approaches if old systems are no longer relevant, bringing a balance of risk taking and catching the bricks to streamline and create systems;
My project management style is most akin to Agile methods and values with: exploration, collaboration, and adaptation versus needless documentation and meta-level prioritization (aka. waterfall approaches);
However, through working with a series of remote teams and cooperative governance, I am capable of and do love documentation were it serves purposes of clarity and increasing trajectory;
I’m quick to adapt when things are not working and quick to notice, including team management and project direction;
I believe in letting creativity be a driver, with business and analytics there as support & gut checks;
I aim to set clear and attainable goals, with holistic and “big picture” understanding;
Community will always be a priority and important focus. I constantly look for grassroot opportunities to engage with people in meaningful ways, and not limit possibilities by ceilings of scalability. Scaling is relevant after traction;
While I value community, I’m pragmatic about the balance, boundaries, and importance of maintaining a business/product-first attitude. The goal of healthy communities is to create opportunity not empty feel-goodery;
I have 15 years experience being a democratic voice in online communities, while also raising the bar and challenging them to reach places that make them feel uncomfortable in order to drive inspiration;
Lastly, I will ruthlessly defend and maintain the integrity of a project/product, even if it means telling people hard truths or unpopular perspectives.
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer March 2013 - September 2018
Chief Operating Officer
March 2012 - February 2013
Beginning with Stocksy as a co-founder and COO, I was promoted within one year to the CEO position after taking the reigns of vision and scaling of the product. As part of a bootstrapped team, I was initially responsible for the hands-on execution of product direction, community management, marketing, graphic design, UI/UX, and oversight of the architecture of the site, working closely with the front/backend development team.
As CEO, I grew the Stocksy team from a founding group of four people to 50 total staff, internal & remote, over the duration of six years; and growing revenue from $500k annually to $12 million.
Stocksy was a pioneer in the Platform Cooperative movement, and after reaching cash positive status by our first year, received ongoing press and speaking opportunities to share our business approach and methods to being a producer-first business that balanced profitability.
Stocksy stood out in a highly saturated industry that had become dominated by billion dollar agencies by putting our product first, prioritizing the loyalty of our community through collaboration and fair profit sharing, and taking risks to not accept any product that didn’t meet a strict standard of creativity through curation.
2010 - 2011
Los Angeles, CA
I was contracted by Saatchi Art in their first year as a start-up when the executive team was struggling to capture the quality of curation Charles Saatchi had brought to the art world, with the business’s goal of creating online tools of engagement to grow it’s community. The goal of Charles Saatchi and team was to bring value to the online world of artists through accessibility of a democratized platform that created excitement in the public to own original artworks.
Stepping in, I overhauled creative standards, created marketing promotions to showcase works, streamlined community engagement, handled creation and tone of branding, and oversaw the development team to refine website usability and functionality.
Saatchi Art sold for $17 million in 2014.
*Saatchi Art’s CEO, Margo Spiritus, later served on Stocksy United’s board from 2015-2017.
Vice President, Product
2004 - 2007
2003 - 2004
I joined iStockphoto in 2003, while the company was your standard start-up founding story of a handful of people working out of a garage in Calgary, AB.
Originally joining as an Executive Writer to handle weekly content to engage the early stages of its community, I quickly saw an opportunity to improve product through streamlining processes, creating more graphically engaging content, and raising creative standards to become a competitor against more notorious stock agencies. Later being promoted to VP Product after one year, I worked hand in hand with the CEO to scale the company.
During my time with iStock I designed the first microstock standards and ingestion processes (later adopted by Getty Images); grew a remote international team of 75 editors (vector, illustration, and photo); launched the company's member events, iStockalypse (hosting events in Las Vegas, Seattle, Prague and Slovenia with minimal budget); designed and oversaw quality management of marketing initiatives; authored educational articles on design and photography; mentored an international community of photographers; fostered transparency and collaboration between business and artists; and worked closely with the development team to architect, design, and test feature developments.
iStockphoto sold to Getty Images for $50 million in 2006.
Previously working with a small graphic design agency in Victoria, BC; CLSWEST, (a company client), offered me a full-time position to handle their branding and promotional material and to create custom designed 360 leadership assessment reports in addition to website maintenance, client relations, and handling event logistics in their start-up phase.
An early stepping stone in my creative career, working hands-on in attending leadership conferences, I was provided the incredible opportunity to also learn their leadership curriculum, attend private events with large scale clients, and be a fly on the wall with educator strategy planning. CLSWEST is still in operation today, with it’s CEO, Phil Cady, an educator at Royal Roads, whom remains a friend and colleague.