Meet the Next Generation of Tech Leaders

New hires at KPA, Nylas, Bonusly and Vendavo outline their visions as team leaders.

Written by Isaac Feldberg
Published on Apr. 26, 2022
Meet the Next Generation of Tech Leaders
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What do a veteran chief technology officer, a seasoned managing partner, a former product executive, and an experienced technical engineer have in common? 

They’re all new leaders at some of Colorado’s fastest-growing tech companies. 

As the world emerges from Covid-19, the mass work exodus known as the Great Resignation continues unabated. With many workers leaving their companies and re-entering the job market in order to secure better opportunities, prioritizing both personal and professional goals is an area of focus for job candidates like never before. 

And these four freshly hired tech leaders — who’ve accepted roles at KPA, Nylas, Bonusly and Vendavo — believe they’ve found their fit, in part because their new workplaces are committed to scaling their careers alongside overall company growth. All four leaders spoke to Built In about their overall trajectory and how their leadership styles will serve to shepherd their current companies into the future.

 

Scott Schell
Chief Technology Officer • KPA

 

KPA provides environment, health and safety (EHS), and workforce compliance software and services for mid-sized businesses.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What position are you stepping into? What’s your professional background? 

I’ve stepped into the chief technology officer role at KPA, and am responsible for the product development and product management teams. I was brought on to help unify disparate software product teams and encourage cross-collaboration that will ultimately improve our suite of software solutions. My goal is to build a cohesive team that will drive customer satisfaction and engagement while strengthening KPA’s position as a leading industry resource on environment, health and safety (EHS), and workforce compliance.

This kind of work isn’t new to me, but I find it continually challenging and motivating. I come to KPA with nearly 30 years of experience in the technology sector, having held a number of leadership positions and having worked with various engineering and product management teams. I most recently served as the chief technology officer at Flowhub and executive vice president of product and engineering at Convercent. I’m also a native Coloradan and hold an M.S. in telecommunications from the University of Colorado, as well as a B.S. in computer science from Colorado State University.

My goal is to build a cohesive and collaborative unit.”

 

Beyond onboarding and getting up to speed on the internal workings of your new team, what’s your first order of business in your new role? 

My first order of business has been to dig into the work I was hired to do. I have a unique opportunity as KPA’s chief technology officer to unify KPA’s product management and product development teams. These were previously a number of small, disparate teams folded into the organization through acquisitions and recruitment. They enable KPA’s success as an organization, and it’s my job to help unify the work they’re doing to drive customer satisfaction and engagement with our software by building bridges to the rest of KPA. I share what our team is doing and why. My goal is to build a cohesive and collaborative unit, so that we’re building greater functionality in our compliance software while keeping our clients and their employees safe.

This has been and will continue to be my first order of business, but I’m also excited about combining my personal and professional passions at KPA. Many of our clients are car dealers and service managers. As a gearhead with my own garage at home, working at KPA has given me the chance to apply my knowledge and understanding of vehicles to my work, driving safety and better software to our customers.

 

 

Alison Vorsatz
Director of Enterprise Sales at Nylas • Nylas

 

Nylas is a provider of productivity infrastructure solutions for modern software developers.

 

Tell us about yourself. What position are you stepping into? What’s your professional background? 

I love solving problems with technology. Across my entire career, I have been drawn to companies that transform how humans communicate and that are committed to building the next generation of leaders. I have 15+ years of B2B sales and sales leadership experience: from startups to Fortune 500 companies, in San Francisco and Manhattan, across mid-market and enterprise spaces.  

After spending 10 years at Verizon Communications, I left as a managing partner in 2016, and I took a career break to volunteer in Africa, where I built and led a girls’ and women’s empowerment program. When I returned to the United States, I joined an early-stage startup as one of the first employees to create a GTM strategy for a diversity, inclusion and equity company. Most recently, I was a sales leader at Twilio. 

At Nylas, I’m lucky I can marry two of my passions: technology and building. I’m focused on building winning teams, inclusive cultures, dynamic brands, career paths for my people and structures and processes to drive success. I’m here to help our customers elevate their business, to develop our employees to achieve their career dreams and to propel Nylas to become the next unicorn.

My ultimate goal here at Nylas is to scale the most diverse, top-performing sales organization in the tech world.”

 

How would you describe your leadership style, and how do you hope to apply this in your new role?

My leadership style is focused on three key elements. Building winning team cultures is essential. I always seek to lead top performing teams that love to win together and support each other. I specialize in mentoring employees to take their performance to the next level, to achieve their goals, and to get promoted. 

Being a player coach is also key. Leading from inside the trenches, alongside my leaders and teams, I never ask my sales org to do something I wouldn’t do myself and that doesn’t directly impact results. 

Finally, passion for diversity, inclusion, equality and belonging is at the heart of everything I do. A best-in-class company celebrates the diversity of people and perspectives to fuel innovation and create a five-star customer experience.  

 

 

Andrew Brinkman
VP of Product • Bonusly

 

Bonusly, a rewards-based customer recognition program, aims to help companies improve their HR best practices and create healthy work environments.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What position are you stepping into? What’s your professional background? 

I’m joining Bonusly as our new vice president of product. Before that, I spent eight years at Hudl, a sports video and analytics startup based in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was an individual contributor for my first four years there, then a product executive for the second half of my tenure. Last year, I joined Sling TV to lead their growth and engagement product teams. When I saw the opening with Bonusly, I knew I had to apply. Work has changed so much over the past few years, and as a long-time people manager and leader of teams, I’m passionate about helping people bring their best selves to work. 

Recognition is an important part of building a healthy team and company culture, so the opportunity to work on a product that helps companies listen to and recognize their employees was too compelling to pass up. I’m here to help Bonusly figure out how to catch the next wave of product-market fit. I’ll do that by clearly defining product strategy that ties back to our company goals, coaching and mentoring our product teams on outcome-focused product discovery and delivery, and collaborating across teams to delight our customers in unique, margin-enhancing ways.

I see leaders make one mistake all the time: not scaling themselves as their careers grow.”

 

How would you describe your leadership style, and how do you hope to apply this in your new role?

I see leaders make one mistake all the time: not scaling themselves as their careers grow. Delegation is surprisingly hard. Not knowing every single detail can be really difficult for some people. Knowing what not to do, and what to instead delegate, can be even more important than deciding what to do. I’ve struggled with all of these things as I’ve grown as a leader. Through tough experience, I now firmly believe that the best thing I can do as a leader is define and evangelize the vision, strategy and goals for my team. Then, I get out of the way — mentoring, coaching and nudging aside — as they discover and deliver the best solutions to help us meet our goals and achieve our vision. By doing this, you allow ideas from different sources to breathe. You create a safe space for collaboration and exploration because you’re not dictating the solutions. Right now, I’m ramping up on the current state of our product, our internal business challenges and the state of the market, so I can make sure our teams all have that shared context. The more quickly I do that, the more quickly I can set my teams up for success.

 

 

Vikesh Gumpalli
Chief Revenue Officer • Vendavo

 

Vendavo develops enterprise price management and optimization software solutions for B2B companies in various sectors, helping businesses unlock value and accelerate revenue with its AI-driven solutions. 

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What position are you stepping into? Whats your professional background? 

I bring more than 12 years of technology sales leadership experience to the role, with a proven track record delivering customer value for high-growth enterprises. Over the course of my career, I have driven innovation, transformation and growth for enterprises, with a strong emphasis on go-to-market strategy and execution. 

I bring leadership experience from organizations both large — like General Electric, Procter & Gamble and NTT DATA — and small, which will allow me to strategically scale the size of Vendavo’s global sales organization. Having lived and worked in multiple countries, my personal and professional experience makes me an extremely well-rounded leader.

Finally, I hold a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from Purdue University.

While our objectives are clear and tangible, we aspire to operate with courage, inclusivity and speed.”

 

How would you describe your leadership style, and how do you hope to apply this in your new role?

I have the pleasure of leading our sales, business consulting and sales engineering teams, with a clear mandate to grow our business. We do this by expanding our technology footprint within our existing clients and by acquiring new ones. While our objectives are clear and tangible, we aspire to operate with courage, inclusivity and speed. 

If you look at the macro environment, our clients are faced with many forces around them. Technology adoption is happening at unprecedented rates, and talent markets are completely inverted. Our clients want to stay ahead and grow, so the question becomes, how can we have the courage to take a leadership position, distinguishing and establishing ourselves as partners instead of vendors? 

When it comes to inclusivity, I want us to strive to be a high-performing organization that is collaborative, to be the best and only place our employees want to work, and to cultivate that energy. The pace of change is only going to accelerate, and our clients are going to demand that we move faster than they do, which poses another question: how do we create a model that enables all of us to move more quickly, fail fast and be comfortable saying no in order to get the results our clients need?

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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