Meet the Awards Finalists: CEO of the Year

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The MassTLC Leadership Awards recognize and honor “the best and the brightest” of the Massachusetts tech ecosystem each year. After months of nominations and judging, the finalists in all of fifteen different categories were announced.

On October 3, 2018, at the 21st annual Mass Tech Leadership Awards Gala, we will name the award recipient in each category.

In the meantime, let us introduce you to our finalists and the great work that they are doing here in Massachusetts.

Meet the 2018 CEO of the Year finalists.

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Mohamad Ali, Carbonite

Mohamad Ali inspires his employees by enacting value-based initiatives and leading with open-mindedness and integrity. He continues to take action with the Carbonite Charitable Fund, which recently awarded $150,000 in grants to six local organizations. The fund enhances educational programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Carbonite’s investments will help bolster the grantees’ STEM programs and further the Carbonite Charitable Fund’s mission to equip students with the skills needed to excel in technology careers. Mohamad has also spoken out in support of the #MeToo movement, speaking with local Boston outlets, including WGBH, about the need for male CEOs and leaders in the industry to step up and actively be a part of the solution going forward. In this same vein, Mohamad has been a champion for diversity and gender equality in the workplace, highlighting the importance of diverse and inclusive workforces for overall business health and progress.

 

Peter Bauer, Mimecast

Peter Bauer’s journey as an entrepreneur spans more than two decades, from his early beginnings in South Africa to founder and CEO of a public and globally traded email security and data management company, Mimecast. Peter started Mimecast because he believed the Cloud would become the ideal platform for email. This was before the Cloud was a “thing.” And, as email became more mission-critical to organizations, there was an increased need to protect users, data and infrastructure – without complexity and cost. Over the years, Peter has continued to grow Mimecast’s business while adding new capabilities to their technology to keep pace with the ever-evolving needs of the security industry. Mimecast recently launched their Internal Email Protect solution, which is the first-to-market cloud-based security service providing threat capabilities for internally generated email.  From the beginning, Peter has stayed aligned, and encourages others to align with following values: authenticity, good humor, and ownership. At the end of the day, as a leader, Peter stands accountable for everything Mimecast does as a business. He can only do that confidently because he has a team of hundreds of people who take ownership for both their own success and the success of the team and the business as a whole

 

Jaime Ellertson, Everbridge

As CEO of Everbridge, Jamie Ellertson continues to inspire employees through a leadership style focused around key business strategies that have enabled all employees to work as a team to achieve exceptional company growth. Under Jaime’s leadership, Everbridge has grown significantly, fueled by having built a team focused on market opportunity, adding vertical markets including government, healthcare, oil and gas, and financial services, empowering employees to build or acquire products that continue to expand the Everbridge platform; and on expanding the company’s total addressable market internationally. Jaime always recognizes the Everbridge team, and the strength of the team, as being the catalyst to this retention achievement, which is critical to the company’s growth. As Jaime states, “We have a unique culture — every day we save peoples’ lives. We value caring and safety. We have a clear mission and metrics, supported by a strong and passionate team of employees. We’re not just building hardware or software just to make something more productive… we actually do something that has enormous redeeming value for every community we serve, with a critical service that reaches over 500 million people around the world.”

 

Stefania Mallet, ezCater

As co-founder and CEO, Stefania has built a strong, international culture into the ezCater DNA – a culture that remains even in spite of exponential growth, multiple office locations, and a rapidly growing workforce, it remains. Stefania believes that when hiring  people, you rent their behaviors, but you have to earn their hearts and minds. She makes it a point to meet with each and every new hire when they join ezCater to share our history and core culture ingredients. From the beginning, employees feel like they’ve been part of ezCater all along, quickly recognizing that its culture is the driving force behind everything it does, and Stefania is in the driver’s seat. You can often find her in the office kitchen introducing herself to a new face, restocking the snacks, enjoying a cupcake (ezCater’s form of celebration), or emptying the dishwasher. This has been an exceptionally exciting year for ezCater. In July, ezCater made its first foray into the European market through it’s acquisition of GoCater, a Paris-based corporate catering platform. Headcount has also more than doubled and will continue to grow with the plan to hire over 250 more employees by the end of the year. Stefania has created a culture at ezCater where giving back to the community is a core tenet, and she directs ezCater resources to fight hunger, both locally and nationally. Since launching in 2016, over 250,000 meals have been donated to hungry families across the U.S. In addition to several other inhouse diversity initiatives, under Stefania’s leadership, ezCater was the

 

Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Care.com

Sheila’s commitment to and passion for Care.com’s mission — to rebuild the care infrastructure supporting families and caregivers alike – is embedded in everything she does and in her daily interactions with employees. She inspires the team with a leadership style focused on systems change and innovation. From the use of Care.com’s technology and expertise to train and create career pathways for female refugees in Germany to advocacy on early childhood issues and female entrepreneurship here in Massachusetts, Sheila inspires by constantly showing how she – and the company – stand by what they stand for. An entrepreneur to the core, Sheila has instilled a “test and iterate” culture at Care.com, fostering innovation and creativity across the organization. Every employee is actively encouraged to stretch herself/himself and is empowered knowing there is no such thing as failure, since every experience is an opportunity for learning and growth. Her external leadership work and willingness to use her platform to be an advocate for women, children, and immigrants is an inspiration both to her staff and those of us looking for CEOs to contribute to the national conversation on issues of import to families across the nation. Sheila, has restated its support of the FAMILY Act, was one of the first companies to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge in 2016, and made compelling and moving public statements about executive orders on Immigration, DACA and family separations. Sheila is co-founder of LandIt, a digital platform for female career growth and founded WomenUp.org in 2010 to increase women’s roles in the global economy by providing leadership training, mentorship and support to girls and women through every stage of their lives and careers. A frequent speaker on women in technology and female entrepreneurship and leadership, Sheila has spoken at the White House United State of Women (2016), at the White House Summit on Working Families alongside President Obama (2014), with global political and business leaders at The World Economic Forum (2013, 2015), and to emerging female leaders at Harvard University (2013), among other notable venues.

 

Jacqueline Moloney, UMass Lowell

As chancellor, Moloney’s leadership in the implementation of the university’s strategic plan has resulted in a remarkable institutional transformation. In less than a decade, UMass Lowell has achieved record gains in student enrollment, academic preparedness, diversity and graduation and retention rates. In addition, faculty hiring, research expenditures, fundraising and economic development activities have all reached new, historic heights. Under Moloney’s oversight, UMass Lowell launched its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign with the objective of raising $125 million by 2020. With nearly $115 million already pledged, the campaign is well ahead of its goal. In the past decade, 14 new buildings have been added to campus, doubling its square footage. A satellite campus in Haverhill has been opened as a business incubator and a site for an executive education program. Hundreds of public-private partnerships have been established with firms ranging in size from startups to Raytheon. In the midst of this unprecedented growth, Moloney has successfully prioritized sustainable practices and climate change education, all while supporting leadership opportunities for women and closing the gender gap in STEM faculty. In her inaugural year, Chancellor Moloney started the UMass Lowell Women’s Leadership Conference, which has become the largest event of its kind in the Merrimack Valley. She is the primary investigator on a grant to increase diversity of faculty in STEM fields.  In 2017 Chancellor Moloney was recognized as one of seven prominent “Women Who Mean Business” by the Boston Business Journal, and UMass Lowell was ranked number four in the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe Magazine and Commonwealth Institute.

 

Nicole Sahin, Globalization Partners

Nicole leads by example, as she is equally able to get in the weeds of the day-to-day while also strategizing at the highest levels. She inspires her employees by constantly preaching her philosophy that “the obstacle is the path”. This unique take on challenges inspires employees to work even harder when things get tough in order to stay ahead of the curve. It instills a pioneering philosophy that is inspiring and motivating, leaving employees craving to be the first to tackle something daunting. At Globalization Partners, she has implemented a unique program and philosophy known as the 6-week paid sabbatical that employees are eligible for after 5 years at the company. This allows employees to take off and do something amazing they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do, with the comfort of knowing they’ll come back to a job. These leaves of absence give the company the opportunity to give the best members of the team a cutoff point, as they must train someone fully to take their place, and when they come back, they move into a new and typically more advanced role. This gives the business a tremendous amount of scalability, while also enabling people to be promoted from within. The whole idea behind this program and everything that results from it is truly inspiring and makes employees feel excited and valued. From getting an amazing travel-oriented opportunity, to being promoted within, they’re able to see how the CEO values their hard work and experiences as a person. Nicole is active in the Boston area through mentoring and supporting female leaders. She is a supporter of SheStarts, a startup group for female entrepreneurs in the Boston area, speaks at local events including such as the Mass Conference for Women in Framingham, and recently participated on a panel at the Women Presidents’ Organization event.

 

Bill Wagner, LogMeIn

Bill understands that culture is both the foundation of LogMeIn and the glue that holds the company together. Even as LogMeIn has undergone a series of major shifts, mergers and acquisitions, Bill has flawlessly worked to keep the company and employees unified, and prioritized culture throughout to ensure the company’s values didn’t get lost along the way. He took it upon himself to travel to the various offices to meet with incoming LogMeIn employees to answer their questions and share his vision for the future of the company. Bill saw this as an imperative step to accelerate LogMeIn’s strategy and ensure all employees feel motivated and valued to succeed. He’s also worked to establish traditions and internal events to help unite employees as new individuals are brought into the fold. His strategy has proven to be fruitful, as he’s been able to harvest a growing team that shares the same passion, fearlessness, lightheartedness and intellectual curiosity across the board. Related to its values, Bill is the driving force behind LogMeIn’s focus on creating a learning culture, promoting the importance of learning and professional development programs for employees to strengthen their skills and develop their careers. LogMeIn offers tuition reimbursement and licenses to online e-learning programs, encourages employees to pursue certificates and offers relationships with companies like General Assembly to provide discounts to classroom and online trainings. Bill is also an adamant proponent of community involvement and responsibility, making community service an essential ingredient of LogMeIn’s corporate culture. Mission Possible, LogMeIn’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program, supports non profit organizations that promote social mobility and early education with financial contributions, volunteer support and donated product. Employees are given time off and encouraged to participate in Mission Possible to lend their time to various charitable groups in the greater Boston area, such as BUILD Boston, Cradles to Crayons and The Greater Boston Food Bank. Under Bill’s guidance, LogMeIn has made Mission Possible an important function of its culture by promoting its employees’ activities that strive to make the world a better place.

 

Rob Waldron, Curriculum Associates

Rob’s unique long-term leadership focus and mission-oriented mindset inspire his employees’ success. Each year, he invites every employee to participate anonymously in his annual review, reports the results to the entire company, and requires that the board tie a portion of his bonus to employee satisfaction scores. He believes that successful companies must have a higher purpose and promote a culture in which employees are driven by that purpose to succeed. The culture he created at Curriculum Associates is heavily tied to the company’s mission and, as a result, all employees are committed to making a true difference in education. In 2017, the company demonstrated this commitment in a major way with the announcement that Curriculum Associates would “give the company away” by transferring majority ownership. The sale of the shares resulted in the proceeds of approximately $200 million to charity, representing the largest gifts ever received by the Boston Foundation and the Iowa State University Foundation in their combined 187-year histories. The extraordinary donation will fund many Boston-area nonprofits addressing the region’s greatest challenges. It will also be used to create a Donor Advised Fund, which will be invested in strategic grant making and local education-themed ventures. In the past year, Curriculum Associates has enhanced digital instruction with hundreds of new lessons, and also created new platforms to support and connect educators using i-Ready and Ready Mathematics. Today its programs are used by more than 15% of K-8 students in the United States.

 

Mike Zani, The Predictive Index

Mike has built a culture of personal improvement. Personal and career development is a huge area of emphasis at PI. Not only is Mike very public about his own personal and career development goals, but he dedicated company resources to the development of others. There’s a dedicated budget for career development, speakers are brought in to talk on a variety of topics, employees are encouraged to host lunch and learns, the company sponsors executives to participate in executive peer-to-peer groups, there’s a tuition reimbursement program, and every manager is expected to have monthly personal/career development discussions with every employee. In an effort to increase diversity, under Mike’s leadership, the company recently launched a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion committee at the company to further support their diversity efforts. In 2017, PI partnered with Year-Up to give internships opportunities to post high school or GED students that grew up in under privileged circumstances. Mike has ensured that PI supports and sponsors employees requiring a visa specifically to help support diversity and bring the best talent into PI. Mike is always willing to lend a hand to any part of the organization—whether it’s going on a sales call, flying to a conference to give a keynote presentation, interviewing and assessing job candidates, filling out an RFP, responding to media inquiries, or giving people career development advice and guidance.