In June, 2020, we welcomed Brandon Ellett to our ⋮IW family as a Chief Commercial Officer with one purpose to bolster ⋮IW continuous delivery of excellence and further expansion. Brandon brings a high-level of executive leadership and expertise to the team coming from his working experience as a Senior Director, Vice President, Lead Origination and Managing Partner for global companies in the investment and retail sector. Following Brandon’s story.
1. Who is Brandon?
I was born and raised in a small town in Indiana, where I have learned some of the most important values in life such as hard work, keeping words, and doing what’s right. My working experience includes a broad range of job positions having one thing in common – growing businesses. The timeline of my working experience would be something like this: I cut my teeth in IT right out of college with one of the largest telecommunication integrators in the country. I stayed with them for a while until I found a new opportunity which included joining a startup that purchased and consolidated 30 different companies to make one large aggregator that touched multiple lines of businesses. I have been working there until the company grew big enough to be sold to a private equity company. This was another opportunity for me to explore and further expand my skills. The CEO of the private equity company recruited me to become part of it and startup the private equity division for a retail energy company which started growing at a fast pace and became one of the fastest-growing retailer providers in the company.
Working in the area of growing businesses, setting acquisition targets, and returns for investors, I came to realize that there was a large portion of the acquisition channel that was insufficiently funded. This was the point where I decided to start up my own company that will be focused on becoming the go-to partner when talking about commission finance, and will support the growth channels for retail providers, basically taking care of their commission finance process. During the course of our work, we have been faced with many challenges, one of which included having various data. To solve that challenge, I have turned to a startup company that was working in the area, and have been offered to become their hire and grow their business, which eventually I did it along with my colleagues. We doubled our revenue year over year in the software development and AI space until I met Aleksandar Memca and here I am. I have known Aleks for more than a decade and becoming part of a company that is thriving at a rapid pace came all naturally. If I have to tell my story in several words, it would be like this: a guy born in Indiana, married, having three beautiful daughters, with long experience in the IT and multiple lines of businesses, focused on growing businesses. My main goal is to use all the skills that I have to provide value to the marketplace and position companies to be incredibly valuable in the long-term.
2. Why have you chosen the role of CCO at ⋮IW?
I am not certain that I chose the role or it chose me 😊. When I reconnected with Aleks, it was clear that the foundation on which ⋮IW had been built over the past 15 years was absolutely solid as a rock. Speaking from my experience, the biggest difference in organizations, especially in the US, from a software and delivery standpoint is the ability to deliver. And it is more than clear that the foundation of delivery is the cornerstone of ⋮IW’s success at this point – the ability to deliver what they said that they will deliver and deliver it on time. This is evident by the number of clients that ⋮IW has, all of which are long-term and many are very large. However, I think that there are also other ways to tell people more things about us because the market is wide open for those that can deliver.
3. What do you consider to be the biggest challenge for a CCO these days?
First of all, I think that the biggest challenge is also the biggest opportunity. So, looking from a CCO perspective, I would say that the biggest challenge is that we live in a hyper-evolving market digitally, which means that very often it is hard to grab the attention of the public. Getting the message in public at the right time to the right people can be difficult. Currently, there are so many different channels that can be used which makes that challenge even more difficult. However, I believe that those challenges are in fact the biggest opportunities, because we are not limited by having only one way to go to market, and only one way to show who we are. So, being consistent in the way you go to the market and ensuring that what you say you deliver on is both the biggest challenge and opportunity. The fact that we are built on a methodology of delivering allows us to be confident in how we go to market speaking from a multichannel approach.
4. How do you ensure that you are getting the most of your team?
We keep score. I was brought up in an environment where keeping score matters. Thus, we measure a number of different things. But, at the end of the day the true measurement is the satisfaction of our clients – the feedback that we get from them throughout every phase of our engagement (presales, contract negotiation, kick-off, delivery, maintenance) – customer feedback matters to the same extent as do keeping score. At the end of the day, people want to know where they sit and I believe that it is important. Every organization has a lot of going on internally, and being able to truly understand what is it that you are trying to accomplish is also important.
5. What do you do to push yourself out of your comfort zone?
I don’t know whether I have to do something – I just do it. I have been pushing myself out of my comfort zone for as long as I remember. I am a long way from the farm in southern Indiana, but the values that I have learned there, those of hard work, keeping your word, doing what’s right, taking care of those that take care of you, in this case, the clients, have stayed with me for the entire time. But, I am curious, I have an insatiable curiosity for a number of things. So, pushing myself out of my comfort zone has never been an issue. I think it is a welcome thing, there is a quote: you cannot get what you want by doing the same thing, if you want different results you have to try different things. And it sorts of became second nature.
6. Where do you find your inspiration to keep up the good work and be even better than yesterday?
I find it every morning when I wake up my daughters and every night when they go to sleep. I find it in the feedback and the appreciation that we get from our clients. I find it in the team getting excited when something tough is accomplished or when somebody overachieves their goals or their target. It isn’t difficult to find inspiration to keep going and be better than yesterday. The inspiration is all around us, you just have to find it. 🙂