2019 CXO Of The Year Honorees
Members of the C-suite are responsible for developing the methods and strategies behind a company’s success. As team leaders, they make the hard decisions that impact daily operations as well as the long-term vision of the company. Join us in celebrating the 2019 CXO of the Year honorees who show us what it means to be a leader.
President | Podium
Adam Edmunds’ favorite part of his job is how much he is involved in every facet of the business. From operations, to finance, to sales, and beyond, Mr. Edmunds has worked tirelessly to propel Podium toward becoming one of the most innovative and important tech companies in the world. “Being able to interact with so many areas of the business is a blast,” he says. “I have learned how vital it is to create relationships with the best people you can find and then work your tail off to give them a reason to be loyal beyond financial outcomes.”
Chief Technology Officer | Avetta
As the chief technology officer, Adam Thier oversees the software development and operations at Avetta. From launching the Connect Platform― which was a complete rewrite of every line of code of Avetta’s service―to the game-changing Avetta Analytics, Mr. Thier describes this past year with the company as “the most stupendous of my entire career.” And he plans to set that bar higher as the company continues to grow. “I love being able to deliver to people the wishes and dreams I wanted someone to give me along my career.”
Chief Revenue Officer | Lendio
“One of the primary reasons I decided to join Lendio is its alignment with a cause I’m passionate about,” says Ben Davis. And that’s what keeps him motivated. Overseeing all of Lendio’s revenue generation, Mr. Davis is extremely vigilant about earning and protecting the trust of his sales leaders, partners, and his C-level peers. His ability to leverage talent, technology and strategy to consistently exceed growth targets creates the foundation for that trust. “I have a deeply held believe that when you help people have more options, choices, paths to walk down or doors to open, they tend to make good decisions about which doors to walk through,” he says.
Chief Product Officer, EVP of Engineering | Domo
Responsible for engineering, user design, product management, and quality at Domo, Catherine Wong also serves on the boards for the Women Tech Council and the College of Engineering at the University of Utah. “Early in my career, I noticed that there were very few people who looked like me sitting around the table,” she says. “So I want to do everything I can to make our workforce more representative of the population.” And she’s working hard, continuing to drive innovation at Domo as well as in her community. “If you’re playing it safe and not pushing yourself, it’s hard to accomplish great things.”
President & Chief Operations Officer | Entrata
If Chase Harrington has learned anything about leadership, it’s that it takes a village. “Trying to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders as a leader is not a long-term recipe for success,” he says. “Rather, collaboration, and communication are the keys to successful leadership.” And working with his team is, “hands down,” the most satisfying aspect of his career. Overseeing the majority of Entrata’s employees and operations, Mr. Harrington is the voice of the customer success and development teams, and has been an integral part in helping the company reach its annual revenue milestone.
Chief Technology Officer | Executech
“I never set out to be a leader,” says Christopher Nokes. “My goal was always just to learn as much as I could.” But through that goal, Mr. Nokes found others relying on him as a resource and it’s led him to success. Now, overseeing Executech’s technology solutions as well as the day-to-day technical staff, he is leading by example. Whether it’s working through the weekends or acting as boots on the ground, he feels it important to be “in the trenches” with his team. “Executech gave me the opportunity to realize that I was capable of much more than I thought,” he says. And now, he’s dreaming big.
Cofounder & Chief Technology Officer | Weave
Clint Berry measures success by the impact he’s made on other people’s lives. Passionate about building a culture of learning within Weave, he says: “I want to be known as the ‘Culture CTO.’” Overseeing more than just the technical aspects of the company, Mr. Berry works with amazing technical problem solvers. And watching them progress in their careers not only makes Weave a better place to work, but encourages him to become a better CTO. “You need to make sure to get the skills to create an environment where your people can perform and improve,” he says.
Chief Financial Officer | Visible Supply Chain Management
“Throughout my career, I’ve been a builder,” says Gene White. Whether it’s building teams, processes, or credibility, he excels at working toward a common goal and distributing that success to everyone. From overseeing Visible Supply Chain Management’s financial planning to maintaining relationships with company investors, accountants, and lawyers, Mr. White works to certify financial compliance company-wide. “As the lead on corporate transactions, I shepherd each deal through to close,” he says, but he wouldn’t characterize himself as a transactional genius. Instead, he relies on his hard work and experience in the industry. “If you don’t want to work hard, you shouldn’t aspire to be a CFO!”
Chief Financial Officer | Pluralsight
“I’ve always felt that leading by example is critical, and I feel that as much today as I did nearly 30 years ago,” says James Budge. And with a variety of responsibilities at Pluralsight, including overseeing investor relations, accounting, tax, IT, and more, he gets the perfect opportunity to do just that. “I measure success by determining whether I create high engagement and excitement in those that work for and around me,” he says. Financial acumen is a core competency for any CFO, but it’s his belief of promoting and developing talent from within the company that has helped elevate the performance of Pluralsight’s entire workforce.
Head of Brand & Creative (CBO) | Enso Rings
Jason Kimball believes it is important to take risks. And he believes that taking chances is the most significant thing that’s led him to where he is today. “If you want something bad enough, you will always figure it out and find a way. If I find myself getting complacent, I will always challenge myself to learn and try new things.” As Enso Rings continues their rapid growth, Mr. Kimball looks forward to taking more chances and challenging the status quo. “We are doing some amazing things and are just getting started disrupting this massive industry,” he says, with no intention of stopping now.
Jennifer A. Smith
Chief Information Officer & Executive Vice President | Zions Bancorporation
As the chief information officer, Jennifer A. Smith leads some of the most innovative teams in one of Utah’s largest public companies. “Every day I am focused on creating an environment where my colleagues thrive,” she says. And she is proud of the company culture she’s had a hand in creating. Leading over 2,000 of her colleagues across multiple disciplines, Ms. Smith has learned a lot about what it takes to be a leader. “Only the best and authentic leaders are willing to be vulnerable,” she says. “The heights we can achieve is directly related to our courage to be vulnerable.”
Joy Driscoll Durling
Chief Information Officer & Digital Experience | Vivint Smart Home
Joy Driscoll Durling works to develop technology that powers every Vivint interaction throughout North America, while overseeing a team of 220 engineers. “Many people assume the CIO role is all about being a technologist,” she says. “But that’s just table stakes today. Technology should help solve customer and business problems.” And to do that, a chief information officer needs a broad umbrella of critical skills.
Outside of her role as CIO, Ms. Durling is also the executive sponsor of Girls Go Digital, a program that provides opportunities for girls to learn about STEM subjects. “It’s one of the most rewarding things we do as a team,” she says.
Chief Product & Technology Officer | Recursion Pharmaceuticals
With a background in applied mathematics and data science, Mason Victors has focused his time on building the data science and machine learning technology and systems to fuel Recursion’s drug discovery engine. But recently, he’s shifted that focus. “Lately, I’ve been far more focused on working with others to ensure we are building the right components of our drug discovery engine in order to best achieve our mission,” he says. Which entails working with people across the company from biology to software engineering. “Success has to be measured within the context of responsibility,” he says.
Chief People Officer | Acima Credit
As the chief people officer, Michael Henderson ensures he has the right people in the right positions. Responsible for staffing, recruiting, benefits, employee engagement, and more, he works across the company to make sure each department operates to create a better experience for employees. “As chief people officer, you need a genuine interest in people and their success,” he says, which can be quite difficult. But he gets the most enjoyment out of it, too. “A good leader knows his people, and uses that understanding of them to lead them to where they will be successful.”
Chief Financial Officer | EMI Health
Mike Greenhalgh works on a variety of projects, from dealing with investments to keeping the company financially stable. And while working with EMI Health, he’s even had the opportunity to put on his construction hard hat and pick up his janitor’s broom. “In my role, I’ve learned that almost everything costs money,” says Mr. Greenhalgh. Which means not all endeavors can be pursued, no matter how fantastic they sound. “It is important to be able to decide which opportunities are worth pursuing,” he says before adding that it’s equally important to keep encouraging those employees whose ideas were not implemented to never stop innovating.
Chief Marketing Officer | Lucid
Nathan Rawlins has spent almost his entire career at high-growth software companies. “I love that, in a short period of time, you can build something new,” he says. And working with Lucid, whose rapid growth is quickly outpacing its competitors, he’s in the thick of building the Lucid brand and marketing that success. “To be successful, you have to be versatile,” he advises. “You have to be willing to constantly learn. And, more than anything, you have to be able to surround yourself with amazing people that are far better at their jobs than you would be.”
Chief Sales Officer | Young Automotive Group
Overseeing sales operations for 16 dealerships and over 20 brands, Oliver Young is no stranger to facing, and owning, a challenge. Working with Young Automotive Group, one of Utah’s fastest growing companies, he has the vision and the leadership to propel that growth into the future. “Being able to not only envision what we can do, but help others see the possibility is a key part of a sales leader’s responsibility,” he says. “It is my responsibility to help the company raise its vision on what we can achieve. We have achieved a ton, but we know we are just scratching the surface,” he says.
Cofounder & Artistic Director | Hale Centre Theatre
Sally Dietlein has been with the Hale Centre Theatre since it began in 1985. Since then, she has been involved with every area of the theatre business. And she loves it! “I love seeing patrons pour out of the theatre doors with smiles on their faces,” she says. “I love the highly dedicated and uber talented people I get to work with.” But the business of art isn’t without its challenges, and Ms. Dietlein has risen to them time and again, from cofounding the theatre to building the new $82 million-dollar facility. And when she looks to the future, Ms. Dietlein has only one thing to say, “onward!”
Chief Operations Officer | Extra Space Storage
Leading a team of over 3,000 employees, Samrat Sondhi has been a member of senior management at Extra Space Storage for more than ten years. Over the last decade, he’s become intimately familiar with what it takes to lead an effective team. “I believe in 100 percent responsibility for leaders,” he says. “Having extreme personal ownership sets leaders apart.” Mr. Sondhi works hard to understand the customer and front-line employee experience and describes that as a key role for any chief operating officer. Gaining that store-level experience is the best way to help the company grow.
To learn more about the 2019 CXO of the Year honorees, take a look at the Youtube videos below:
The photos in this piece were shot by Haley Nord.