Human Capital As a Key Competitive Advantage

I am very excited about attending the upcoming conference on The New Work Summit #nytnewwork by the New York Times®. The very nature of how we work is changing rapidly as employees from all ages are expecting more from their workplace. With human capital as the most important part of any company (computers and phones can’t do the work without the direction of the people), the battle for top talent is intensifying. Winning leaders have realized the value of a strong and effective culture as a crucial, competitive advantage. I’ve written return on investment models for the value of human capital. It is key to so many aspects of a business: growth, innovation, cost savings, new product development… There’s so much to learn about how the work place must change or companies will loose their competitive edge…

Practical Research and Toolkits To Jumpstart Your Culture

I’ll be attending as part of Salesforce, along with a collection of brilliant minds — from top C.E.O.s to neuroscientists, from tech stars to organizational psychologists and other experts. The speakers will share research, insights and strategies for building the culture of a company that magnetically attracts the top talent. I’m excited because it will be an interactive summit, grounded in concrete ideas, science and real-world applications, not just theory. This is enticing because leaders want to know what they need to “do” to create and/or transform their culture and leadership to build a network of like-minded leaders and human capital that will attract customers for life and employees that are brand advocates.

So Who Are Some of The Speakers? There are many amazing speakers, but here’s a sneak peak at a few.  Just with this short list you can see the diversity in mindshare and the tremendous talent that will share their views on the new world of work. Check out the website for more…

Susan Wojcicki is C.E.O. of YouTube, the world’s most popular digital video platform used by over a billion people across the globe to access information, share video and shape culture. An early champion of online video who was instrumental in Google’s 2006 acquisition of YouTube, Susan now oversees YouTube’s content and business operations, engineering and product development.

Prior to joining YouTube in February 2014, Wojcicki was senior vice president of advertising and commerce at Google, where she oversaw the design and engineering of AdWords, AdSense, DoubleClick and Google Analytics. She joined Google in 1999 as the company’s first marketing manager and led the initial development of several key consumer products including Google Images and Google Books. In 2002, Susan began working on Google’s advertising products, and over the next 12 years, she led teams that helped define the vision and direction of Google’s monetization platforms. Susan graduated with honors from Harvard University, holds a master’s in economics from U.C. Santa Cruz and an M.B.A. from U.C.L.A. In 2015, Susan was named to TIME’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Lee Daniels is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker whose work is trademarked by authenticity and candor, providing audiences with a unique and refreshing experience and character insight with each of his projects. He is perhaps best known for the 2013 critically acclaimed box office smash “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” in addition to his 2009 feature “Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire,” which was nominated for six Academy Awards including best motion picture of the year and best achievement in directing. The film also made history, as Daniels became the first African-American to be nominated for the D.G.A.’s outstanding directorial achievement in feature film award. Daniels’s other feature directing credits include his 2005 directorial debut “Shadowboxer” and the 2012 thriller “The Paperboy,” in addition to producing “Monster’s Ball,” for which Halle Berry won an Oscar. In 2015, Daniels expanded his influence into the world of television by co-creating the Fox network’s mega hit series “Empire,” for which he wrote and directed the pilot, in addition to subsequent episodes, and continues to serve as a producer on the series. In 2015, Daniels went on to sign an overall development deal with Fox television, where he continues to create develop, write, direct and supervise new projects under his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner. He is currently working on his latest series, “STAR,” which premiered on Fox in December 2016.

Alexa von Tobel, CFP® is the founder and C.E.O. of LearnVest.com, and The New York Times best-selling author of “Financially Fearless.” Originally from Florida, von Tobel graduated from Harvard College and went to Harvard Business School before launching LearnVest, which is redefining the American approach to personal finance. LearnVest matches clients with financial planners and their powerful planning technology to create simple, affordable financial plans. Von Tobel raised nearly $75 million in financing for LearnVest, which was acquired by Northwestern Mutual in May 2015 in one of the biggest fintech acquisitions of the decade. Von Tobel is also the host of a weekly radio show on SiriusXM called “Financially Fearless with Alexa von Tobel.”

Hamdi Ulukaya is founder, chairman and C.E.O. of Chobani, LLC, widely regarded as one of the most successful American food companies of the past decade and a pioneer for the natural food movement.

A Kurdish Turk raised in a dairy-farming family in a small village in eastern Turkey, Ulukaya launched Chobani Greek Yogurt in upstate New York in 2007 with the mission and vision of making better food more accessible. In less than five years, Chobani became the No. 1-selling Greek yogurt brand in the U.S. with more than a billion dollars in annual sales — making Chobani one of the fastest growing companies of its time.

Ulukaya’s vision for Chobani has effectively transformed the food industry in America. Founded with the belief that success would also be measured by the improvement of its local communities, Chobani has donated 10 percent of its profits to charitable causes, many of them in Idaho and New York where Chobani is made, from the very beginning.

A devoted philanthropist, Ulukaya signed The Giving Pledge in 2015 and committed the majority of his wealth to help address the global refugee crisis. To bring entrepreneurial approaches and creative solutions to displaced persons and refugees around the world, he founded the Tent Foundation in the same year. He has been named an Eminent Advocate by the United Nations Refugee Agency (U.N.H.C.R.) and in 2015 received the United Nations Foundation Global Leadership Award, among other recognitions, for his work with underserved individuals around the world. In April 2014, Ulukaya was selected by President Barack Obama as an inaugural member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) and was named the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year 2013.

Ulukaya sits on the board of the International Board of Special Olympics, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, The American Turkish Council, The American Turkish Society and Pathfinder Village for Down syndrome. He is also a vice chair of the corporate fund board of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Ulukaya is a big fan of independent films and the Turkish soccer team Fenerbahce. He lives in New Berlin, N.Y., with his two German Shepherds.

Roelof F. Botha is a partner at Sequoia Capital and focuses on internet, services and software investments. He is a director of Eventbrite, Evernote, Inside.com, MongoDB, Natera, Square, Unity Technologies, Weebly and Whisper. He is also involved with Sequoia Capital portfolio companies including CEGX and Mapillary. Previously, he was a director of YouTube.com, Insider Pages, Meebo, TokBox (Telefonica Digital), Nimbula, Tumblr, Jawbone, Xoom and AssureX, and led Sequoia’s investment in Instagram. Prior to joining Sequoia Capital in 2003, Roelof served as the chief financial officer of PayPal, an online payments company. Earlier, he worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. Roelof is a certified actuary (fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries) and holds a B.S. in actuarial science, economics and statistics from the University of Cape Town and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Melanie Whelan is the chief executive officer of SoulCycle, the one-of-a-kind fitness experience sweeping the United States. Prior to her C.E.O. appointment, Whelan served as the brand’s C.O.O. since 2012, focusing on managing and scaling the company’s operation from seven to over 65 studios.

Prior to SoulCycle, Whelan was the vice president of business development at Equinox, a luxury fitness and lifestyle company based out of New York City. In addition to being integral in the Equinox acquisition of SoulCycle, Whelan led the development of both the Pure Yoga and Blink brands under the Equinox umbrella.

Dr. Astro Teller currently oversees X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory for building magical, audaciously impactful ideas that through science and technology can be brought to reality. Before joining Google/Alphabet, Teller was the co-founding C.E.O. of Cerebellum Capital, Inc., an investment management firm whose investments are continuously designed, executed and improved by a software system based on techniques from statistical machine learning. Teller was also the co-founding C.E.O. of BodyMedia, Inc., a leading wearable body-monitoring systems company. Prior to starting BodyMedia, Teller was co-founding C.E.O. of SANDbOX AD, an advanced development technology incubator. Before his tenure as a business executive, Teller taught at Stanford University and was an engineer and researcher for Phoenix Laser Technologies, Stanford’s Center for Integrated Systems, and The Carnegie Group Incorporated. Teller holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Stanford University, Master of Science in symbolic and heuristic computation, also from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon University. Through his work as a scientist, inventor and entrepreneur, Teller holds many U.S. and international patents related to his work in hardware and software technology. Teller is also a successful novelist and screenwriter.

Aileen Lee is the founder of Cowboy Ventures, a seed-stage focused fund. Cowboy Ventures seeks to back exceptional founders who are building technology products that reimagine work and personal life in large and growing markets — what they call “Life 2.0.” Cowboy-backed companies include August, Area 1 Security, DocSend, Dollar Shave Club, Guild Education, Lending Home, MassDrop, Product Hunt and Textio.

Prior to Cowboy, Lee joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB) in 1999, where she worked hands-on with a range of consumer, enterprise, media and greentech companies. During that time she was also founding C.E.O. of KPCB-backed RMG Networks, the leading digital out-of-home media network. She previously worked in various operating roles at Gap Inc. and as an analyst at Morgan Stanley. Lee enjoys thinking about and writing about tech insights, including “Welcome to the Unicorn Club” and “Why Women Rule the Internet.” She has degrees from M.I.T., Harvard and Millburn High School. Lee is also mom to three kids and wife to the co-founder/C.T.O. of a series-B startup, Renovo Motors.

Will I See You There? I Hope So!

Above are just a few of the amazing people that will be sharing their wisdom, experience and thought leadership on the new world of work. If you can’t be there, you’ll want to follow the twitter conversations at @NYTLive and #nytnewwork and on Instagram and check out their videos on Youtube from previous conference as well as a sneak peak into what’s coming up for the 2017 New Work Summit.

As part of the wonderful Ohana (family) at Salesforce, I am truly honored to be taking part in such an important and key conference on the future of work.


VP, Program Executive, Innovation and Transformation Center (ITC), Salesforce

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