What a terrific, inspiring event! I’m just back from the Strategic Growth Forum US 2016 in Palm Springs, Calif., where I represented Merrill Corporation on a technology panel, took in a variety of speaker sessions and of course, spent time talking with new and established entrepreneurs from around the country and across industries.
The Digital Journey
The panel I joined was on the “digital journey” that companies set for themselves and clients. My fellow panelists --from NBC, GE and NetJets – and I shared perspectives on data gathering, information use and how they focus their technology efforts. Although we all faced very different technology challenges -- harnessing the terabytes of data from GE jet engines, running an airline or, in Merrill’s case, building a new platform for regulatory and financial services – there were a number of common themes. These included the consumer expectation of constant connection and ease of use, as well as how a company uses that data to become increasingly predictive and influential in their industry.
During the panel, I also talked about security and Merrill’s underlying value of building trust with our clients. I tied this point back to a session earlier in the day with Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why” and presenter of one of the most watched TedTalks of all time, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Simon had spoken about how customers can tell if your company is focused on a mission and a big picture, or if you’re in it for short-term goals. To me, this encapsulated how Merrill balances agility and responsiveness with its long-term view on security and the trust our clients place in us.
That theme of values and mission-driven business really hit home, though, when I had the chance to talk with the entrepreneurs at the conference. These conversations reminded me of an earlier point in my career when I myself was an entrepreneur. These men and women are so passionate about singular vision that they are willing to take big risks to make it happen. Congratulations to all the award winners this year and thanks to my own colleagues at Merrill who inspire me with their own entrepreneurial spirit in helping make our customers and us successful.