There are so many tools of the trade for email marketers, it’s obvious email service providers (ESPs) would be something of a big topic in the industry. Which ESPs provide which services, do they impact your deliverability, how do you decide which one is right for you? After those questions comes an even harder one: How should I migrate from one ESP to another without causing damage to my email marketing program?
Our next Email Expert Series video explores the complicated answer to that question, touching on why someone would find themselves in this situation, how to transition from one to another, and what you can (and should) expect to see in these scenarios. As an added bonus, we have Seth Charles, principal email deliverability and industry relations manager at Iterable, joining our team of 250ok experts, including Anthony Chiulli as host, Luke Martinez as a technical expert, and Julie Coval, director of partnerships, who knows how intricate ESP relationships and use cases can be.
(We’ve found key timestamps and transcribed this video below.)
Total Run Time: 14 minutes
00:47 – Common risks and challenges in migrating an email service provider (ESP)
3:12 – Seth Charles from Iterable provides advice for marketers preparing for a migration
4:28 – Recommendations for the request for proposal (RFP) process when assessing new ESPs
7:10 – Good and bad reasons for marketers to consider switching ESPs
9:10 – Importance of having a migration blueprint and defining team responsibilities
12:04 – Reasons why marketers should or shouldn’t leverage multiple ESPs
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Hi, everyone. My name is Anthony Chiulli, and I am here live in the Edge Studios in Indianapolis, and I’m joined by a fantastic cast. We are going to be talking about a really cool topic today in ESP migrations, and some of the tips and tricks marketers should understand if you’re going through one of those. Also, some learnings from all of us, being in this industry, about things that you should avoid and mitigate. So joining me, to my right, is Luke Martinez, and to my left, is Julie, and we also have dialing in remote today, as our guest, Seth Charles from Iterable. So everyone, thanks so much for joining me today, and let’s get right into it.
ESP migrations, I think, is something that often is overlooked and misunderstood for any marketer that’s gone through an ESP migration. There’s usually war stories and rolling of eyes about the experience, and rightfully so, right? It’s uprooting your entire marketing tech stack and moving it from one platform to the next, and it’s a daunting task. Luke, from your experience, just in general, what are some of the concerns or risks that come along with a migration from one platform to another?
Yeah, there’s a bunch. I mean, the first few that come to mind, and I’m sure we’ve all fought different battles doing migrations, but timing is a big one, choosing when you’re going to do it. Don’t do it in November and December, when a lot of people are sending the most email. Also, timing it in terms of having a little buffer with your previous ESP and your new one. So don’t have a hard cut-off date and expect to be completely transitioned on that date. You want some overlap. It’s unfortunate, you’ll probably pay two bills for a short period of time, but it’s well worth it because it never goes exactly how you think it’s going to go. You’ll have to dial it back, and then you’ll have to speed it up, and you want to have some redundancy, so timing the end of your previous relationship with the beginning of your new one that’s super important. Clearly, downtime is not an option, and warm-up, again, kind of a fragile thing. You can’t always send as much mail as you want the day you want to. So to avoid downtime, you’ve got to have some overlap and make sure that you’re timing that appropriately.
Julie, what are some other challenges that come to mind in ESP migrations?
Yeah, I think as you’re even considering migrating ESPs, you’ve probably already done a ton of research to decide which ESP makes the most sense for your organization. But as a part of that, it’s going to take even more effort to build out a full integration plan, and think about how much time that that’s actually going to take you. I know Luke mentioned having that ESP overlap time. Well, you really need to make sure you’re understanding how long you expect it to take you to migrate to know, okay, well, how long am I going to need my previous ESP? And also, on top of your original plan, understand that you probably want a remediation plan, right? Because you have unexpected occurrences come up, and you want to make sure, all right, how are we going to sidestep in case something happens that we don’t expect?
So Seth, I’m really interested in your perspective there at Iterable and overseeing deliverability. I’m sure that you’re getting new customers weekly and involved in a lot of these warm-ups and migrations and escalations. From your experience, what are some of the challenges from your seat that you’re seeing?
Yeah, I mean, something that we deal with a lot is just making sure that when customers are kind of scoping out what that might look like when they come over to us, know we’re always wanting to make sure that there’s parity between the feature set and segmentation logic and capabilities. Just to make sure that it matches or exceeds what they had before just to make sure that there’s no kind of downtime or piecing together segmentation logic that they might have to use. And then another big one that I’ve dealt with a lot, kind of, throughout my career is just making sure that senders are able to transfer important aspects of their database, like suppression tables. So that way they don’t come on to a new platform and all of a sudden we lack kind of historical suppression data because sending to that would, from a new infrastructure, would obviously create a ton of issues. So those are kind of the two main pillars that we focus on, at least to start.
Yeah, I would agree. And on that I think it’s an excellent response which leads me into our next question about—even backing up a little bit further, before a migration is occurring is the RFP process in which many customers and marketers go through and assessing which ESP is right for my business. What do you suggest marketers consider when going out for bid in RFP and shopping—or going out for bid for RFPs and shopping ESPs, what are some of the maybe tricks or tips that, from your seat, kind of seeing perhaps what can happen if these aren’t followed? Can you share any recommendations for a shopping-RFP process?
Yeah, definitely. And we go through this a ton, right? So the number one thing that we often chat with customers about is just making sure that they aren’t thinking kind of short term. If a customer is in a position where they’re at the end of a contract or something, and they need to consider moving ESP platforms in a hurry, it’s always important to kind of have the longer-term kind of goals in mind. Because you don’t want to make this significant of a change in all these things that can impact your business for a long time. You don’t want to make that just based near-term goals. You want to make sure and kind of position yourself to be able to scale kind of moving forward. Another huge one is going to be the reporting aspects so making sure that the reporting that they would expect to be able to get and the things that they rely on to help make decisions on their part, match up appropriately and then also help educate them about some of the custom reporting capabilities that they might have that could allow them to even get better over time, which is obviously part of that long-term plan. And then just in terms of the data flow itself is always going to be important. So making sure that your webhooks are in place, making sure that the integrations are happening, so they’re able to update their subscriber database and things like that with as minimal kind of growing pains as possible.
Yeah, I think that’s a great response, and I love when you talk about right sizing for the future and not for today because ESP migrations aren’t something that a brand or a company wants to do over and over again within a few years. I think it’s always kind of, buy above your current needs and wants and optimistically choose a provider that’s going to allow you to grow and continue to optimize your business, so that you’re not facing another migration because of a lack of features or functionalities in the near future.
Luke, talk about maybe some of the valid versus invalid reasons that brands should even consider switching platforms.
Yeah, there’s a lot of good reasons to switch, and there’s a lot of unfortunately common bad reasons to switch. And I think an example of a bad reason is magic IP addresses or better deliverability. We used to get this a lot when I was in the ESP space. Our competitors—and we were kind of guilty of it too, we would say we’re the best at deliverability, and the truth is the sender determines their destiny deliverability-wise. It’s your engagement. It’s your complaints. It’s your content. No ESP has magic IP addresses that just do a better job at sending email. So I always try to push back on this idea that switching an ESP is going to get you a better open rate. If it does, it’s because it’s likely something that you’re doing better or worse in one place or the other. I think that competitive pricing, that’s probably a good reason. Obviously, everyone has a budget. The actual sending of the emails has kind of become commoditized these days, so sometimes it is a pricing reason. But I think the best reasons to switch are about service level. Do you trust these people that are going to be your partner, helping you manage a really important part of your business, an important channel for you? So what’s their service level? Functionality, knowing some of the stuff that Seth listed off like can I do the segmentation I want my audience targeting? Does the campaign builder do the thing I want? Does it have automation workflows? Maybe you don’t even need those. So some of the bells and whistles that might be available, are you going to actually put those to use? So to me, the good reasons are things like functionality, to some extent, price, the service level, the relationship level between you and the ESP. Bad reasons are, “I’m leaving because my open rate’s low.” It’s not your ESP. Your open rate being low is you got to do some soul searching and work with their services teams and leverage a tool like 250ok or something else to help you figure out what’s causing it because it’s almost never your ESPs fault.
Almost never. I would agree. Julie, what about just the mindset and preparation, right? So go through the RFP process, you choose valid reasons to make the switch, and now you’re ready to undergo the planning and preparation for migrating. What are some of the recommendations for that aspect?
Yeah, I think, like you said, you’ve already gone through a lot of processes. You’re probably getting excited because you’ve decided which ESP makes the most sense for you, but I would say you’re at one of the most vital steps in the process, of the fact that you really need to make sure you have a clear migration plan. And the reason for that is as you’re migrating to a new ESP, it takes a village, right? It’s going to be a cross-departmental effort from not only your marketing team, but your IT team, your product team, really anyone who’s touching the ESP or even touching your brand, quite honestly. So you need to make sure that everyone is not only aligned on what their role is, and what tasks they’re doing, but what is the timeline and what are the expected milestones. You need to have set time periods of when you want to get things done because if not, you’re just going to be kind of going with the flow and who knows what might happen. So as a part of that, I would say what I touched on a little bit earlier is making sure you have that remediation plan in place. I mean, hopefully, you vetted your initial migration plan so that everyone is on the same page, but, as I said, you might have some type of unexpected occurrences happen. You need to make sure that you can go in a different direction in the case that something isn’t expected. Something that you wanted to happen didn’t happen on time, and you need to just make sure you have that kind of plan B. The other two pieces that I think are important to be aware of is, what data can I transfer from my old ESP to my new ESP, making sure that you have that within your plan to not only get that data over that you need, but also if there’s certain data that isn’t easily transferable, you have a way to capture that and maintain it, so that you can move forward, as a company, with that data. And then finally, what we’d said a couple times earlier, of making sure you have time with both of those ESPs overlapping, and I think that’s really huge. While it is a bummer that you might have to pay a little extra for a few months, it’s really important to have your previous ESP intact so that you can maintain sending messages out of it, while you can’t send those messages that you want out of your new ESP.
Yeah, I think the importance of preparation and plan, what I call “blueprint,” for a successful migration is paramount. And it’s a huge undertaking, and there’s numerous departments involved, like you said, and having, certainly, a strong PM to oversee that migration, that blueprint, and have, like you mentioned, definitive timelines and steps and statuses to keep everyone on track is crucial. Luke and Seth, I wanted to get your opinion, and start with you, Luke, about this notion that, what I don’t think many people understand is, a lot of senders actually use multiple sending platforms or ESPs throughout their business. Maybe it’s for different mail streams, or different departments. Is this a common trend, and what are the reasons to consider perhaps using multiple ESPs?
Yeah, it’s similar to the last question I took. I think there’s good reasons and bad reasons to do the multiple ESP thing. Start with the good reasons. If you have transactional mail streams and you have a solid email service provider that, more or less, behaves as a pipe, and they’re just triggering messages through them. It’s not about marketing automation or beautiful design templates and stuff like that. There’s certain ESPs where that’s their wheelhouse, transactional email. They have robust APIs. They can send email as fast or as slow as you need to, etc., and then you might have some other more marketing- and kind of nurture-focused things that do require automation and drip campaigns and all this stuff. And you want to use their template editor. Very few do all of these things really well, and I think there is a legitimate case to be made that some are really good at transactional and some not so good at the marketing and some vice versa, so, good reason to use two ESPs. Another one is I think in the event of outages, most of these ESPs these days have four-nines of up-time, they’re extremely reliable. Everyone has outages, though, and if you’re a huge sender and you’re constantly sending email all day, and your ESP goes down, you’ve got to have the—you got to be able to flip a switch and go somewhere else. And if that’s the case, you need it to be warm. You can’t just go zipping up a new account somewhere else and send 10 million messages on day one. But if you’ve always sent a little bit through each, you’ve got some hot IPs that are familiar with your domain, you’ve been using that infrastructure for a while. In the event that you’ve got to switch over, you can do that. And if you’re not using two, I mean, that’s the whole topic is switching ESPs. It’s hard to do, so have one ready, so if you need to, you can switch it over.
Seth, do you have anything to add on to that question?
Yeah, I mean, Luke definitely hit a number of those, so when a particular ESP is good at something, and you want to kind of utilize different pipes to do things that they specialize in, that does make a lot of sense. And then, when it comes to—even when a decision is made to completely transfer, it’s not always a bad idea to kind of hedge your bets a little bit because like Julie has mentioned a bunch of times, warm-ups rarely go perfectly the first time. So in the event that some unintended segment was included as part of warm-up and it really kind of sets you back days or weeks even, it’s always important to kind of have that safety net to where you can kind of default back to in the event that something happens. And you can utilize that infrastructure again because like Luke mentioned obviously it’s already warm. The infrastructure that you send with is already established, and that’s something that filtering companies and mailbox providers certainly look for.
Yeah, I would agree. I think this has been valuable information, guys. And, Seth, thanks so much for dialing in remote. I wanted to thank our audience for tuning in. I certainly think that ESP migrations is something that can be daunting, but if you have the right preparation and resources and intel to ask qualified questions during the RFP process as well as pre and post-migration, it can actually be a successful project. So thanks for watching, everyone.
Mark Briggs serves as chairman and CEO of Validity, a company he founded in partnership with Silversmith Capital Partners. He has over 25 years of experience building and leading high-growth technology companies with a strong track record of generating exceptional shareholder value. Most recently, Mark served as CEO of ABILITY Network, recognized in the Forbes Cloud 100 as one of the top 100 cloud companies in the world, which was acquired by Inovalon (NASDAQ:INOV) for $1.2 Billion.
Prior to ABILITY, Mark held executive leadership positions at Carefx Corporation, at NaviNet, was the President of MPI Solutions at QuadraMed Corporation, and served as the Chairman and CEO of LinkSoft Technologies, a company that he founded. Mark is a member of the Board of Advisors to the Dartmouth Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and is a Senior Advisor to Silversmith Capital Partners, a leading Boston based growth-equity firm.
Mark holds a Master’s in theoretical physics and a Bachelor’s degree in physics, both from Dartmouth College.
Wayne Parslow serves as Executive Vice President of Validity for International and is building a world-class sales and go-to-market team to maximize Validity’s opportunities across the UK & Ireland, EMEA, LATAM and APAC. In addition to general management, he is responsible for the development and execution of business plans, go-to-market programs, sales management, strategic partnerships, and public representation for the International markets, and to develop the business at least in line with the aspirations of the US domestic market.
For over 25 years, Wayne has been successfully building, scaling and restructuring international companies in various industries, including document and workflow management, integration and interoperability, web application development, security, access management, eCommerce, business process management and the application of open source and open standards.
Prior to Validity, he served as head of European, Middle Eastern and African markets for global digital identity company, ThreatMetrix.
Wayne received his Bachelor of Science in Applied Science from Kingston University.
Gary Hall serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Validity. Gary has over 20 years of experience leading finance and operational teams at high-growth, technology companies and helping these companies generate significant shareholder value through public and private offerings and successful exits.
Prior to joining Validity, Gary was the Chief Financial Officer of Casa Systems, Inc., a provider of ultra-broadband solutions for mobile, cable, fixed and converged service providers, and helped lead the company through significant growth, culminating in an Initial Public Offering in 2017. Prior to Casa System, Gary was the Chief Financial Officer of eCopy, a provider of document management solutions, which was sold to Nuance Communications in 2009. Gary was also the Controller and then Chief Financial Officer of MatrixOne, a product life-cycle management software company, and he helped lead the company’s Initial Public Offering in 2000 and the sale of the Company to Dassault Systems in 2006. Gary is a Certified Public Accountant and worked at Deloitte, a multinational professional services firm.
Gary holds a M.S. degree in Finance from Bentley University and a B.S. degree in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University.
Derek Swaim serves as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development for Validity and is responsible for all aspects of corporate development strategy and execution.
Derek brings more than 20 years of corporate transaction experience to Validity. He has advised leading private equity and founder-owned technology companies on domestic and cross-border strategic M&A, leveraged buyouts, and growth equity recapitalizations. Prior to Validity, Derek was a Managing Director at Aeris Partners, a provider of M&A advisory services to software, digital media, and business information companies. Derek also held investment banking positions at Harris Williams, Broadview International, and Goldman Sachs.
Derek has an AB in Economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.
Bonnie is passionate about excellent customer experience. With a background in marketing, merchandise buying, and retail management, she helps companies stay relevant amid the changing digital landscape.
Bonnie leads the Customer Success team at Validity, the most trusted name in customer data quality. She is an active Email Experience Council committee member, featured speaker for events, and has written for the company blog and TotalRetail.
Don Williams serves as Executive Vice President of Sales for Validity. With over 25 years in the healthcare technology industry, Don has a track record of creating, restructuring, and motivating organizations to consistently exceed sales, financial and operational goals.
Don is focused on client services for the firm, as well as creating a positive culture of accountability, developing and executing growth strategies, and monitoring business operations with attention to cost efficiency.
Prior to Validity, Don served as the SVP of Operations for MedeAnalytics Inc., a leading healthcare analytics company for providers and payers.
Don received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He also received his Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate from Villanova University.
Josh Stuber is a customer centric leader focused on delivering value and leveraging customer feedback to ensure long term relationships. Josh currently runs the Validity Global Renewal Team, responsible for spearheading Customer Retention and Renewals across the globe.
In addition to his executive career, Josh serves on the board of West Georgia Habitat for Humanity, a charity that brings people together to build homes, communities and hope for impoverished families.
Scott Ziegler is Validity’s Chief Product Officer. Leveraging input from customers and analyzing market trends, Scott sets the strategic direction for Validity’s product portfolio. Scott joined Validity through the acquisition of Return Path in 2019. He remains active in the email community and the product management community and has presented at industry events.
Before joining Validity, Scott held leadership roles in Product and Engineering at IBM and Ricoh and holds multiple patents. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from Muskingum University.
Josh Stuber is a customer centric leader focused on delivering value and leveraging customer feedback to ensure long term relationships. Josh currently runs the Validity Global Renewal Team, responsible for spearheading Customer Retention and Renewals across the globe.
In addition to his executive career, Josh serves on the board of West Georgia Habitat for Humanity, a charity that brings people together to build homes, communities and hope for impoverished families.
Helen Parslow serves as Vice President of Validity for International managing a world class go-to-market team to maximize Validity’s opportunities across the UK & Ireland, EMEA, LATAM and APAC.
Helen is a seasoned marketing leader who is passionate about building brands and is experienced in developing and executing insights-driven marketing plans and World class event presence that span both our global and international marketing initiatives.
Prior to Validity, she served as Head of Marketing and Business Development at Medeanalytics, EMEA. Marketing data solutions for healthcare unlocking the value of data for better patient outcomes.
Helen received her BA (Honours) Business studies degree from Nottingham Trent University.
Tunc Bolluk is Vice President, APAC for Validity. He is responsible for leading sales and for overseeing general management of the region for the company. Tunc brings his extensive regional experience in the digital sector to support Validity’s clients across their marketing, sales, data & CRM business units.
For over 20 years, Tunc has worked in general management roles in sales, channel/alliance management, and client services. He has extensive experience leading and mentoring sales teams and executing strategic business plans within the Cloud/SaaS, digital, big data and the ad-tech space.
Tunc holds a Bachelor of Computer Science from Macquarie University.
Chris Bryan serves as Vice President of Sales for the UK & Ireland at Validity International managing Validity’s go to market efforts in the region.
Chris brings 27 year’s experience working for technology companies predominantly SaaS based Software Companies. Chris is passionate about enabling everyone to make better fact based, data driven decisions coming from the Business Intelligence and Visual Analytics space (Qlik, Business Objects (SAP), Crystal Decisions) building and developing highly successful Sales & Business Development teams.
Chris is passionate about Sales Best Practice to deliver positive outcomes with excellent service for our customers and supporting his teams personal and professional growth.
Brian Winters brings nearly 20 years’ experience in the marketing technologies field to Validity and has worked for many marketing technology software companies including ExactTarget, Salesforce, and Movable Ink.
He has held positions in Sales, Sales Leadership, Operations, Strategy, and Partnerships. He has provided tactical execution strategies or program deployment guidance for organizations such as Intel Corporation, Motorola, and 3M amongst many others. He is truly passionate about the positive impact that a well-designed, deployed, and executed partner program can bring to an organization and is considered to be a thought leader in the development of indirect sales channels within the SaaS industry.
At Validity, he leads our efforts to develop programs that empower partners to best leverage Validity technology and solutions for our customers.
As Senior Vice President and Global Head of Data Solutions at Validity, Chris is responsible for executive direction, roadmap, and overall management of Validity’s data solutions. He works closely with industry operators, customers, and data analytics to drive an informed product strategy.
One of the first International employees of Validity, Chris brings 25+ years experience as an individual contributor and leader in Pre-Sales, Product, and Customer Success roles across multiple startup and large enterprise software companies.
With a passion for technology, Chris is a regular contributor to events, blogs and an active member of the International Salesforce Community.
Cecilia Belele serves as Vice President for LATAM. She is responsible for leading sales team and also oversees general management of the region.
Previously she served as Regional Director for Return Path and earlier as Channel Director responsible to develop the partner program for LATAM Region. With an extensive experience leading sales teams and executing strategic business plans she helps Validity to increase its presence in Latam market.
Cecilia has Bachelor of Economy with an MBA for Business and Technology Management
Kevin Randall serves as the Head of the Integration and Project Management offices at Validity. Kevin brings 15 years of experience in Integration, Portfolio, Operations, and IT Service Management as well as a track record of developing the teams, processes, and systems to scale growth oriented organizations.
Kevin received his Bachelors from Bentley University in Waltham MA.
Guy is a passionate advocate for intelligent use of customer data to drive responsive sales and marketing programs. With a knowledge base spanning twenty years, he is globally recognized as an email & data expert and thought leader.
Over the past decade Guy led Return Path’s global consulting team and worked with world-famous clients across 6 continents to improve their email delivery, subscriber engagement and revenue.
Now Validity’s VP for Customer Engagement (International), he continues to explore his passion for email and data and share it with his clients to maximise their program value. He’s a strong believer in giving back to his community, speaking at flagship events, providing training, and producing fresh and insightful thought leadership.
Outside of work, Guy has had long-term involvement with the DMA, currently sitting on the email council and involved with key pieces of research. He is a regular contributor to the industry press, and a 3-time finalist as data storyteller of the year!
Alex Rubin serves as Vice President Business Development at Validity. He is responsible for data acquisition efforts including mailbox provider and filtering company relationships. Alex has worked in leadership roles at several successful start-ups including Return Path (acquired by Validity), RemarQ (acquired by Critical Path), and Rocket Science Games (acquired by Sega Software).
Alex was born, raised and currently lives in San Francisco, CA. He holds a BA from UC Berkeley and an MBA from UCLA.
Brendan Peregrine serves as the Vice President of North American Sales for the midmarket. Brendan has spent the last 12 years in sales leadership roles, building process driven teams that achieve results.
With a background in data and years of working in data related business, Brendan is passionate about coaching problem solving skills in the data and world with his teams. Previously Brendan served as Vice President of Sales at Greenway Health, after spending 10 years in operations and services roles.
Elaine Ginsberg serves as Vice President Sales Operations. Elaine brings over 25 years of operations, sales and product experience to Validity. She has a solid track record building organization infrastructure and executing programs utilizing process, technology and employee engagement to drive rapid growth.
Prior to Validity, Elaine served as SVP Customer Operations & Success for ABILITY Network, a leading healthcare technology company, recently acquired by Inovalon; and held leadership roles with Vitera Healthcare Solutions, Sage Healthcare and Emdeon.
Tom Bartel is Validity’s Senior Vice President of Data Services. Tom has more than 20 years of email delivery, data, technology, operations, and privacy experience. He most recently joined Return Path through its acquisition of ThreatWave, where he served as CEO/Founder. Prior to that, he has held roles at Return Path, MessageMedia (acquired by DoubleClick), and founded several other startups.
Tom is actively involved in key industry organizations, such M3AAWG and ESPC, and advises start-ups and non-profits. Tom has a Bachelor in Speech Communication from Colorado State University.
Karen Friedrich serves as Senior Vice President of Enterprise and Channel Sales for North America. With over 15 years’ experience in enterprise software sales and strategy, Karen has a track record of success in both the private and public sector markets including sales management, product strategy, marketing, channel management, and solution deployment. Karen brings an entrepreneurial drive, strong relationship development skills, and credibility gained through sales and operational experience.
Prior to joining Validity in 2018, Karen served as VP of Channel Sales at MedeAnalytics, Inc. a leading analytics company for providers and payers, and held sales leadership roles at Harris Corporation, Carefx Corporation, and WebMD.
Serving as Validity’s CIO, Steve Doyle is responsible for creating and executing upon the business-aligned vision and roadmap for Information Technology systems and solutions at Validity, including IT Corporate Services, telephony, corporate networking, and Core Business Systems. Steve brings more than 25 years of prior industry experience in a variety of IT roles, all in High Tech, SaaS-based industries.
Prior to joining Validity, Steve was Vice President of IT & Business Systems for Endurance International Group, where he oversaw Corporate IT, Infrastructure, CRM, Data Warehouse, and other mission-critical business applications for Endurance’s 4,000+ employees, globally.
As Senior Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Development, Lily is responsible for developing and executing cross-organizational strategies that drive scale and growth for Validity.
Lily started her career as a consultant at PwC, and has since moved into high-growth technology startups where she has held various leadership positions at industry-leading SaaS companies. Prior to Validity, Lily ran Strategic Partnerships for Optoro – a VC-backed reverse logistics company – where she was responsible for the company’s channel revenue and network of distribution partners. Before that, she was the Co-Founder and COO of Aspire – a tech-enabled employee engagement company – where she managed all business strategy and operations. Aspire was acquired by Raffa, P.C., now a part of Marcum LLP.
Lily graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgetown University with a BSBA in Finance and Chinese. Hoya Saxa!
Michael Fairchild serves as the Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis for Validity and brings to us his expertise regarding all aspects of strategic corporate financial planning, and valuable analysis which drives business decisions.
Michael brings 12+ years of financial experience in SaaS technology companies, ranging from start-up companies to large enterprise technology companies. Prior to Validity, Michael supported the growth of a Rhode Island based start-up, from venture backed to private equity sponsorship. Additionally, he spent 5+ years in various roles at IBM in the SaaS finance group, where he supported mergers & acquisitions, integration, and growth of over 10 acquired technology companies into a single business unit.
Michael holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School and a degree in economics from Dickinson College.
Diane Gordon is an accomplished C-level executive with over 25 years of driving retention and growth by creating scalable infrastructure in support of profitable P&Ls and customer loyalty, the basis for minimizing churn. She designs and leads the development of market-leading products, programs and solutions, achieving high growth, while ensuring customer loyalty, and healthy renewal and NCVI rates for technology companies. Diane’s career includes executive roles in customer care, operations, marketing, product development, product management and corporate development.
Greg has BSBAs in Economics, Finance and Real Estate from University of Denver and an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.
As Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kate leads all of Validity’s marketing efforts.
Prior to Validity, Kate was Vice President of Marketing at Drift, where she discovered her passion for helping and marketing to sales professionals and marketers. While there, Kate built the demand generation function from the ground up, achieving more than 200% in pipeline growth. Before Drift, Kate led the demand generation and marketing operations teams at SmartBear, where she managed the pipeline generation for a portfolio of more than 20 products.
Kate has also led marketing and product for a number of early stage startups ranging in size and industry, from education and healthcare to employee engagement. She is passionate about bringing businesses to life in the hearts and minds of prospects and customers by creating amazing customer experiences across the entire customer lifecycle.
Kate holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Regis College.
As SVP of Legal, Eduardo owns the global legal function at Validity.
Eduardo has practiced law for more than 20 years in both corporate and law firm environments. Eduardo has broad legal experience in SaaS commercial transactions, risk management, M&A, due diligence, entity and product integrations, intellectual property, data privacy, regulatory compliance, and corporate governance.
Eduardo has an LL.M. in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a B.A. from the University of Dallas.
Jim co-founded Silversmith Capital Partners in 2015. Over his career, he has served on the board of 20+ tech companies. Past and current board seats at Silversmith include Absorb Software, Centauri Health Solutions, Comlinkdata, Formstack, impact.com, Market Access Transformation, Net Health, PDFTron Systems, RedAwning, TMA Systems, and Validity.
Jim spent 15 years as a growth equity investor prior to co-founding Silversmith. Jim joined Spectrum Equity in 2002 and became a Managing Director in 2009. At Spectrum Equity, Jim sourced, led, and served on the board of numerous enterprise SaaS, information services, and healthcare IT companies. Investments of note included MedHOK (acquired by Hearst), Net Health (acquired by Carlyle), and Passport Health Communications (acquired by Experian).
Jim received an AB, magna cum laude, in English & American Literature from Harvard College (1997). At Harvard he was nominated by the College for a Rhodes Scholarship and awarded the John P. Reardon Jr. Award as the class’ most outstanding scholar-athlete.
Sri joined Silversmith Capital Partners in 2015 and is a General Partner. At Silversmith, Sri focuses on investments in SaaS & Information Services, including sales, marketing and customer service related technology companies. His investment experience at Silversmith includes ActiveCampaign, DistroKid, Impact, PDFTron Systems, RedAwning Group, and Validity.
Prior to Silversmith, Sri was Senior Director of Advertising Products at salesforce.com where he served in various roles to create and scale the Salesforce Marketing Cloud business unit after joining Salesforce through its acquisition of Buddy Media. Prior to Buddy Media, Sri was an Associate at TA Associates and an Analyst with Jefferies Technology Investment Banking group.
He graduated from the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology at the University of Pennsylvania with a BS from The Wharton School and a BAS from the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Mike Volpe is the CEO at Lola.com, a business travel website that aligns managed travel policies with employee preferences for organizations to have a more controlled, yet fun, travel experience. Prior to Lola.com, Volpe was the CMO for HubSpot helping the company grow from a dozen beta customers to over 15,000 customers, 1,000 employees, $150 million in revenue, and creating an IPO leading to a $1.7 billion market cap.
Volpe has made more than 25 angel investments with 4 exits including HubSpot, Cybereason, Locately, GroSocial and ThriveHive through Operator.VC. He serves as an advisor to a number of companies and is on the board of directors of Repsly, a mobile CRM company and was on the board of Attend until they were acquired by Event Farm. Volpe has built his career in marketing at a number of different startups in Boston and San Francisco.
Mark Hastings is the Founder and CEO of Providence Strategic Growth. PSG has approximately $5B in AUM and has invested in over 200 software companies in North America and Europe. The firm is headquartered in Boston, MA and has offices in London, UK and Kansas City, MO. He received a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College.
Tom Reardon joined Providence Strategic Growth in 2015 and is a managing director. Mr. Reardon is currently a director of FluentStream, Formstack, INE, LogicMonitor, ShootProof, SignUpGenius and Skybox Security. Prior to PSG, Mr. Reardon was a general partner at WestView Capital Partners, where he focused on software and technology-enabled business service investments. Before WestView, he was a director at CIBC Capital Partners. Mr. Reardon received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College.
Barbara Cooke serves as Senior Vice President of Customer Success for Validity, where she is responsible for accelerating business value for customers and delivering an exceptional service experience through our market-leading cloud solutions.
Barb brings more than 25 years of international leadership experience to Validity through senior commercial, customer and operational roles at global technology organisations, including Cloudreach, Nasdaq and Thomson Reuters. She led these organisations through significant change, including post-merger integrations, the launch of new businesses from the ground up and organisational structure transformations that radically enhanced customer experience, improved efficiencies and drove product and service innovation. She has lived and worked extensively across eight countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, gaining first-hand experience in developing value-add, unique offerings and service strategies to multi-cultural customers.
Barb spent her early career leading and training teams for The Ritz Carlton Hotel company which ingrained her philosophy on what it means to deliver an exception customer experience. She is originally from Dallas, Texas and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Southern Methodist University.
Alain Marcuse serves as Chief Information Security Officer for Validity and oversees all strategic and operational aspects of data privacy, compliance, and security for the company.
Alain brings more than 30 years of experience in information security, data privacy and global 24×7 IT infrastructure operations to Validity. He has led high-growth, global, IT, security and privacy teams in organizations based in the Americas and Europe.
Prior to joining Validity, Alain led RSM’s cybersecurity consulting practice in New England and its data privacy practice nationally. In this and prior roles, he has led large-scale engagements in designing, developing and managing security and privacy programs for a wide range of companies and industries, as well as major incident response, litigation support and regulatory enforcement matters following some of the most visible data security breaches in the country. He has also been responsible for global 24×7 SaaS operations including infrastructure, security, and customer service.
He has also served as Consul of Belgium in New England, and is an Adjunct Instructor in the Master’s in Information Security Leadership program at Brandeis University, from which he received M.A. and B.A degrees in Computer Science. He holds multiple security and privacy certifications and serves as co-chair of the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Boston chapter and is a frequent presenter at a variety of security and privacy industry events.
For the past 21 years, Reed has served in CXO roles (CEO/co-founder, COO, CFO) for start-ups and early/mid stage companies in the medical devices, healthcare IT, active RFID, SaaS, avionics and life-sciences industries. He has extensive experience in M&A, and in venture/PE/debt financing. He was most recently CFO of Invicro, a CRO (Contract Research Org) in drug discovery and development.
For 22 years prior to these activities, Reed held leadership roles at Hewlett-Packard Co. to include Controllerships in semiconductor, analytical chemistry instrumentation, and computer businesses. He managed Controllership, Tax and Treasury for HP Asia Pacific and – separately – Internal Audit for Asia Pacific. He also managed operations and Controllership for HP’s Patient Monitoring business in HP’s Medical Products Group. Reed holds an MBA in Operations and a BS Finance from The University of Colorado.
As a Senior Vice President of Engineering, Gary oversees all strategic and operational aspects of Validity’s Product Development and executes on the business-aligned technology roadmap.
Gary brings more than 25 years of leadership experience to Validity through senior technical and operational roles in technology-led organizations, including Verizon Media, PictureTel and Polaroid.
As a co-founder of several companies, Gary built multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams to deliver market-leading products and solutions. He led these organizations through meaningful change, including post-merger integrations and organizational transformations to enhance product innovations and to improve efficiencies and customer experience.
Gary received a BS degree in Computer Science from Northeastern University and an MBA in International Business from Boston University
MJ McCarthy serves as Senior Vice President of Global Account Management for Validity, leading the teams responsible for retaining and growing Validity’s broad customer base.
Prior to joining Validity, MJ spent over 9 years leading Account Management at Everbridge, helping to scale a 20M business through IPO in 2016 to its present-day status as one of New England’s top performing SaaS companies. As part of Everbridge’s evolution, MJ implemented a customer success model to increase focus on solution adoption and value realization across strategic customers. During her tenure, Everbridge consistently achieved best-in-class customer retention, net promoter score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores based on feedback.
Recognized for her leadership in account management and customer success, MJ received a 2021 Stevie® Award, one of the world’s premier business accolades.
Prior to Everbridge, MJ held sales and account management leadership positions at CCBN, Thomson Financial, and Thomson Reuters.
As Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis, Andy is responsible for leading budgeting, forecasting, and analyses that support all major corporate decisions.
Andy began his career as an investment banker at Chestnut Partners – a life sciences industry focused boutique – and has since moved into corporate finance roles. Prior to Validity, Andy was Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy at Invicro – a global CRO offering imaging biomarkers, core lab services, analytics & software solutions to pharma/biotech sponsors – where he was responsible for both FP&A and corporate development activities of the company.
Andy holds an MBA from The University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, a BA in Economics from Middlebury College, and is a CFA® charterholder.
Ryan Policella serves as the Vice President of Global Sales Development for Validity, leading teams in the US, UK, Brazil and Australia responsible for lead generation for our new business sales organization.
Prior to Validity, Ryan spent the past 4 years at CloudHealth Technology building and leading the Sales Development organization which was later acquired by VMware. Before CloudHealth Ryan held numerous positions in Sales and Sales Leadership at Oracle supporting the Applications business unit and IaaS across all segments from Emerging Markets to Enterprise. Ryan’s extremely passionate about building and scaling SDR programs to not only drive revenue growth but to develop the next generation of Sales leaders.
Ryan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Springfield College.
Chris Newhall serves as the Chief Accounting Officer of Validity, where he is responsible for the Company’s global accounting, financial reporting, financial operations, tax, and treasury functions.
Chris brings more than 25 years of business management and strategic financial expertise to Validity. He has extensive experience working with global and domestic businesses to optimize financial performance. Prior to joining Validity, Chris served in executive accounting roles at BCG, a global management consulting firm, and IDEMIA, a global leader in security and identity solutions. He spent the first nineteen years of his career in leadership roles within the audit practice of PwC, serving clients across many industries including technology, software, and professional services. Chris’ experience includes working with early stage, venture/private equity backed companies as well as publicly traded companies.
Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Babson College. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA).
Brian Prusak serves as Vice President, Corporate Controller for Validity, leading the teams responsible for financial reporting, accounting operations, payroll, revenue operations, and accounting systems.
Prior to Validity, Brian held a similar role at iCAD, a publicly held, global leader in medical technology. As the Vice President and Controller, he was also responsible for all SEC filings. Prior to iCAD, Brian served in various roles with responsibility for the operational and financial functions at Skillsoft Corporation, a global leader in corporate digital learning. Brian’s experience includes leading teams through mergers and acquisitions, and the transition from a public to private company.
Brian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Bentley University and an MBA in Finance from Southern New Hampshire University.