Done right, hiring a great senior leader is one of the highest impact decisions you can make when building your organization.
Over the years, I have developed a method that extends outside the actual interview for hiring senior executives that has served me well. After a certain amount of experience and success, most senior execs get really strong at interviewing – so strong, in fact, that I have come to believe that the interview process loses some signal value in screening highly qualified people.
For that reason, I usually give finalists for a senior role a detailed exercise that requires original thinking about our business and the challenges that need solving. I then ask them to present it to a group of their prospective colleagues. In a single session, you learn how seriously the candidate is taking the process, their capacity to do creative, novel work about the opportunities of the role, and how they interact with a group and take feedback.
When I first met Allison Braley, she crushed our interview with strong thinking on brand strategy, great energy, and highly relevant experience. I had interviewed many candidates for our Marketing Partner role, and still felt like I was searching for “The One.” I think I blurted out something like “Wow, I never say this, but this is the best first interview I have had for this role.”
But, as I mentioned, experienced, successful candidates are often great at interviewing. As Allison met the rest of the team and we all grew more excited about the opportunity to work with her, the final exercise loomed larger as a way to make sure my first instinct of “Hire her, now!” was correct.
I flew to San Francisco to meet with Allison in person as she presented her work to our team. With a marketing background in communications and public relations, venture capital, and several fast-growing tech companies, Allison’s perspective, creativity, and energy came through strong. She presented a series of ideas for BCV that ranged from “mild to wild,” and we knew that in this case, our positive first impressions were more than validated by her work.
The extensive referencing we did on Allison confirmed our excitement even more. I heard from former direct reports who described how Allison had developed their skills and careers, as well as peers and managers who painted a collective picture of the positive impact Allison brings to any organization she is a part of.
So, I am thrilled to announce that that Allison Braley is joining BCV as our Marketing Partner! Allison joins us from Playground Global, an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in deep tech and assists startups with software, hardware, machine learning, marketing, talent and design. Allison ran all marketing efforts for Playground, including communications, brand, content, design and events, while advising the firm’s portfolio on all things marketing and communications.
Before Playground, Allison served as Head of Marketing at startups including Ford-owned Canvas (car subscriptions), Zoosk (online dating), and ZocDoc (online physician referral). She also was an early employee and Head of Marketing at The Information, one of our must-read pubs here at BCV! Allison was named one of Business Insider’s top 36 PR pros in 2021, and brings extensive contacts in the media, tech and VC ecosystems to her role.
She will be based out of BCV’s San Francisco office, and when not working in and around startups, you can find her enjoying life in the East Bay with her husband, two children and their dog. We are super excited to partner with Allison to take our marketing efforts, and the marketing support we provide our portfolio companies, to the next level. Welcome, Allison!
At BCV, we work closely with founders on their most difficult decisions. So when we recruit, we look for people who bring new perspectives to these questions, based on their domain expertise and first-principles thinking.
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