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Interview with Helen Yu

by | Mar 18, 2020 | Interviews,

Helen Yu

Helen Yu

Key Topics:Customer Experience, Marketing, AI, Digital Transformation, Cybersecurity, Future of work, Cloud, FinTech

Helen Yu believes real growth thrives at the crossroads of #tech and #humanity. There, she contends, is where customer loyalty and love thrive. In her former role as Chief Customer Officer, Ms. Yu leads a global team reimagining the customer experience as an unforgettable exchange. Described as “a rare combination of intellect, work ethic, and compassion often not found in C-level executives,” Ms. Yu has led multibillion-dollar revenue growth and profitability for pre-IPOs and Fortune 500 enterprises, including Oracle, Adobe and Marketo. After watching many start-up technology founders rise and fail, Ms. Yu launched Tigon Advisory in 2017 as a growth accelerator. No stranger to tech, she has been named a Top 10 Global Influencer in Digital Transformation by IBM, Global Cloud Top 15 Thought Leader, Top 10 Cybersecurity Influencer, and Global Top 10 Marketing Thought Leader by Thinkers360. When not scaling Mount Everest or ice climbing glaciers, you can find Ms. Yu on Twitter @YuHelenYu.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I started my career as an accountant and financial analyst. My curiosity and learning agility got me where I am today. I learned to code as a Hyperion consultant, and went on to design and implement 400+ financial planning applications working alongside CFOs. Then, I ran an Oracle BI consulting practice post-acquisition with the added pleasure of learning from then Oracle Executive Vice President of Sales Keith Block. Under his tutelage, I learned the nuances of Enterprise Solution Sales at Oracle. I then learned marketing and SAAS at Adobe, and successfully led the startup to scale-up challenges at Marketo. My journey led me to recognize critical gap patterns in growth-driven technology startups, prompting me to become an entrepreneur of a startup accelerator before joining sales enablement leader Showpad where I serve as their chief customer officer.

What topic areas are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about Digital Transformation, Customer Experience, AI, Cybersecurity, Cloud, Marketing, Future of Work, FinTech, Education, Scaling Growth, Company Culture.

Which influencers influence you within those key topics?

Spiros Margaris, Andreas Staub, Danielle Guzman, Ronald van Loon.

Outside of your key topics who else influences you?

Simon Sinek, Richard Branson, Satya Nadella, Bill Gates.

How would you describe your offline influence?

I have given five keynote speeches at conferences in the past 10 months. Topics include “Startups, Cure the Disconnects”; “How to Get CyberFit? Make Plans, not Assumptions”; “Acclimate to the Voice of Customer”; “Coping with Technology Evolution”; “7,000 Miles: The Road to Finding, Building and Embracing Grit.” I have been heavily tapped for predictions and future-proofing topics. For example, I contributed a prediction on the Internet of Things (among other topics) for Thinkers360, been a guest on the Move the Deal podcast in front of a live audience of 500+, and have contributed chapters to two books. I write blogs and articles and have been published on RiskMinds, LinkedIn and Medium. I have provided consulting with clients on influencer marketing. I advise startup founders on how to scale their businesses.

If a brand wanted to work with you, what offline/online activities would you be most interested in?

Speaking opportunities, podcasts, whitepaper are more interesting than others.

What’s your best source of information for getting ahead of a story?

A few of my favorite sources of information are: Interesting Engineering, WSJ, Inside America’s Board Room, CIO Dive, McKinsey Classic, Tractica, World Economic Forum, Raconteur and all industry trend analyses. I spend 30-min a day to imagine the possibilities and connect critical dots. That’s how I stay ahead of trends.

What brands have you worked with?

I have worked with IBM, Lenovo, Pypestream, and a few more that I can’t mention due to confidentiality agreements.

Which non-paid activities would you be keen to take part in if the opportunity raised your profile or delivered value to your audience?

  • Provide a quote for content or news article – only if the content is meaningful and with a greater cause
  • Share / create a social post – for the right cause
  • Speak at or attend an event – most conferences pay me to speak. I will speak for the right cause without being paid.
  • Participate in a podcast or webinar – I do podcasts if my calendar permits
  • Participate in online chat (e.g. Twitter chat, Crowdchat, Google Hangout) – if my calendar permits

What are your passions outside of work?

Social responsibility and strengthening the tech ecosystem through community and collaboration is extremely important to me. Every year on my birthday, I volunteer my time to make a difference. In 2019, that meant donating my time to speaking at 1871, a tech startup accelerator in the heart of Chicago. I celebrated being another year older by leading a hands-on workshop for tech founders. I also find great inspiration in the wonders of natures by biking, hiking, mountain climbing and scaling ice glaciers. speaking at conferences and seeking the right-fit board of director role also occupies my time because both are ways to lend the value of my unique experiences for the good of others.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?