June 9, 2015

Cover Story

CXO of the Year

Just as the star quarterback is often the face of a football team, in the ...Read More

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Article

CXO of the Year

By Utah Business Editors

June 9, 2015

“Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know.’ Those have been some of the most powerful words I have ever used. It is OK to take a step back, ask questions and learn something new. Informed decisions are always better decisions.”

Jared Olsen
COO, Xima Software

Jared Olsen began his journey in the human resources industry with a passion for working with employees from every department. He grew to love the inner workings of businesses, so when the executives of Xima Software offered him the role of chief operating officer, he gladly accepted. In his role, Olsen oversees much of the company, from finance and strategy to project management and company growth. While many quail under the pressures of being a primary decision maker of a company, Olsen says he welcomes and looks forward to the challenge.

At Xima, Olsen lowered the company’s expenses by 39 percent in 2014, increased employment by 35 percent and lowered employee turnover to 3 percent. Olsen authored Xima’s employee handbook and garnered exposure for the company—during his tenure, the company has won several awards, such as the Avaya DevConnect Innovation Award and Utah Business’ Best Companies to Work For, and it was ranked the fifth-fastest-growing company by the MountainWest Capital Network.

Olsen believes “people are what really matter and help an organization be successful. If you can develop a culture where your team loves coming to work, they are able to make key decisions and see the outcome of their hard work, everything else becomes a moot point.”

“Find something you are passionate about doing. If you love what you do, it becomes a part of you, and if you don’t love it, it becomes a job. Jobs can come and go, but being yourself today is all you really have in life.”

Kevin Porter
COO, Ogden Clinic

Kevin Porter started working in the healthcare industry for small, independent practices in 2001. He says he’s loved the opportunities he’s had to create solutions to better each practice he’s worked for throughout his career.

For example, in 2014, Ogden Clinic opened its new Professional Center, an award-winning, 41,000-square-foot medical campus. When the project was still in research stages, Porter tried out a way to make sure the new center would be optimally designed and efficient without costing the clinic much money in changes. He had a full-scale mock-up of the space built in cardboard so that physicians could walk through and make changes while the cost of doing so would be minimal. This innovative strategy saved the clinic an estimated $250,000.

“Thanks to Kevin’s efforts, this approach has become standard for all new construction for Ogden Clinic, and will in turn allow us to pass along the cost savings to our patients,” says Valerie Kierejewski, director of marketing for Ogden Clinic.

During Porter’s tenure at the Ogden Clinic, it has expanded from three to 10 clinical sites and from 370 employees to over 600.

“There are always problems to be solved and I enjoy interacting and creating innovative solutions to those problems,” says Porter.

“I believe a leader should be approachable, set an example, hold people accountable and lead with a positive attitude. I am a firm believer that attitude is everything.” 

Ryan Sanders
COO and co-founder, BambooHR

Ryan Sanders co-founded BambooHR in 2008 in an effort to combine his three passions: helping people do great work, building exceptional software and helping customers. The result has been annual triple-digit growth for the now multi-million dollar company. Last year, BambooHR—which has clients in more than 70 countries worldwide—tripled in size.

The company’s employee count has tripled as well. Among company benefits Sanders has implemented is incentivizing classes to help employees become more savvy with their personal finances. He has also tried to make the workplace flexible enough to help employees be more productive while also balancing their personal lives. In the workplace, Sanders emphasizes “service leadership,” which means sending a gift or letter to a client in times of celebration or condolence.

“Hearing from our customers that we’re doing a good job and that they love how we treat them is a success for me,” he says. “The hope is that the dollars follow that service and success so we can continue doing it.”

“Lead from where you are. People feel like they have to have a particular title to be a leader, but you can lead in any role by being awesome at what you do and proactive in how you do it. And when you do that, new opportunities and responsibilities follow because of how rare that quality is.”

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