Friday, March 6, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Anne Berkowitch (38 of 45)

Anne Berkowitch, CEO of SelectMinds, is a savvy businesswoman. While I haven't met Anne IRL (in real life) or in the socialsphere, I've listened in on past webcasts she's done. I've also been told by two of my former colleagues - Pauline Brannigan who works at SelectMinds and Mark Wallace, now at EDR, who speak very highly of Anne. Hopefully Anne and I will get a chance to connect sometime in the near future.

In the meantime, let's see how Anne answered the five questions from my Experts in the Industry series:

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I run (and co-founded) SelectMinds, a 9-year old company that provides corporate social networking solutions to Global 2000 companies and I’m good at it because 1) to my core, I believe in the value of what we do, and 2) I’ve been able to attract and motivate great people to come on the ride; our team is undoubtedly our “secret sauce”.

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
This is a fun one to answer. I backed into it! SelectMinds was founded initially as a recruiting solution, on the idea that a company’s former employees (alumni) were a highly valuable and overlooked asset – as possible rehires, customers or business partners. In early 2000, well before “social” and “networking” were uttered in one sentence (pre-Friendster), we developed a web-based application that allowed companies to launch and manage online (social) networks of their former employees, which companies could then mine for various business benefits. 9 years later we are enabling all kinds of online networks for companies, but all anchored around a specific business benefit– as compared with deploying a Web 2.0 “toolkit”.

If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
I’d be lying if I didn’t answer SelectMinds, but other options would be some of our clients (can’t really single out by name) – not because they offer social solutions, but because they really get the power of relationships in making their organizations excel, and are combining technology and management practices to build “social” into the way they do business.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
I could rack my brain to find someone no one has thought of, but the truth is it’s Barack. Agree or not with his positions, he is truly standout.

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
No. Too many better things to do that I already don’t have time for.

Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
At the risk of waxing a bit philosophical: “Don’t seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise men; seek what they sought”… or, same idea, “Don’t go to the puck, go to where it will be.”

Looks like Anne is a casual Twitter user but she's there if you want to follow her. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Aaron -

    Thanks for the shout out and this great series. Anne is very correct the secret sauce @SelectMinds is the people. It starts at the top creating a dynamic culture. Let us know the next time you make it to the Big Apple for a F2F look at SelectMinds! We will fire up our Cappuccino machine just for you.