Joe Payne CEO of Code42 and Katherine Regnier CEO of Coconut Corporation were the speakers of our Sixth class. They both lived up to expectations as they both were among the most popular speakers last year and things haven’t changed. They both have been actively emailing, texting and talking to the Students with advise and counsel since they left the UW.

Prior to Code42 Joe was CEO of Eloqua (NASDAQ). Joe took over the Company when it was barely beyond a startup and drove it to $100m and took it public. He subsequently sold it to Oracle 4 months later for $1 Billion. His remarks centered around “How to build a great Company with the focus of the importance of Culture and core values”. It’s the same in selecting and working with your Board. “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast” as Joe says. He described multiple examples that help drive success if the organization has great culture and values. Team first and individuals second. Building a great Company requires great people and is easier with a great Board. Joe’s experience with Public and Private Boards were huge teaching points on what happens in Board meetings. He described in great detail the good and the challenges of his own Boards as well as when he is a active member of other Boards.

Katherine is the Founder and CEO of a Canadian based Enterprise Software Company. She bootstrapped the company for 7 years before she reluctantly considered raising additional Capital from the big bad VC’s. She described the incredible journey in starting a Software Company in Saskatoon, Canada (Where?) The Company is beyond the Start-up stage but it’s still early with 60 people in two offices including Toronto. She talked about the Investor selection process and the unique character of her Board of Directors and why it’s effective currently as she said but “stay tuned”. She has raised close to $5M in a seed and Series A rounds. Katherine’s teaching points describing her Boards responsibilities unique to a start up drew multiple questions and interest from the Class. The Class really identified with her as the post class recap was filled with “Wow” she was impressive.

Joe and Katherine are both special Friends of the writer. Thanks for being part of the Class.