Vertafore - Female Executive of the Year
Company: Vertafore, Denver, CO
Company Description: Vertafore is a leader in insurtech with the largest customer base in the industry. Vertafore connects every point of the distribution channel, including agencies, carriers, MGAs, MGUs and state governments. The company’s philosophy is simple: One Team, One Experience, One Strategy with 1,500 employees all aimed at putting people at the heart of the insurance industry.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Executive of the Year – Business Services –11 to 2,500 Employees
Nomination Title: Transforming a Market Leader for the Future
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
Elizabeth Knuppel’s first day of work at Vertafore wasn’t your typical onboarding experience with a built-in Starbucks break. Her assignment? Stand up a new, state-of-the-art headquarters in thriving downtown Denver by September 2017 and hire 300+ people to staff the location.
While brand new to Vertafore, a cloud technology company focused on the insurance industry, Beth wasn’t a novice to the tasks at hand, having previously served as Head of Talent Management at Ericsson. She was, however, serving her first time in a C-suite leadership role and working with an entirely new group of direct reports ranging in functions from Facilities to Total Rewards.
Beth’s journey to accomplish this monumental goal began with strategic planning and relationship building. First and foremost, she earned the trust of her core team who worked together to accomplish the necessary steps to move the existing headquarters from Washington state to Colorado. Business priorities included consolidating the company’s U.S. footprint from 10 offices to six offices and introducing a Center of Excellence strategy to Vertafore in order to improve customer focus and product alignment.
While the company’s consolidation plan was difficult news to share, Beth proactively led the employee communication planning to manage this change, using transparent messaging and insight into future plans for the growing business. As a result, the company was able to relocate existing employees to its new Denver headquarters. This institutional knowledge and enthusiasm for the business has proved to be invaluable for Vertafore as they grow early-in-career employees and mentor new leaders.
Simultaneously, Beth hired a new Recruiting Team to embark on the talent acquisition of 300 new employees in Customer Support, Development, Professional Services, Sales and SaaS Ops. As of September 2017, the Recruiting Team has welcomed 378 employees to Denver. That’s a total of 525 people across the company since January or double the individuals hired in all of 2016. A company record.
To ensure the successful onboarding of new employees, Beth also staffed a Talent Development Team to create functional-based curriculum and host bootcamp classes. More than 330 graduates are expected to complete bootcamp by 2017 and 190 have graduated from their programs to date.
In late October, Vertafore’s new headquarters will be completed. The project’s executive sponsor, Beth worked with real estate consultants, designers, builders and movers on the build-out. With trendy social areas, including a coffee bar and treadmill lounge, the office feels like a startup but recently became the largest privately-held software company in Denver due to its hiring success.
Beth, whose passion for people and collaboration has only grown since joining Vertafore, hopes to see employees break even more records in 2018.
“I’m in awe of the amazing work my team has been able to accomplish in a short amount of time,” says Beth. “And the effort hasn’t stopped. I think that’s what makes this company special. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or have been a contributor for 10 years, everyone here is looking out for each other and wants the very best for our customers. Want to move mountains? Just turn to your neighbor. They’re ready for action.”
Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 125 words):
Elizabeth Knuppel serves as Vertafore's Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Team member. A key strategic leader at Vertafore, Beth is responsible for the Human Resources Team, which includes the HR business partner, talent development, recruiting and total rewards functions, as well as Corporate Communications and Facilities.
With more than a decade of experience as an executive and general manager, Beth aligns HR strategy to organizational needs using an innovative, business-focused approach. Her specialties include culture building, talent acquisition, talent maznagement, total rewards strategy and change management.
Beth holds a BA in Finance and Business Administration from the University of Missouri and an MBA from Duke University. She also received an Executive Education Certificate from the Compensation Committee Program at Harvard Business School.