I got the start-up itch some 20 years ago. Since then I have been part of six amazing start-up companies. I am passionate about creating new services, solutions and technologies to meet the ever changing requirements of our world. See Jane Go is a rare opportunity to be part of a great company and something that is important for our society.
I learned my “chops” in computing technology, software engineering and development while working full time in the business and pursuing my under graduate degree. Getting my B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Chapman University was a long journey as it took 7.5 years to complete. As my career grew and I became eager to expand my management skills and went back to school completing the Executive MBA program at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. It is there that I made lifelong friends and began the development of my network.
Soon after I graduated with my B.S, the aerospace industry went through a tremendous downturn and I realized that I needed to take full responsibility for my career and future. It was at this time that I met one of my first mentors and joined a new software company called Prism Solutions. Prism went public, was eventually acquired and is sold today as the Infosphere DataStage product by IBM. Since that time I have been part of five other leading edge technology start-up companies serving in roles from Consulting Director to CEO to Board Member. One company I am particularly proud of is DATAllegro, a pioneer in data warehouse appliance products, where we achieved a $275M exit via acquisition by Microsoft. If you would like more information on the companies I have been part of you can check out my LinkedIn profile at - https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-theissen. The world of start-ups is full of ups and downs but it is also full of new challenges, great people and opportunities you never imagined. It is a place where you can be part of something new, something cool and something fun.
Let’s Get Personal:
I am happily married for 27 years to Jody, my best friend from high school. We have a son and a daughter who are pursuing their college degrees that we are very proud of. Locally we support a number of charities including Kid Singers, Families Forward and the Friendly Center in Orange. I am a music lover, pilates fanatic, adventurous with a BBQ, an avid gardener and enjoy anything to do with water be it boating, scuba diving or fishing. On a week nights I enjoy the simple pleasures of walking our dog with my wife, going to the gym and plucking a guitar. As a family we enjoy traveling and exploring other cultures, hiking, going to concerts, scuba trips and snow skiing.
Stream of Consciousness:
My true joy comes in knowing that I have the opportunity to help people. From my own family to my employees, to my friendships, to local community and beyond. Just knowing that this company brings something special to the world is awesome. Knowing that this service is there for my daughter and the other women in my life gives me peace of mind.
I can’t help but walk into a business and think of ways to improve workflows and the customer experience; it's kind of an obsession. So I naturally pursued business strategy and growth architecture as my professional path and have found it to be the most rewarding of careers.
After starting college as an Engineering major, it didn’t take me long to realize I was better suited to a career in business. It was during my very first economics course that I realized the complex charts and graphs we were studying were so similar to what I had always seen and calculated in my head since I was a child. Then and there I was hooked. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from University of California, Irvine and subsequently an Executive MBA with UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.
I began building strong internal organizational systems at the ripe age of 12. Inspired by the Babysitter’s Club books by Ann M. Martin, I gathered my friends and constructed a customer-forward babysitting collaborative to enable parents to easily find a talented caregiver for their child. My entrepreneurial spirit has continued through the rest of my career.
Through my consulting firm, I ultimately found my true calling as an entrepreneurial Business Architect where I established repeatable, scalable processes to sustain and enhance growth while creating delightful customer experiences.
My proprietary methods for data analysis have been so effective, I was approached by the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine to co-create a course on the strategic use of data in business and I continued to teach Strategic Value of IT in the Executive Education Program alongside a tenured professor, who has adopted some of my methods into the curriculum.
Let’s Get Personal
The challenges of my early years have developed a personal tenacity and character that I bring to work and life every day. A proud mother of two adult children, I have a very personal connection to mothers and those who became mothers very early in life. I have experienced firsthand how difficult it can be for many single mothers to obtain basic necessities such as a reliable income, transportation, child care, a quality education, and even a safe place for their family to live. Currently serving on the Board of Directors of Pathways of Hope, a homeless shelter for families, I am constantly advocating for single mothers, homeless families, and women fleeing domestic violence.
Happily married and enjoying the company of my wonderful family, my life is a testament to what can be done when women are given the right tools to build a future.
Stream of Consciousness:
Becoming Chief Operating Officer of See Jane Go is a dream come true. I have the opportunity to use my unique skillset to help other women and serve a deep community need while being a part of building a successful business enterprise. I am so proud to be providing an alternative ride-hail service that specifically caters to women’s unique needs and simultaneously provides a platform for women to access the "shared economy" without safety concerns.
Growing up in the Eastern US, I always dreamed about someday moving to sunny California. One day while at my first job out of college, I picked up the phone and ordered a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. I didn’t have a job waiting for me, or a car–just an ignorantly blissful belief that I would find my way. I got an entry-level job at a hospital and within a few months I volunteered to help out in the marketing department when they were short-staffed. I didn’t know much about marketing at the time, but it sounded interesting. To my surprise, I was soon given the position of Marketing Director. I quickly enrolled in some classes at UCLA to get up to speed. Today, I'm still marketing. And I still love a good adventure.
My undergraduate degree was in music. I played piano since the age of six and was hooked. I didn’t see myself becoming a professional musician although I was always drawn to all types of creative expression; I found that in marketing. I received an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.
I learned much about marketing by working for six years for Atlanta-based Charter Medical Corporation, at the time, the world’s largest for-profit psychiatric and substance abuse company known industry-wide for its comprehensive marketing campaigns, at a time when marketing healthcare services was considered controversial - today healthcare marketing and advertising is the norm and Charter was a worldwide leader in that movement. My career continued in service industries including five years as VP, Marketing for Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate, Irvine. During that time the company grew from a $14M local firm to a $140M corporation, expanding from 100 Southern California brokers to 900+ brokers nationwide. The experience was instrumental in leveraging branding in a service industry where every player was perceived as a commodity. Sperry Van Ness grew from a local boutique firm to one of the top five recognized commercial real estate brands in the nation, taking market share from industry giants. Our marketing team won more than 20 marketing and communications awards within a two-year period. We grew the business not through advertising, but through branding and a point of sustainable competitive differentiation. I spent four years as VP, Marketing for NVISION Laser Eye Centers, Newport Beach, California, which earned its reputation as the "Eye Doctors' #1 Choice" through a brand strategy focused, again, on differentiation within a commoditized industry. I also spent more than ten years as a marketing consultant and authored a book called What’s Your BQ? (Brand Quotient®) a step-by-step guide to help small companies grow their brands. It’s the book I wish I had when I started my career.
Let’s Get Personal:
I’m happily single and enjoy cooking, music and running. Causes I support include Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and Mercy for Animals.
Stream of Consciousness:
My twin sister Susan lives in Pennsylvania and we visit whenever we can. She and I are currently writing a cookbook of favorite Italian recipes from our childhood. I ran the New York Marathon in 2010 to raise money for the Humane Society of the United States.
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