It is with great excitement that we introduce the newest member of our Board, Mark Holder. Mark’s extensive experience developing strategic partnerships and go-to-market strategies for startups makes him a natural fit to assist us in commercializing UpContent and continuing to grow Community Elf’s content marketing managed services.
Originally from Southern California, Mark currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia with his family. Mark recently joined Checkfront, a leading online booking platform, as VP Partnerships & Growth, and is active in the Victoria startup community through VIATEC, an association dedicated to serving innovators and entrepreneurs.
Mark started his career working in a brand marketing capacity for Sole Technology, an action sports and footwear company that grew from 15 to 500 people during the ten years he spent there. Following that, Mark went on to get his MBA from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, conveniently timed with the recession. Luckily, he was able to take his experience in action sports and apply it to a new role with Youngr, a health and wellness management software company.
Not long after, Mark met the CEO of Hootsuite and they discussed his vision for enabling third parties to build applications for the Hootsuite platform. Mark’s background and enthusiasm made him an ideal leader to take on this role, so he spent the last 5.5 years building the App Directory, a platform that now hosts over 160 applications, including UpContent. His work with the App Directory, and the partnerships that were formed as a result, has been enormously impactful to Hootsuite’s Enterprise business.
In fact, it was through the Hootsuite App Directory that we first connected with Mark. At the time, Hootsuite was discussing the importance of curated content, especially when it came to social media, how to understand what was being said about a particular topic, and then how to leverage that content to promote a brand. It was the combination of not only finding this content but also the distribution of this content that Hootsuite found particularly appealing about adding UpContent to their App Directory. With our content discovery platform and Hootsuite’s social media management system, it seemed only natural for the two technologies to work in tandem.
In his role at Hootsuite, Mark spent a great deal of time around various marketing technologies, but believes there is something particularly unique about UpContent: “When I look at how companies are typically listening on social, it’s generally a support use case, addressing customer issues and complaints. These messages typically have negative sentiment, and it’s critical to get in front of those issues before they snowball and become damaging to a brand. Whereas, with UpContent, I see an opportunity for marketers and PR professionals to leverage the positive things that are being said about a brand, to build community and advocacy around a given brand or product story.” He felt that, while some competitors were attempting to include features that did this, they were not fulfilling that need completely.
Ultimately, it was this unique opportunity that aided in Mark’s decision to join our Board. He sees massive potential in UpContent and its ability to leverage the positive stories that are being spoken and shared about a brand in a compelling, meaningful, and authentic way. He is also interested in helping to develop the future direction of the services side of our business, Community Elf.
On our Board of Directors, Mark will serve as an advisor and a sounding board. Because he understands the nature of the board/company/CEO relationship and because he can bring a different, outsider’s perspective, he will be a huge asset to our team. Most of all, he plans on simply being available to us, a gift we’re very grateful to receive.
Please join us in welcoming Mark to our team and get ready to see some exciting changes in the near future!