Zennify Turns 10

With the blink of an eye, Zennify is 10 years old. For many of us, the growth and the success of the business and the brand are milestone professional accomplishments. It’s been an engaging and fulfilling journey filled with highs and lows. Market dynamics are continually shifting and we have had to adapt and persevere. The heart and soul of the firm live and breathe through our amazing people and have manifested into a truly special company culture.

We are first and foremost problem solvers with a passion for technology and innovation. We founded the firm in pursuit of solving a problem. The medical community in post-earthquake Haiti needed a better solution to help preserve vital life-saving vaccines at risk of spoilage due to poor infrastructure and compromised refrigeration. The Ministry of Health workers on the ground needed communication alerts when the refrigeration units were out of sync with temperature requirements – and so, “Fridges to Talk” became a reality.

It took some convincing and trust, but we selected and implemented Salesforce as the technology platform to build the solution and solve the problem. This connection between Problem-Solving, Innovation, and Salesforce would set the stage and foundation for the birth and growth of Zennify.

We are incredibly blessed to be part of this amazing Salesforce ecosystem. But did we simply strike gold by selecting Salesforce? Man, I wish it was that easy.

We learned that innovation alone was not enough and we needed a huge dose of GRIT to persevere in the early years when we were battling competition from Consulting giants and funding was scarce. The founders – Nathan, Jesse, and I made major personal sacrifices and we have our amazing families to thank for supporting us even when things were looking dire. We are proud to say that during those lean years, we never missed an employee payroll, but I vividly remember engaging our clients with Tami Miller to physically collect invoice payments. It was painful and embarrassing – but our people always got paid

This is GRIT at the core and the people you hire in the beginning not only have to have talent but they need to bring more GRIT to the party because founder GRIT often isn’t enough.

We were blessed early on to find people like Rupesh, Shawn, Tami, Kallen, Sam K, and of course others… so many others. Some of you may have transitioned to other gigs, but I think of you often and I’ll never forget the contribution and commitment you made to build this company.

We worked insane hours and did great work together in those early days and the Salesforce ecosystem rewarded us by providing a continuous runway to solve problems and drive innovation. Shawn Murray and Sam Kerr literally took flight on that runway and we were in awe of the amazing impact that special talent could make when given an opportunity. Shawn hates when we bring this up but he was the pizza kitchen manager across the street in Boise before he approached Nathan for a job – he nailed 2 certs in a month and the rest is history. Salesforce Ventures also provided us with an initial round of Venture Funding to enable us to grow and drive more innovation. So yeah, we did kinda strike gold with Salesforce and the firm is incredibly grateful for the Salesforce partnership.  

I feel you, Kelly. Let’s just say we have had our fair share of Sh$t thrown our way…COVID, a talent war, a banking crisis.

We have the dubious distinction of building beautiful offices just before the COVID shutdown and having 4 of our banking customers go under in 2023 in a period of a few months. You find out what you are made of when under extreme duress, and the Zennify collective is rock solid. When the odds are stacked against us our people have dug deep to help us persevere. We share common values and enjoy each other’s company – two essential components of a truly special company culture. Chris Barbin, Lisa Burton, and our investment partners at Tercera saw these qualities in us and have stood by our side as we battled through adversity.

Scaling a firm requires adaptation and difficult choices. When we needed major investment we chose an investment partner that had run a mile or two in our shoes – both Chris Barbin (Founder) and Mike Epner (Board Member) had scaled prolific Salesforce consultancies in Appirio and Traction on Demand. With Tercera’s backing, we have put together a solid board and built a strong leadership team. Our CFO Christina Bailey has been instrumental and the only regret I have is that we didn’t meet and hire her earlier in our journey. Janet has been an absolute rock for Zennify and our people through the highs and lows. Our Technology leader “Paz” is like The Matrix, a visionary who sees the technical magic happening before everyone else and he helps us harness it early – As a result we have market-leading technology leadership in AI and Data Modernization. Our new leaders share our common values, and like the founding team share a passion for innovation and solving problems to drive positive outcomes for customers. I can’t underscore how critical it is to have a unified vision across leadership and the entire firm.

We are 10 years in and finding our stride after a few bumps in the road. Chris C, Mike, Matt, Kevin and the collective leadership team share a vision to change the consulting game where AI and Data will be front and center and we will forge an even greater level of commitment to client success and outcomes. Digital transformation projects are hard – 75% of them fail and with that comes a ton of anxiety and stress. We aim to change that – the brand name Zennify reflects the idea that people can take on complex and high-pressure projects but with a sense of trust, confidence, and balance, where the collective can grow and enjoy the experience throughout the project lifecycle even through setbacks. Our best work happens when we are enjoying the experience while maintaining balance – this is the key to successful outcomes and meaningful continuous innovation. And you can count on us to utilize AI to streamline project complexity and accelerate execution.

With that, Happy 10-Year Anniversary to Zennify, and a huge thank you to our clients and our partners across Salesforce, Tercera,nCino, the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, Meridian Chamber of Commerce, and Unicef. This is a celebration we share with everyone who has helped build this special company and brand including those who have transitioned to other gigs. The people are the lifeblood of the firm and make it truly special – I am grateful for all of your contributions and proud to have you as lifelong friends.

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