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Are You Ready? The Information Economy IS Here! By Dr. Kas Henry

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Are You Ready? The Information Economy IS Here! By Dr. Kas Henry

Last week we explored the role of education in shaping the transformational journey needed to compete successfully as a knowledge worker in today’s information economy.  This week, we will delve into what it takes to plan ahead to succeed in careers given the information economy. As the global economy evolves, we need to continue our own evolution to remain relevant if we seek economic empowerment.  Therefore, to sustain ourselves, change is inevitable.  The ability to change and deal with that change is the underpinning of transformation. You may have noticed that this show deals with empowerment as a continued journey of transformation.  Nowhere is this more aptly captured than in the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.


  I can speak from personal experience that change is scary, especially change that grabs you and thrusts you into a totally unplanned and unexpected situation where there is no easy way out.  Such unexpected change showed-up in my life by way of a civil war shattering my expectation of home, family and all that is seen to be save and comforting….  Through no choice of mine, I became a refugee child in my own island nation, Sri Lanka, at the time I was in 8th grade.  I had to work through finishing up my O/Ls (10th Grade in the British system of Education) in my mother-tongue, Tamil, before leaving home, family and country to continue my education in India.


My whole world had changed, including the language I spoke.  I was in Bangalore, India, with no friends, family or anything familiar.  Just like the caterpillar, I had a task ahead…. A task of planning and executing my personal transformation so that when I emerged as a butterfly, at the end of that metamorphosis, I was ready to take flight.  So, I sat in my classes, took notes fanatically in my mother-tongue; using the dictionary and glossary of technical terms translated into English class notes. My daily learning was not limited to the subjects covered in class but the need to think, understand, write and communicate in English after doing all that in a different language up until then.  Was it scary? Certainly!  Did I have a choice? No!

I made strategic choices in my selection of specialization and elected to pursue a triple concentration in Computer Science, Math and Physics because they were subjects that used numbers and logic giving me freedom from language limitations.  This triple major also helped me plan my career options suited for the information economy from the very city that planned to become the seat of global technology, Bangalore. While in Bangalore, I developed the art of building lasting relationships, worked together with my peers for a successful shared journey and built a support system rooted in human kindness.  Bangalore is the city that helped me become the “butterfly” I am today.  To this day, I cherish my friends, extended family and countless caring human beings from various walks of life made my todays possible.

Change is not a threat but an opportunity to seek new possibilities.   Preparing for the information economy jobs in most parts of the world is not as traumatic as mine was but it can be challenging.

Just because the old era jobs no longer exist does not have to stop us from seeking new skills.  We are only limited by our own lack of imagination and tenacity.  Technology is disrupting every industry including Healthcare, Accounting, Finance, Retail, Business, Manufacturing, Communication and even human relationships.  Robotics and Bots are part of our lives and it is time we understood them.  Approaching technology as the enemy is not the prudent way to become empowered.  Embracing it and evolving to effectively utilize it is the pathway to success.




This week, we will engage in an exciting discussion with young professionals who have taken different routes to get to their current role as knowledge workers in the information economy.  Their diverse backgrounds and insights will help the listeners of “Unleash Your Inner Goldilocks: How to Get It Just Right” glean pointers in shaping their own transformational journey.  You will be surprised at the different ways one can pursue career success as long as the passion for pursuing success is alive.  Come join our conversation this Thursday and be a part of embracing the information economy for our shared success!

Women in Fintech Series: Deanna Oppenheimer

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Women in Fintech Series: Deanna Oppenheimer


Breaking Banks and Finextra continue their series of Women in FinTech with the illustrious Deanna Oppenheimer.

Very few have made as big a splash in the financial industry as Deanna Oppenheimer,  Known for having a customer centric vision of banking, and welcoming the new players and innovation in the financial services field, Deanna founded Cameoworks LLC, a retail and financial services advisory firm that helps startups in FinTech find their footing and meet up with the global players that can help make their ideas a reality.   She is uniquely qualified as someone  with an unusual combination of banking, retail, innovation, brand, and communication skills.

From 2005 to 2012, Deanna worked at Barclays PLC, where she transformed the Global Retail and Business Banking divisions.  Initially, her position was chief executive of U.K. Retail and Business Banking, with 30,000 employees serving 15 million customers through contact centers, online and mobile banking and 1700 branches.  In 2009, she became vice chair of Global Retail Banking, sharing best practices across Europe and Africa. In 2010, she added the role of chief executive of Europe Retail and Business Banking, helping to stabilize the business lines during the Euro crisis. Customer satisfaction improved from last-place among U.K. banks to first-place under her leadership.

Previous to Barclays, Deanna was employed, from 1985 to 2005, at Washington Mutual, Inc., the largest savings and loan institution in the U.S.  She was marketing director and, later, president of Consumer Banking, where she helped transform the lender from a regional to a national player. During her tenure, Washington Mutual, Inc. was named Best Retail Bank in the Americas by Lafferty International and Top 40 Store Concepts in the World by Retail Industry Leaders Association.

In 2007, Deanna was named Britain’s Business Communicator of the Year and in October 2010 was voted American Banker magazine’s Second Most Powerful Woman in Banking. Her previous corporate board experiences include non-executive director roles at Catellus, a leading U.S. development company, and Plum Creek Timber, the largest private landowner in the U.S.  In November 2014, Deanna was voted one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s Women of Influence, an annual award given to women leaders who have an enormous impact on the community.

Her non-executive director board roles include Tesco PLC, where she chairs the remuneration committee,  Tesco Bank, AXA Group, NCR Corporation, and The Joshua Green Corporation.  Additionally,  she is a senior advisor to Bain Consulting, Brooks Running,  Anthemis Group and Finsphere.

Deanna lives in Seattle with her husband and they have two adult children. She graduated with honors from the University of Puget Sound in Washington State; she is past chair of trustees for Puget Sound and a recipient of the Ernest T. Stewart National Award for university volunteers.  She also has attended the Executive Education program of the Kellogg School of Management.

Catch Deanna’s interview with Liz Lumley of Finextra on Breaking Banks– Customer Relations: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Retail Revolution By NANCY LIN

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Retail Revolution By NANCY LIN



From Distribution of Goods to Distribution of Experiences; From Ordinary to Extraordinary

We now have more singles than married households. The retail industry stuck to the big box approach over the years despite a shrinking middle class, graying baby boomers, rising debt, multiple decision makers in the households, and the millennials with different spending habits.

“Retail has been hacked”, Doug Stephens, the retail insider and futurist, summed up the current state of the retail industry when he was on the Business Reinvention show last week for the discussion, The Retail Revolution And the Road to Remarkable.  But are online retailers really invincible? Do traditional retailers have a chance to thrive in the future? Many have blamed the down fall of the retailers on the emerging technologies, but Doug pointed to the changing social and economic trends as drivers for the fundamental shifts in the retail industry.  We now have more singles than married households. The retail industry stuck to the big box approach over the years despite a shrinking middle class, graying baby boomers , rising debt, multiple decision makers in the households, and the millennials with different spending habits.

In his new book, Retail Revival – Reimaging Business in the New Age of Consumerism, Doug offers refreshing insights and recommendations for the retailers. To survive the retail revolution, retailers must transform their business models from distribution of products to distribution of experiences. Some of the innovative stores are already doing so. New York’s A Startup Store features merchandise from startups. The store changes products and physical designs every 4 to 6 weeks, taking the concept of Zara to the next level. Another example is Guest Chef, a restaurant in Oakland, California, that hosts a new chef every 2 weeks to create a sense of surprise for their patrons.

“The purpose of retail will no longer be to solely convert every customer into a buyer of goods but rather transform them into disciples of the brand itself.  To begin a relationship – a dialogue that may play out in any number of buying channels; online, in-store, mobile or elsewhere”, said Doug Stephens. Physical stores are less about transactions but will increasingly about building a pre-sales and post -ale relationship with the customer.  “Stores will become media, and media will become stores.”

“Consumers aren’t merely buying what you do or how you do it.  They’re also buying why you do it”, Doug pointed out. Retailers have to ask themselves why they exist and what they stand for, because that’s why customers buy from them. When you create a reason for consumers to want to go to your store, they will become your media. Traditionally, retailers have to launch a marketing campaign to drive traffic to their stores. In the future, the store will need to create a clear brand to attract customers who would then become their marketers when they are impressed with they see.

The purchase path is becoming unpredictable.  Doug argued that retailers will have to deliver remarkable experience in order to stay competitive.  Being average is no longer an option.  Doug predicted that “at high-end merchants, stock clerks, cashiers and inventory counters will be replaced with technology. The front line salespeople, however, will be higher performing professionals who are paid considerably more money than today.” To learn more about the implications for the CMOs, COO, and CPOs, download the podcast or tune in to the discussion online.

About the guest blogger: Nancy Lin is Founder, Host and Producer for Business Reinvention. The show features business innovation and transformation stories. She brings to her show a strong understanding of business having worked in marketing for Yahoo, DHL, Johnson & Johnson and Pepsi in the US and international markets and driven strong growth with innovative business strategies. She is also an executive coach, a business consultant and the founder of Change Agent SF, which helps clients transform the way they look at their businesses and leadership. Follow her on Twitter @BizReinvention


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