Welcome to a new series on our blog where we get to know the team at HqO. I’m sitting down with our whole crew to understand and share: what gets them up in the morning, why they’re jazzed about CRE technology, and what they bring to the table (and also learn) at HqO. Oh yeah, and we’re hiring! Learn more about joining the team.
Senior Director of Business Development and Sales
Katie: What’s your role at HqO and what are you working on most days?
I’m the senior director of sales and business development so I am very focused on going out and having as many conversations as possible around the tenant experience space. There’s so many different personas in this space
, from the CRE owners, to the operators, asset, and property teams, brokers, tenants, and potential partners to name a few. And then you get into the various asset types
– it’s very multifaceted!
I started working here in September, so these conversations and frequent discovery continues to be really important to build up my broad understanding of the market. And obviously, it helps me tell the HqO story better.
My typical day consists of client meetings, software demos, networking events, to name just a few. Everything goes into my understanding of the needs and drivers of clients and the different personas within them – really just getting a full grasp of the entire CRE landscape.
Katie: I can vouch that you’re very busy! So, what did you do before HqO?
Russell: I was the regional lead for Spotify’s sales, business development and strategic partnerships team here in New England. We sold marketing and advertising campaigns built on Spotify’s musical intelligence, so I worked closely with agencies and heads of marketing. I was the first hire in Spotify’s Boston office and tasked with launching the region. Well, then we acquired a company and expanded overnight. We grew to a couple hundred people in Boston.
Katie: Impressive. What is the biggest lesson you learned at Spotify that you bring to your role at HqO?
Russell: Without a doubt it’s the ability to tell a data-driven story from a sales perspective. Of course you have to have a deep understanding of what clients want, but the ability to provide data to solve client problems is invaluable.
Katie: Data is king. Great segue to HqO. What are you most excited about here and in the commercial real estate technology space in general?
Russell: Great question because I’m really excited to be here – it’s so new and I feel like I’m leaning about new technologies every single day. But beyond that, it really feels like HqO is solving a challenge in the market and the timing is perfect. The real estate industry is shifting and placing a huge focus on user experience. Landlords and owners want help connecting with their end users – the tenants – and HqO fits in perfectly. I think we have a real advantage in the market because of our team and our product – the data potential alone is profound.
Katie: You’ve been here a few months now. What do you like most about the team and the culture at HqO?
Russell: Well, I’m excited to get back into the startup setup and all-in mentality. When I was interviewing, I really liked the fact that HqO is a true team. And then being able to go to meetings with different departments and experiencing our weekly team stand-ups, it became clear right away that everyone chips in and everyone has a voice. I also love how close the engineering and sales teams sit to one another – it makes for a very horizontal organization. Sharing perspectives and learnings throughout the day, but also the ability to see and hear what each team goes through – it makes a huge difference in how we work together.
Katie: Love it. Agree. Okay, get ready for the BONUS QUESTION. What do you do when you’re not at HqO? Any Russ fun facts we should know?
Russell: Well I’m big on surfing. So that’s a big part of what I do when I’m not at the office. I go as much as I can around Boston but I’ve also surfed all over the world. My favorite places have been Costa Rica and southern California.
My fun fact would have to be that I love improv comedy. I actually studied at Second City in Chicago and that was an incredible experience that taught me a lot about myself and working as a team under pressure.
PS – Thanks to CREtech for the great pictures of Russ at their recent conference in Chicago.