Brenton Howland Of Forum Brands: 5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Highly Successful E-commerce Business

An Interview With Orlando Zayas

Orlando Zayas, CEO of Katapult
Authority Magazine
23 min readJan 2, 2022


Know your customer. This is a simple message that businesses tend to stray away from at times. Particularly in e-commerce, brands need to constantly be monitoring who is buying, why they are buying, and how they are buying. The customer is at the core of it all. Building an archetype of not just the main purchaser, but importantly all the variations of purchasers that make up the bulk of the business, is critical in curating and maintaining a brand voice and product portfolio that continues to serve customer needs. The same theory applies in giving the business the opportunity to expand and reach new customers.

As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Highly Successful E-Commerce Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brenton Howland.

Brenton Howland, the co-founder and co-CEO of Forum Brands, an e-commerce acquisition platform that grows and scales third party businesses. Brenton started his career in management consulting at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on crafting and deploying growth strategies for the world’s largest consumer companies. His work included go-to-market and channel strategy, pricing, merchandising, business development and branding initiatives for leading Fortune 500 CPG & Retail businesses (e.g. Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Best Buy, McDonalds, J Crew, and more). Following McKinsey, Brenton joined the founding team at Cove Hill Partners, a $2.6 billion technology and consumer Private Equity fund with an innovative long-duration approach to building businesses over several decades.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

It’s a pleasure to speak with you! I have had both a fascination with entrepreneurship and how the world’s best consumer businesses run from an early age, largely influenced by my grandfather. He dedicated his career to the U.S. Military, but his side hustle was investing. He taught me about the stock market, and because of him, I started investing at the age of seven in public companies that I knew and believed in. I started to keep tabs on how the businesses I invested in were doing, and that grew my love for watching business grow and scale. As I grew older, that fascination evolved into professional interests at the intersection of consumer and technology. After finishing school, I joined McKinsey as a management consultant, where I focused on applying digital innovation as a growth strategy for large scale companies. For the first time, I could see the intimate details of what it takes to build companies into world-class leaders — case studies for other consumer-facing organizations to emulate. After taking a leap into entrepreneurship in helping build Cove Hill Partners, one of the largest first-time private equity funds in decades, I was ready to strike out and build what today is Forum Brands.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

Forum Brands is entirely an early success story because of the people that make up the organization (the members of our “Forum”). It’s why we named the business what we did — the Roman Forum was only as dynamic and innovative as the merchants and thought-leaders who frequented the site itself.

The foundational moment to start our business was not a stroke of innovation. I had been circling around this opportunity for half a decade. Both Ruben and Alex had been doing the same in some variation. Our “Aha Moment” was committing to one another as a founding group. It was believing not that this was a novel, transformative idea that would shape digital commerce for decades, but rather a collective belief in one another.

In meeting and getting to know Ruben, I knew I had met someone with a relentless drive and a special ability to influence outcomes through relationship building. Alex, in parallel, brings a truly unique balance of off-the-charts intellect, humility, and voracious intellectual curiosity. This was and continues to be the right team to execute on our vision. That was the big insight.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Consistent with my last answer, the most important early element in any business is talent — more than the idea, competition, market opportunity, and anything else. This is a view that my co-founders Alex and Ruben shared deeply. We brought on a few junior level folks to support execution right at the outset, but in parallel focused an overwhelming majority of our time on talent strategy and recruiting.

Our first senior hire was hard. It’s that first domino to drop, where from there each incremental addition feels easier and easier. On paper, we couldn’t have had a stronger and more complementary background across CPG & e-commerce, technology, company building, and M&A. But at the same time, all we had to stand behind were our resumes, a very well thought out business plan, and some capital from early investors. So for an “A” quality senior candidate, why come join Forum Brands? We knew we were great, but it was hard to get that point across to others who weren’t familiar with our brand.

After a month or two of disappointing traction, we started to learn what works. Process, intellect, and traditional recruiting channels are all important ingredients, but pail in comparison to the execution and networking. We started to just build the business — showing new and existing relationships through each conversation the potential in our vision. And in a partnership conversation with a former leader within Amazon’s third-party marketplace team, we found our first senior hire. The dominoes fell from there.

To be honest, I never considered for a second that we wouldn’t find the right “A” talent to put in place in the early days of our business. We had enough capital set aside to continue to maintain an ultra-high bar, and frankly, the 6 trillion-dollar market opportunity in front of us was not going anywhere… We felt fortunate to be in the position we were in and equally accountable to our investors, partners, and early employees to go do what we told them we would and more. The chip on our collective shoulder helped. All three of us are young founders and leaders — we had and continue to have a lot to prove, first and foremost to ourselves. As a result, we were stringing together 80 to 100-hour work weeks without thinking twice about it. It was what we signed up for. It never felt hard. The work was hard, yes, but we were having more fun and feeling more fulfilled than ever before in our professional lives.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

These are fun and important conversations — which I appreciate you and the team at Authority Magazine inviting us to have — because they force a degree of healthy reflection. In 2020, I could not have imagined surpassing some of the goals that we blew out of the water in 2021. We officially launched Forum Brands out of stealth with an equity raise of $27M. Two months later, we announced that we raised $100M in financing to help us further grow and scale online businesses. Since our launch, we’ve had steady traction, acquiring at least one new business every month, growing from 5 to over 60 employees, and overall building a foundation for sustainable, hyper-growth.

If I can steal a bit from Jeff Bezos: it’s still Day 1 for us at Forum. We are just scratching the surface of the outcomes I know we can deliver, and importantly, the positive impact that we can make on this evolving creator economy of consumer entrepreneurs. I’m not even remotely close to being satisfied with where we are as an organization and our impact on the industry. This is core to the concepts of “grit” and “resilience” you called out in your question, but I’d maybe rephrase it slightly. Our eventual and continued success as a business is contingent in our ability to constantly raise the bar and then come together in relentless pursuit of reaching it. I’ve adopted a phrase — “Demand Excellence” — that I’m working hard to embody and weave into how we communicate and operate at Forum. We should circle back on this check-in question this time next year. If done so successfully, it should make for another fun look-back.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

While this was less funny at the moment, we had a few early employees on our team that one day all collectively learned that our co-founding team of three was still wrapping up graduate school while dumping 80+ hours per week into the business. From the start, we were quite open with anyone who wanted to know what we were managing in parallel, but did not proactively bring up what for a few months was a constant juggling act!

Our program at Stanford had rolled out a required digital background as part of their new video conferencing software, and in transitioning from one virtual class to team-wide call, I had left my background on. It made for an awkward few minutes, but had a good laugh just minutes later and quickly moved on from there. Until now, I hadn’t really thought about any lessons or ‘takeaways’ learned from that mistake. In retrospect, there are several that I think I innately took away from what was otherwise an innocent and unimpactful moment.

First, I was not effectively demonstrating one of our core Principles at Forum: “Communicate & Be Transparent.” While it sounds like a simple concept, it’s the exception rather than the norm in most multi-faceted businesses. It shouldn’t be. Communication and radical transparency is such a foundational pillar to employee engagement, productivity, and in turn, company performance. While this mistake was easy to laugh off, I do think it was a missed opportunity to demonstrate proactive communication and the ability for our early team to truly develop shared situational understanding important to accelerating and strengthening relationship bonds.

The other lesson it taught me, frankly, is that most people want their peers and colleagues to “come as they are.” In general, people perform at their best in professional settings when they feel comfortable in bringing their true and full selves to what they do. Diverse personal paths, professional backgrounds, and perspectives are all transformative positives in organizations, particularly young companies where culture and community are still being defined. I flipped a bit of a switch in recognizing and championing this lesson after this “mistake” made, but without clear and direct intention.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our business is unique in that it is really three companies in one: an operating company in eCommerce, an enterprise software company, and an M&A firm. Not only do all of these pieces actively coordinate and fit together, but they also have to scale in lockstep. This presents a challenge, but equally enables a dynamic and inspiring work environment. When asked about our “company culture” in conversations with candidates, this element of the company shines through in the three words I share in response: curious, collaborative, celebratory. Our different functions only work effectively if these words are reflected in how we operate and interact with one another on a daily basis. We continue to do so beyond my expectation, a trend that gives me a tremendous sense of pride and promise in Forum and the individuals we’ve been lucky enough to have joined us.

Distinct and unique teams bring in a diverse group of individuals — all meeting the same bar for track record and talent — who come from all kinds of personal and professional walks of life. A recent example that showcased the power of our company culture came in our Company Summit in October of 2021. One afternoon, groups were organized blending people from various functions on a scavenger hunt through NYC. The prompt in parallel was to discuss our company Principles and what they mean to each individual, followed by a company-wide presentation from one group representative. This built bonds that we have already seen translate into a more vibrant working environment and tangible business results!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Prioritize. This is a simple concept I preach constantly across our teams at Forum. I am a strong proponent of the 80/20 rule. I have seen throughout every one of my professional experiences (regardless of industry, function, or role) that one can drive 80% of insights with 20% of the work, meeting the bar required to make decisions and move work forward.

In addition, it’s so important for colleagues in our industry to find pockets to take time away in a form that works best for that specific individual. The notion of traditional vacation as a mechanism to fight burnout, in my view, has been slowly eclipsed by technology adoption and meaningfully accelerated by the pandemic. I’ve struggled with it personally. Often when I take vacation, I’m chained to my phone to the point where I’m constantly in the know and work never truly goes away. It’s not restful. In recognizing this challenge, I’ve pushed myself to take more frequent small breaks where devices completely shut off — a couple hours every day or two and then in larger chunks one or two days every few weeks. It’s not for everyone, but for me personally, I find it gives me the small bursts of energy needed to recharge my batteries on a healthy cadence.

To summarize, mitigating burnout is inherently personal. It’ll never get done effectively, regardless of personal preference, if colleagues don’t make it a principal priority and actively communicate the same to their directs, peers, and managers.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I would point here to both of my grandfathers, who collectively taught me one very important lesson: professional success is largely determined by how you make others feel. Each man climbed to the top of their respective fields, but outside of the business world. One served as a lieutenant general in the military, while the other had a long career leading churches and communities as a minister. Fulfillment in their lives, both personally and professionally, was so deeply entrenched in family, community, and shared values. I was lucky to spend a lot of time in and around the close-knit communities that they had built, extending beyond family, and was consistently moved by how others spoke about each of them. They continue to be heroes and role models to me of course because of the direct relationships we shared, but just as importantly, how blown away I’ve always been by how others speak about them as individuals. They built true followership that created a rising tide within their communities. Yes, it propelled the two of them to have successful and fulfilling careers, but what’s more impressive is how effortlessly they were able to bring others with them along the way.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?

Change spurs innovation. This innovation is particularly acute and transformative when change is borne from hardship. It’s core to every history lesson I’ve ever been exposed to and a pillar of how new markets and industries come to be. The Pandemic has spurred innovation in consumer retail more than any other industry, maybe second to medicine. As it relates to our business, it has accelerated innovation in the “creator economy” of consumer entrepreneurs, who have leveraged the access to entrepreneurship marketplaces such as Amazon have afforded to nimbly respond to changing consumer behavior.

In this period, we’ve seen ideas and innovations start to cluster into a few common themes across stakeholders within the e-commerce space.

For brand owners large and small, it’s the shift toward an asset-light business model. Gone are the days where new brand creators are pressed to find a local manufacturer and either partner with local retailers or fill dedicated space to dropship and fulfill orders direct to individual consumers. Access to technology and cross-border commerce has unlocked the ability to build businesses around tangible goods without the business owners ever having to touch the product (at least beyond design and launch). From the confines of homes around the world, Amazon’s third party marketplace has built an amazing ecosystem of over 60,000 independent brand owners who have leveraged this trend to generate over $1,000,000 in annual sales from the marketplace entirely from behind a screen.

For marketplaces and larger retailers, we’re seeing a massive influx of capital and attention paid to third party marketplace models, particularly where curated, vertical-specific experiences such as Chewy and Zulily have a reason to win versus Amazon. Assortment (choice) and consumer trust have and will continue to be core to success in e-commerce sales. For large retail players such as Walmart and Target, we are seeing more comfort in the third-party model and a focus on taking a page from the Amazon playbook in creating a mechanism (and profiting from) the success of the independent, innovative creators and brand owners I just referenced.

In tandem with these marketplaces, companies such as Forum have tapped into the vast opportunity in digital commerce that the pandemic has only accelerated to participate in and make a positive impact on the CPG ecosystem. We, like several others, are embedding financial solutions — an acquisition platform that provides the opportunity for a business exit that is often life-changing for brand owners — into e-commerce operating platforms in which we’re building and scaling brands in parallel. Technology continues to play an active role, ranging from the strong group of peers and partners of ours with platforms that underwrite and offer loans to businesses within minutes to our own operating tools we’ve built internally at Forum. There’s a big announcement to come from us on this note next month!

Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?

Push yourselves and your businesses to warrant and support a premium price. All of the survey work we do on our brands internally points to continued consumer prioritization of quality products. In fact, very few consumers rank price as among the top 3 characteristics in making a purchase decision. This is a contrarian opinion among some, but our experience supports my strong perspective that brand matters everywhere, even on the Amazon marketplace. On Amazon, price is in fact a critical signal to consumers alongside reviews supporting the quality of products being purchased.

Most healthy consumer categories, going down to the sub-product level, have a below average, good, better, best tiering model, in which each segment of the market (yes, even below average) supports a market opportunity and unit economic model for competitors to occupy and be successful in doing so. Races to the bottom, in turn, are often constructed due to a perceived need to win on price; in reality, companies should be solving for margin profiles that work and owning the inputs such as brand voice, product quality, feature differentiation, and more needed to be successful.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

The cold start problem. This is a term made famous by the prominent venture investor Andrew Chen and has direct and all-too applicable ties to the success and failure of early e-commerce entrepreneurs. In the digital commerce world, this manifests in poor product and/or brand launch decisions, in which two scenarios occur. In one scenario, the entrepreneur either got something about product-market fit wrong and has burned through dollars on some combination of inventory, marketing dollars, and other startup costs, often to the point of no return. In the other, the entrepreneur got it right; they got it more right than they ever would have expected. In doing so, they burn through product and run out of stock, often experiencing delays of over 90 days in today’s global supply chain environment before they can get back in stock and rebuild the bulk of their momentum likely lost in the down period.

There’s no right answer to avoid these errors. Success in e-commerce entrepreneurship is more reliant on luck and access to capital than it should be (relative to preparation and intellect, at least). My advice is to start slow, build conviction in product-market fit with just enough of a sample size, and accelerate once that conviction has been reached. Not all new businesses are successful even when doing so, but preparation and a data-driven decision to drive forward towards scale are table stakes early inputs for long-term success.

In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

The easy answer here can and most likely should lie within the supply chain and logistics process, but we have worn that topic out over the last 18 months…

One question and consideration that is not talked about enough: “what happens to brand owners and their businesses once the initial ‘brand’ becomes relevant?” Most success stories are focused on that first chapter — identifying whitespace in an attractive market, finding an angle (product innovation, feature enhancement, sourcing advantage, brand story, etc.) that gives the business a right to win, scrapping through the early days, and then ultimately achieving breakout growth. These stories rarely keep going from here. I connect with countless innovative creators in the e-commerce sector who have built young, impressive businesses behind a finite set of products and one-dimensional brand. It’s a critical first step, but so frequently these operators fail to appreciate the importance of what happens next.

Maintaining relevance is a monumental challenge for most brands. Doing so efficiently with an eye towards improving unit economics is even more difficult. Ongoing relevance requires continued investment in the right marketing channels, an active eye on competition and consumer feedback, and most critically, continued innovation. As a result, one of the overarching knocks on the e-commerce sector are concerns around staying power. We of course see lots of fad-driven businesses come and go in our space, but just as often, we see businesses selling durable products with the potential to endure and ultimately fizzle out. At Forum, we actively look for and diligence foundational elements of a brand that are table stakes for continued long-term growth. Staying power is core to our investment thesis — a pillar of our holistic evaluation that we continue to get sharper and sharper (through both experience and data science) in determining.

Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?

Marketplace and e-commerce platforms fall far and away at the top of the list of technologies and digital tools that empower emerging e-commerce brands. They are the legs on which today’s creator economy of consumer entrepreneurs have been built. Marketplaces have enabled the ability for independent entrepreneurs to not only list products and merchandise, but equally importantly acquire traffic without having to build direct touchpoints with consumers. E-commerce platforms have, in parallel, created a simple, low-code direct to consumer alternative for operators who want to own the touchpoint with consumers (and the immensely valuable data that comes with it).

To compliment these platforms, we have seen a proliferation of software-as-a-service providers pop up to support brands in executing core functional operations including marketing, inventory management, market intelligence, pricing, merchandising, and financial visualization. There are more than a handful of great tools across each of these dimensions. All that said, the biggest challenge we have observed firsthand as global, multi-channel e-commerce operators is that very rarely if at all do these tools talk to one another. They are discrete systems that not only require multiple logins and independent management, but data feeds and inputs are isolated from one another. E-commerce is a critically interconnected value chain. Tech stacks for brand owners and operators can and should mirror the same, but often fall short.

As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?

UI and UX are spoken together in most contexts, particularly those that center around the importance of an opportunity associated with conversion rate optimization. The interface plays a prominent role; however, my experience suggests (and our data supports) that the user experience has a much more central role to play in converting customers. There are a few key UX strategies that we have honed in on at Forum with strong success on the conversion side.

First, invest in and prioritize mobile. In just the last 5 years, mobile share of total worldwide e-commerce sales has skyrocketed from 52% to 73% now in 2021. Mobile has and will continue to dictate overall brand success in e-commerce, but in many cases the focus over-indexes on desktop.

Second, reduce the amount of clicks it takes to purchase. Every page or pop up presents another opportunity for the consumer to “bounce” away from product listing. It’s a simple strategy — less friction equals better results.

Third, use simple words and a clear, easy to use navigational flow. Owned sites and product pages often become cluttered with text and imagery, distracting from the story needing to be told by the brand and the ultimate intent of the customer: making a purchase. The best sites balance a compelling, informative experience with a “less is more” user experience.

One of the main benefits of shopping online is the ability to read reviews. Consumers love it! While good reviews are of course positive for a brand, poor reviews can be very damaging. In your experience what are a few things a brand should do to properly and effectively respond to poor reviews? How about other unfair things said online about a brand?

The best thing you can do in response to reviews is to put the customer first, and regardless of the validity of the situation, hold the brand and business accountable. The customer is everything — always make it right. Whether poor reviews are warranted or not, brands are guilty by default and almost never proven innocent. Customers, both directly and indirectly, show appreciation for a proactive, communicative brand that consistently engages with thoughtful messaging.

The best responses I see show action being taken beyond refunds or credits; they speak to process, product, or performance changes that are being made to ensure that customers do not experience similar grievances in the future. In this regard, negative reviews can actually be used as a tool to drive differentiation in the minds of existing and potential new customers.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.

This is a simple question with all too many layers… I wish I had a tried-and-true formula built around five things entrepreneurs can do to create a very successful e-commerce business. The reality is there are a lot of entrepreneurs and teams that will do all the right things and fall short. There is a lot of chance in what we do!

Now that I’ve properly added a caveat to such a daunting question, there are a few things I’ve learned in my experience prior to and in running Forum that typically correlate with successful outcomes in e-commerce entrepreneurship.

1) Know your customer

This is a simple message that businesses tend to stray away from at times. Particularly in e-commerce, brands need to constantly be monitoring who is buying, why they are buying, and how they are buying. The customer is at the core of it all. Building an archetype of not just the main purchaser, but importantly all the variations of purchasers that make up the bulk of the business, is critical in curating and maintaining a brand voice and product portfolio that continues to serve customer needs. The same theory applies in giving the business the opportunity to expand and reach new customers.

We learned this the hard way at Forum. One of our brands — Go Time Gear — had benefited from an unprecedented wave of strong demand, much of which we thought was warranted and a result of the strength of the product portfolio and voice we had curated. We largely had it right. We knew the core customer and catered to that archetype’s needs; however, we missed that a large minority of the customer base was also purchasing products across our portfolio driven by an indirectly related fad. We missed it in the data and customer reviews, but in retrospect, it was apparent. In reality, we let great results make us complacent and have had to work diligently to reposition the business.

2) Find metrics that point to large markets with low competition

Success in e-commerce is all about finding opportunities to maximize growth in a highly economically efficient manner. There are very few examples, but those that exist point to the upside associated. It’s impossible to tactfully find these opportunities without leaning into data sources as tools to unlock insights. There are lots of ways to cut this, but my personal favorite is overlaying search traffic with the prices of paid ads for those same keywords.

One of our businesses at Forum is the quintessential example: Tough Cover. This is a business in a niche, selling weather-resistant covers for machine-operated outdoor equipment. It’s a bigger market than one might think! That being said, it’s also one where the brand has carved out a strong leadership position led by the outstanding quality of its products and resonance with its consumer base. We benefit as a result from strong, consistent growth on a business with highly efficient marketing spend.

3) You typically only get one shot at a launch

This is a lesson I’ve learned from speaking with thousands of innovators, operators, and service providers across the e-commerce space. The capital intensity it takes to launch a new e-commerce business — inventory, infrastructure, brand and marketing collateral, advertising, and more — are all huge expenses that are part of the “payback” curve. Launching too early or without enough preparation, as a result, can drive a deep hole in the pockets of e-commerce entrepreneurs, many of whom are self-funded.

I’m constantly impressed by the innovators in e-commerce who move incredibly fast — faster than comfortable — across almost every facet of the business. The stories that are most impressive, however, are those that mirror this pace with patience prior to taking that first leap.

4) Post-launch, don’t be afraid to fail fast

Fear of failure, or more simply, making mistakes can cripple a business. The best operators get things wrong all the time. They move fast, experiment, have a short memory, but importantly, bank data points and anecdotes that make future mistakes avoidable and open the aperture for opportunity.

As an example, virality is the most powerful unlock for direct-to-consumer brands, ultimately driving breakout sales demand through organic acquisition (as profitable as it gets…). There is no magic formula for virality; each case of a viral brand story has a different set of ingredients and story preceding. The one common theme, however, is that no brand becomes viral on first go. It takes time and tinkering! It requires experimentation with various products and features, sales channels, ad forms, brand messaging, and more before striking gold.

5) Cash is king

I’m saving the best for last here. P&L math is so often overlooked, but arguably the most critical element of a business to model out and make sure operators get right. What can I source and ship my products for relative to the price I’m expecting to sell? What can I expect to spend on fulfillment, platform fees, and other related expenses across various selling channels? How efficient can I expect my marketing / customer acquisition spend to be relative to my contribution margin profile?

So many of these questions are asked by operators far too late in the process of brand building. And in a market where the overwhelming majority of operators are self-funded, these are the make or break questions that must be answered to bring brands to breakeven as quickly as possible. It wouldn’t be fair to point directly to tangible examples, but I have seen far too many stories of brands with great products and a compelling, differentiated value proposition for a large consumer base that struggle with cash management.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

The focus of any movement I’d start would center on providing more efficient access to entrepreneurship of all kinds, leveling the playing field for small business creation. In my role, I have had the privilege of connecting with a handful of new entrepreneurs every week. They share their stories and I share mine in turn, before shifting to a discussion around their existing pain points and the often life-changing exit opportunity we afford through Forum Brands. Access to capital always comes up, even for the most capable operators and performant businesses. While I have yet to come up with a well-founded solution, this movement would ideally democratize access to capital, with an emphasis on underserved groups.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can connect with me on LinkedIn and follow us over at We have some exciting announcements coming up so stay tuned for that.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Of course, thanks for having me!