We’re thrilled to welcome Julie Richardson to Fivetran’s Board of Directors. As an independent board member and as a member of the company’s audit committee, she’ll offer important guidance as Fivetran enters its next stage of growth. Julie currently chairs the audit committee at Datadog and YEXT, as well as the compensation committee at UBS.
She comes to us after spending 25 years on Wall Street, where she started as a specialist in telecom, media and technology at firms like Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan before moving on to private equity as head of the New York office of Providence Equity Partners. Our conversation with her has been edited for length and clarity.
You’re the first woman on the Fivetran board. What does this mean to you?
I'm honored to be the first female board member, although that in and of itself is not that novel to me. I’m used to being the first woman because there weren't very many female partners in private equity or at J.P. Morgan when I was there. I’m excited because this role gives me a great platform to advocate for Fivetran to continue to increase the number of women, at the board level and beyond.
One of the factors that attracted me to join this board is Fivetran's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. I was thrilled to see that diversity, equity and inclusion is one of Fivetran's top five critical objectives, not just because it is important to me personally, but also because of the important role DEI plays in building innovative teams and companies.
What excites you about taking on this new role at Fivetran?
First, Fivetran is addressing a significant market need. Companies today are faced with an enormous amount of data but they can’t always access it or use it, because it’s spread across many different applications and databases.
Fivetran has a great product and has experienced explosive growth already. I’m looking forward to helping the company stay on track with that growth by lending my experience with other high-growth technology companies and collaborating with the talented team.
What did you observe about the culture and values that drew you to Fivetran?
For one, the infectious enthusiasm of the two founders. One of the things that really stuck out for me was that they are incredibly successful guys who are willing to say, “I don't know the answer.” They are quite accomplished, but they come to work every day to learn. That feels different versus other people their ages who have already met such a high level of success.
And they seem to have a lot of fun! No one here takes themselves too seriously.
What’s an important lesson you learned from other boards that you’ll bring to Fivetran?
The biggest thing I've learned as a corporate board member is there's a line between management and the board.
The board's job is to support the management team — that is, offer perspective, recognize patterns from previous experiences, share wisdom, et cetera. But anytime the board is issuing an edict to management, something has gone wrong. I've seen some people cross that line. Empowering management is the most effective thing a board member can do.
Which Fivetran value (1 team, 1 dream; Get stuck in; Do the right thing) resonates most with you?
All of these items are obviously critical, but I am going to go with ‘Get stuck in’ as my personal favorite. Building a world-class company is not an easy task, and there will be good days and bad days during Fivetran’s journey. Having a cohesive and talented team that comes to work every day to make things happen with total commitment, and a good measure of grit and perseverance, is incredibly powerful.