Sara and Tim Hale are co-founders and managing partners of Coastal Cloud, a company they formed nine years ago. Sara was a leader in Accenture’s Technology Practice before setting out to build a new type of IT consulting firm. Tim has more than 25 years of consulting experience, including 21 years as a partner at Accenture. Twenty five percent of Coastal Cloud’s business comes from clients in Florida.
What implications do you see for your organization resulting from the coronavirus and how are you mitigating the potential risks and challenges?
Fortunately, Coastal Cloud was built for the challenges of 2020. Our employees were already working remotely long before the pandemic forced the rest of the nation’s workforce to do so. As such, our company has mastered efficiency and camaraderie among team members all across the U.S. As a technology company, we are familiar with the best tools to bring people together virtually and have had those tools in place for years.
What actions have you taken or will take to return to the growth expectations you had as 2019 ended? When will it be achieved?
In the next two to five years, we plan to expand our workforce to 500+ employees, triple revenue and become a major national brand in business technology consulting. Luckily for us, our achievements didn’t slow down in 2020. We maintained our Platinum Salesforce Partner Status, have been rated the No.1 Salesforce Consultant on G2.com, were named as an Inc.com Best Place to Work and received investments by Salesforce Ventures and Sverica Capital.
This growth can be explained in two dimensions. First, we have a great foundation that has allowed us to weather the pandemic quite well; second, we are able to work with great agility. There were many ‘firsts’ during this crisis, and Coastal Cloud excels at solving problems quickly. Our footprint in various industries, including Public Sector and Healthcare were greatly expanded in 2020 as customers and partners reached out to us for help. Our Care4COVID CARES Act and Disaster Management solutions were built in weeks at the start of the pandemic and proved the agility of both Coastal Cloud’s expertise in SaaS-based Salesforce solutions and our multi-certified expert consulting teams.
And finally, we have been able to achieve diversity in our rapidly expanding employee growth by natural attraction due to our workforce strategy. Many people can’t, or would prefer to not, return to an office. More than 40% of the employees are women, and women hold 45% of leadership positions. This is far above ‘tech’ company typical norms. We care deeply for our employees and our customers and are excited about the social and economic impact we can make in the coming years.
An organization’s culture flows from the top down. What leadership skills do you find effective in promoting the agency’s mission and vision to employees, clients and customers?
We developed our strategic vision for the company based on the guiding principle that happiness in everyday life is a powerful magnet to attract talent, resulting in superb outcomes for our clients. Our fundamentally unique culture unlocks the limits of geographic hiring, allowing us to invest in exceptional individuals – no matter their location.
As leaders, we believe our role is to remain dedicated to the principles we were founded on. The workforce model that we envisioned has largely remained unchanged, it has just evolved and scaled with the growth of the organization. We are proud of the technical achievements we have made and of our contributions not only to choosing the right leadership and staff but also to rolling up our sleeves and delivering some very meaningful work for strategic clients.
At EVOLVE we have a shared belief that leaders develop their success skills by overcoming the challenges and adversity they face. Do you believe that hypothesis and if so, what adversity have you faced and overcome that helped put you where you are today?
We definitely agree. We are incredibly proud of our personal involvement in our public sector initiatives in the state of Florida, particularly over the past year as we met the challenges of COVID-19. Sara took a direct role in pivoting Coastal Cloud’s efforts to rapidly respond to state agencies and organizations that were tasked with managing this public health emergency. We built a special taskforce and began to develop solutions immediately. As a result of our strategic, agile response to the market, the business grew significantly and Coastal Cloud was able to play a significant role in recovery in our home state.
What closing comments or counsel would you offer to emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs to continue their path to success?
Of course, the early years of any growing business are difficult in many ways. Every leader knows the benefits and challenges of having to, at times, perform duties from every aspect of the business to ensure success. We have never stepped away from working with the technology and projects. Our advice is, be prepared to get your hands dirty and never give up.