Announcing SaaStr’s Most Respected Leaders of 2019!

Meet SaaStr’s Most Respected Leaders of 2019. Our most popular CEOs, COOs, and Presidents that spoke at SaaStr Annual 2019. Curious how we came up with this list? We found our most popular speakers by speaker views and likes, session bookmarks and ratings weighing categories more heavily for overall rating than initial interest. Using magic (standard deviation) we came up with the best of the best of our sessions as voted by you, our SaaStr community.

Every week we’ll be rolling out new winners until we get to the very pinnacle of our list. Keep your eyes peeled as we unveil the list and a bit more about your favorite leaders.

SaaStr’s Most Respected Leader Awards Number: 20 to 25

Ryan Petersen Flexport Founder/CEO
Ryan Petersen
About Ryan…

Rounding out our top twenty on the list, Ryan Petersen ranked highly on speaker likes by our attendees and session rating averages. Flexport is an international freight forwarder built around an online dashboard. Navigating the complex industry that is freight forwarding, Flexport has created a model that combines analytics, logistics infrastructure, and supply chain expertise delivered via the cloud that allows customers to deeper and real-time visibility into freight forwarding.

Ryan Petersen is the founder and CEO of Flexport. Before starting Flexport he was founder and CEO of Import Genius and COO of Wasauna. The company has raised a billion dollar round this February led by SoftBank Vision Fund landing them a $3.2B valuation.


Mehul Patel Hired Founder/CEO

Mehul Patel

About Mehul…

Number twenty one on our list is Mehul Patel whose session scored incredibly high in attendee ratings. Hired is a career marketplace that matches tech talent with a network of hiring companies. The platform combines intelligent job matching and career counseling to help candidates find their next job and companies, their next candidate. Groupon, Capital One, GrubHub, Uber, and Eventbrite count themselves among its customers. Lumia, SVBB, Crosslink, Sierra and Sherpa count themselves among its investors. The company recently released its fourth annual “The State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace” Report. The report analyzes career marketplace data and surfaces what the gender wage gap looks like for tech workers. For the first time in two years, the company found that the gap in pay narrowed and men who were offered higher salaries at 63% have improved by a drop to 60%.

Mehul Patel began his career as an M&A attorney before joining Oracle as its Technology Transactions and Business Development Counsel. He spent the next few years first as a VP for CNET, CMO of Howard Rice and Managing Director with Axiom, a marketplace for lawyers where he led global expansion. His next two roles were more sales leaning as COO of Kaggle, a marketplace of over 200,000 data scientists, EIR at Crosslink Capital where he focused on marketplace companies like Lyft and Scripted and then Interim Head of Sales for Lyft. In 2013 he joined Hired as CEO. 

Elisa Steele Namely CEO
Elisa Steele
About Elisa…

Elisa Steele holds strong at number twenty-two with high interest metrics from our attendees who looked forward to her as a speaker. Namely is an HR software company that offers HR, payroll, benefits and talent management tools to businesses.

Elisa Steele is the CEO of Namely and board member of Splunk, Cornerstone OnDemand as well as an advisor to Tile and People.ai. Prior to Namely, Elisa was a VP at Sun Microsystems and NetApp before going on to Yahoo as an EVP and CMO, eventually joining Microsoft’s Skype as CMO. She later joined Jive Software as President and CEO before going on to Namely.

Henry Ward Carta Co-Founder/CEO
Henry Ward
About Henry…

Henry Ward sits at number twenty-three on our list with high interest in his session and ensuing speaker likes. Carta specializes in cap table management and valuation software. The company is reportedly raising a $300M round led by Andreessen Horowitz which would value it at $1.8B.

Prior to Carta, Henry worked at Trilogy, Reddwerks, CallidusCloud and Between Markets before founding Secondsight. In 2012 he co-founded Carta and has been there ever since as CEO.


Robert Hohman Glassdoor Co-Founder/CEO

Robert Hohman

About Robert…

Robert Hohman’s session hit high marks in session averages as voted by attendees. Glassdoor is a job and recruiting site that allows both current and former employees to rate their employer and see salary information for roles from various companies. In May of 2018, about ten years after the company’s launch, Recruit Holdings acquired Glassdoor for $1.2B.

Robert Hohman began his career at Microsoft as a development manager then went on to Expedia and Hotwire from 1996-2006. In a 2016 Forbes interview, he spoke about his last moments before starting Glassdoor. “In 2006, I left and spent a year playing video games,” said Hohman, “There’s a maximum level you can achieve in World of Warcraft. I achieved it on a Tuesday and I started [Glassdoor] on a Wednesday. I remember it was level 70.”


Mark Mader Smartsheet President/CEO
Mark Mader
About Mark…

Mark Mader rounds out our top twenty-five with high session bookmarks and speaker likes. Smartsheet is a SaaS platform for collaboration and work management. Users can assign tasks, track project progress and manage calendars among other things. The software is used by 75% of Fortune 500 companies and its customers include Office Depot, Paypal and Cisco as well as many more.

Mark Mader is President and CEO of Smartsheet. Mark began his career as a senior research associate for Greenwich associates, going on to become Onyx Software’s SVP  of Global Services from 1995-2005. He’s been helming Smartsheet for 13 years, seeing the company through its public debut in 2018. He’s a dual citizen of Germany and the U.S. and has spent time living and working abroad.

Published on May 1, 2019

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