There are a few things business intelligence software company Sisense is known for: award-winning products; major global clients; and a sleek office in Midtown with a giant pinwall at the entrance.
What you might not know is that outside of the massive growth and flashy office decor, the company still operates much like a startup. Each employee is given the mentorship, authority and opportunity typically reserved for a smaller team. We talked to some of the team members who have risen through the ranks and grown with the quickly evolving company.
EMPLOYEES: 499 globally, 220 in the US
WHAT THEY DO: Sisense helps businesses analyze their complex data and instantly create insights that drive successful decisions. Their solutions were specifically designed for people with little to no background in data analysis.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Right in the heart of Midtown.
NOTABLE CLIENTS: GE, Airbus, NASDAQ
TGIF: Each Friday after the end of the quarter is a designated company holiday called “Coming Up for Air.”
SWAG LIFE: Most startups have branded t-shirts, but Sisense takes it a step further. Their logo appears on everything from fun socks to infant onesies.
Wesley Ulysse, Regional Director, Business Development U.S.
Wesley is responsible for the overall management of strategic initiatives within marketing and business development across the United States.
BEYOND WORK: Outside of the office, you’ll find Wesley in the kitchen. He uses cooking as a way to relieve stress and express creativity — he incorporates as many cultures as possible into his unique fusion recipes.
Your background is in financial accounting. How does this foundation help to inform your experience in sales?
It’s actually pretty funny. Working in accounting made me realize that I didn't want to be stuck behind a desk crunching numbers all day! I’m pretty good with numbers, but I’m better with people.
You’ve been promoted three times in three years. How has the company supported your professional and career growth?
The open door policy and transfer of knowledge within the company has helped me grow. Since day one, I quickly learned that Sisense was full of resources. The best way to succeed is to learn from everybody and make sure that I also transfer that knowledge, whether it be internally or to a prospect.
The best way to succeed is to learn from everybody and make sure that I also transfer that knowledge, whether it be internally or to a prospect."
How do you help support the growth of your team members?
I support my team by valuing their opinion. I tend to share my ideas about everything, and I encourage my teammates to do the same. Almost nothing is out of bounds, and it goes both ways: Honesty and transparency is critical to my growth, as well as theirs.
Ramon Lopez, Sales Engineering Team Lead
Ramon leads a group of engineers that provide technical know-how during the sales cycle to prove Sisense’s value.
BEYOND WORK: Ramon keeps his balance. He’s been surfing for the past 10 years, and he’s traveled all over the world to find the best wave.
Tell us about the moment you felt truly comfortable in your role.
There was this one deal that confirmed I was at the right place at the right the time. The client was in the healthcare industry and had various branches that were all in different systems. The data was disjointed and complex, and they had minimal IT and tech resources. Though we banged our heads against the keyboard a few times, we ended up converting a group of skeptical users into Sisense champions.
What gets you and your team through the long hours?
It helps to learn about how data affects life and business. Every day, I get to talk to different companies of all sizes about their data, how large and wide it is and how they struggle with making something out of it. Our self-serve stack allows users of almost any skill level to have high-value dashboards, which are distributed across an organization.
We need to be the super users in the organization, pushing and championing all the cool tech we are building."
Where do you see your team in one year? In five? How is it different?
Scaling and scaling! Our sales team and user base are growing at a rapid pace. We need to be the super users in the organization, pushing and championing all the cool tech we are building. In one year, the focus should be in building resources and processes. In five years, we hope to be scaling those processes globally across different regions and distribution methods.
Yair Areli, VP, Corporate Sales, East
Yair is responsible for delivering on sales targets and business goals. He’s the person who establishes procedures to support rapid growth and superior sales results.
BEYOND WORK: When he’s not focusing on ways to improve his employees’ development, he’s tying up his shoelaces and hitting the treadmill. He loves running and staying active.
You’ve been with Sisense for over 8 years. How has the company changed during that time?
I joined a small group that was very much like a small family. The job descriptions were not well defined, so everyone helped each other accomplish every task. Today, Sisense is 50 times bigger, and while the togetherness is still a major part of our culture, we have many more resources and are much more professional in everything we do.
You’ve worked in both the NYC and Tel Aviv offices. How does the culture differ at each location?
Sisense’s overall culture is about “getting stuff done together,” but there are clearly cultural differences between the two offices. For one, the Israeli culture as a whole is different from what we’re familiar with in New York. Also, while the NYC office is focused on sales and operations, the Tel Aviv office is primarily an R&D office with some sales and marketing. Consequently, the personalities and the employee profile is different.
I now realize that as soon as things become stable and calm, we will no longer be a fast-growing company."
How has the company’s growth influenced you as a leader?
My leadership has substantially evolved in many ways. For one, I’ve learned to balance between coaching, teaching and modeling. I’ve also learned to accept the constant VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) as a given and operate through it. It is simply the nature of a fast-growing tech company. I now realize that as soon as it becomes stable and calm, it will no longer be a fast-growing company.
Erica Held, Customer Success Team Lead
Erica manages a team of four customer success managers and works with the team to secure renewals and find opportunities for growth within their accounts.
BEYOND WORK: When she’s not killing it in the office, she’s (trying to do the same) on the golf course. She’s a self-proclaimed “frustrated golfer” who loves traveling and exploring the city.
What about your company or your work inspires you?
It’s a very exciting time in the BI market, and we are at the forefront. It’s amazing to see how much we have grown since I joined, and how mature the business has become since then. The pace of innovation is also remarkable, and it’s fun to see how much value our customers get from the product and how excited they are about what’s to come.
The pace of innovation is remarkable, and it’s fun to see how much value our customers get from the product and how excited they are about what’s to come."
You’ve been with the company nearly two years. What attracted you to Sisense?
At the time I joined Sisense, they were on a hiring frenzy, which I took as a good sign. I also found out that the company had great momentum on the Gartner Magic Quadrant (a market-specific research report from Gartner), and had recently committed to move to a larger and cooler office — both great signs of growth. At the end of the day, I love working with all types of companies across various industries and helping them solve all types of problems instead of being forced into a niche.
How has Sisense supported your professional and career growth?
The company has been amazing! About six months after I started at Sisense, my manager and I had a candid discussion about my career goals. Six months later, we started discussing my transition to a team lead, which would be effective about six months after that. Along the way, my manager provided me with constant feedback and guidance that helped prepare me for the role, and she continued to challenge me to become the best leader I could be.