Evolving titles & reporting structures

Not all shifts need to be monumental. After all, a one-degree change in direction can change your destination.

Andrei Papancea

  • Thoughts by Andrei

As a startup grows, it’s important to identify key periods where it’s important to evolve. For us, it is the perfect time to make a shift: we just turned four, we’re hiring new team members left and right, we updated our business model, and we’re attracting more and more clients. All awesome growth, you’re right. 

So, what’s the shift? 

The shift is simple - we are expanding several Executive team titles to more accurately capture the scope of work the individuals do, reflect a natural evolution in the Executive reporting structure as the company grows, and fill in impression gaps on sales, partner, and investor calls. 

Groundbreaking, I know. But not all shifts need to be monumental. After all, a one-degree change in direction can change your destination. 

While making changes to titles and reporting structures is nothing new or revolutionary in the startup or venture-backed corporate world, what makes our shifts interesting is our placement in the larger ecosystem of an emerging industry – Conversational AI – and at this moment in the company. The rules of the road are largely unwritten, and we want to remain competitive and aligned from every angle - perception, efficiency, talent, etc. Time will tell if this shift is effective at this stage. 

Furthermore, I want what’s best for my team - both now and in the future. Conversational AI is a new and emerging industry - there are no right or wrong answers to what a person’s title can be because very little has been established. With that in mind, I want their titles to reflect all the amazing work they do, I want them to have titles that best align with their responsibilities, and I want their titles to create great first impressions with clients, peers, in the job market, and so on.

My title will broaden from CEO to include Chief Product Officer. As CEO I touch every aspect of the company, but in making this change, we really wanted to emphasize the lead role I play in products, especially with clients and partners.

The current Director of Product, Fadi Baaklini, and the Product team will report directly to me. This move will streamline and create efficiencies within the team, in addition to adding clarity about my attendance on client calls. 

Brian Dawson – who joined us as Head of Business Development in June 2021 - was tasked with building Sales, Partnerships, and Customer Success functions as part of our revenue focus in the Executive team. Under his leadership, customer signings have increased, our strategic partners are being more active, and the delivery team has gained in strength and stature as they onboard an increasing number of new customers. I’ve invited Brian to cement and expand his executive role. He will change his title to Chief Strategy & Growth Officer. This shift ensures he keeps a focus on strategic elements of revenue and company growth while having a title that makes the most sense for major clients, strategic partners, and investors. 

Doug Bryers will remain Chief Operating Officer and continue to oversee Operations and Marketing / Communications; Vlad will remain Chief Technology Officer. You can meet the rest of our team here, or speak to them yourself here.

Andrei Papancea

Andrei is our CEO and swiss-army knife for all things natural language-related.

He built the Natural Language Understanding platform for American Express, processing millions of conversations across AmEx’s main servicing channels.

As Director of Engineering, he deployed AWS across the business units of Argo Group, a publicly traded US company, and successfully passed the implementation through a technical audit (30+ AWS accounts managed).

He teaches graduate lectures on Cloud Computing and Big Data at Columbia University.

He holds a M.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University.