Meet the Prophet Board
Learn about the esteemed behind-the-scenes advisors who play an active role in shaping Prophet’s business.
We are lucky to have a diverse set of leaders at Prophet who bring unparalleled expertise and experience to their roles – advancing our firm’s transformation and grooming rising stars in our community, all while showing up as thought partners and allies to clients and peers. Day in and day out we see them lead by example and help propel Prophet’s growth.
There is also a set of esteemed behind-the-scenes advisors that play an active role in Prophet’s business trajectory, providing nuanced POVs to help us make big strategic decisions.
Introducing… Prophet’s Board of Directors
- Chiaki Nishino
- Chan Suh
- Gian Fulgoni
- Michelle Bottomley
- Michael Dunn
- Niels Nielsen
- Lauren Kelly
- William Dean Donovan
We asked members of the board about their experience working with the firm – and some of their favorite stories from having a seat at the board table.
If I was a fly on the wall during a Prophet board meeting, what would I see and hear?
Niels Nielsen: “It’s very similar to what you see and hear on client teams in the company: Sincere and sometimes heated discussions with a commitment to substantive outcomes. More questions and suggestions than statements. A tonality of no mercy, no malice. Some bantering and teasing. Lots of laughter and good humor.”
Chan Suh: “If I were to take the question literally, I’d say a bunch of people crammed into a room – or sometimes Zoom – and, as the hours go by, you will see people wilt a little bit over time. The table gets messier and there’s usually plenty of sugar and calories. There’s always a seriousness to the questions we are asking, but not about ourselves. There’s good humor, which is remarkable and makes the time together light-hearted and fun. While we spend a lot of time as a core board, we also spend plenty of hours talking and exchanging information with different leaders and peers. Any given board meeting there could be five to seven different teams of people coming in and out and participating in the discussion.”
William Dean Donovan: “I always thought that the best consultants are experts at the art of supportive confrontation. You would find a fair amount of that at one of our board meetings. The Prophet team works hard to put high quality ideas in front of the board and asks us to challenge their thinking to help make the best decision and create understanding among everyone on the team.”
Michelle Bottomley: “You would see a great deal of camaraderie and genuine appreciation for the vision/strategy/work and strong results being delivered by the operating team with appreciation for the respective strengths and perspectives around the table. You would hear a good combination of laughing and light heartedness with robust discussion/debate on key strategic topics. Our board has a healthy blend of outside and insight board directors with diverse perspectives and professional experiences that complements each other and brings strength to the Prophet strategy.”
What is one thing you’ve learned since serving on the Prophet board? What is one thing you’ve taught other members?
Chiaki Nishino: “As a Board member who is also an operating executive at Prophet, managing the day-to-day of our business, it’s been valuable to deliberately put on an external shareholder lens on top of the client and employee lens I always have on. It helps me take a step back to evaluate Prophet from a long-term value creation perspective on a quarterly basis. Our board members come from very different backgrounds, so the questions asked in the board room are just as valuable as the discussions we have.”
Niels Nielsen: “Out of the more than 35 boards, on which I serve/have served, Prophet is one of the few that have excelled in the sense that building a company is much more than growing its business. It makes me proud to be part of a company that is a consistently successful business, but which is successful because it is a company that grows its people; grows through its people, and consistently strives to do right.”
Gian Fulgoni: “I’ve learned that the Prophet team is second to none in addressing the wide range of business issues that Prophet solves for its clients around the world. I’m confident in saying that because I’ve been able to experience first-hand as a board member and also on the client side.”
Michael Dunn: “Management teams can sometimes see the board in an adversarial way, spending more time “packaging” information for board consumption than digging into the real issues the company is facing. But I really view it as a space for enrichment and exploration. That mindset has allowed us to really guide and steward the firm into a much more authentic place. We are so lucky to have such a strong group of collaborators with diverse experiences and expertise. I’ve learned that the more open and transparent around the key questions we are wrestling with, the more we gain from our time together. If we are vulnerable about our challenges and shortcomings, we are able to get into the rigorous discussions that lead to better thinking and increased probability that our solutions will be successful.”
Chan Suh: “I’ve learned the different decision making, and execution. The board alternates: So sometimes the board sets direction and other times the board absorbs the direction that the firm has taken and help to advance it. I’ve been on different boards for like nonprofits, I’ve led my own board for an enterprise before. But as a board member at Prophet, I’ve learned more about how to balance the two. In terms of teaching, I’ve brought an energy around trying and starting new things – and bringing them to either success or failure quickly. That’s always been a part of my DNA and I’ve certainly shared it with the board.”
What excites you the most about Prophet’s transformation and growth trajectory?
Gian Fulgoni: “It’s always exciting to be associated with a successful and fast-growing transformation of a business – I’ve been fortunate to see it happen both inside Prophet itself and on the client side. It’s also exciting to realize that digital transformations today not only mean transforming companies that weren’t digital but also transforming companies that were already digital, but which hadn’t kept up with the pace of change.”
William Dean Donovan: “Prophet is at the intersection of analytics, design, brand and marketing strategy. Those are threads that can create enormous impact if woven together properly. Prophet’s interdisciplinary approach stitches the pieces in a unique way. That creates unique thinking and big impact.”
Michelle Bottomley: “Prophet has built upon our strong foundation in research, insights and branding as a platform for business transformation to deliver practical solutions using modern tools to generate demand, brand engagement and brand delivery by employees. This combination of strong insights-based strategy with the ability to implement programs that drive differentiation and growth is something I wish I tapped into while a CMO myself. Secondly, I am enormously impressed with the talented leadership team — who are world class pioneers in their respective areas – and our leader’s ability to stand up new practices that help clients succeed where they need Prophet to extend the brand most.”
Chan Suh: “Transformation and growth is the ultimate destination of a marketing, brand, organizational, experience consulting. Externally, the world needs this in a way that we have now been able to formulate. I really feel like we’ve hit the nail on the head in terms of relevance and need. Internally, what excites me most is that it’s a big tent. And as long as we keep it a big tent, we will be able to welcome a lot of skill sets that we don’t yet have and we will be able to grow the expertise and stay ahead of the competition.”
What Prophet value resonates with you the most?
Chiaki Nishino: “Enduring Bonds – we constantly discuss at the board how we partner not only with our clients but with each other as team members in a way that’s so unique and authentic. And not only as my time on the board but as my time here at Prophet, I have appreciated every moment of that part of our culture. I strongly believe that our success comes from not only the capabilities we bring to bear for our clients, but the way in which our people team and relate with each other.”
Chan Suh: “Many Voices, One Team” is a value that we exercise demonstrate and live every day. It makes itself visible in both how we work and then also how we operate the business. We are constantly trying to create one team. It’s funny to say, because in many ways, those two things are a little bit opposite each other. We have enough tolerance in our culture, and we all believe something in common. We may work in different areas, have different skillsets or expertise, but we believe in something central that is greater than the sum of its little subgroups. And I know that we’re bringing a lot more voices, not just many but different voices. And it’s tough to create “one team” is diverse, but we have to keep working on it because we know instinctively, that’s what we have to do. So that’s why I like it.
Michael Dunn: “It’s an arm wrestle between “Fearlessly Human” & “Many Voices, One Team.” Our “Fearlessly Human” value helps us focus on the humanity of our lived experiences day to day. By encouraging Propheteers to show up in their truest form, it creates a series of positive ripple effects. It challenges us to stretch a little bit more, to take risks and step outside our comfort zone…and as a result we stay curious and gain humility. I also am quite fond of “Many Voices, One Team” because it pushes us into mindset that we are always better together. It inspires us to be open to new ways working, problem solving and designing solutions and it taps into a “collective genius” that is only achieved when many perspectives are pulled in. It also keeps us motivated as a firm – promising that there are always new things for us to try to understand to enrich our own experiences.
To learn more or be connected with one of Prophet’s leaders, reach out today.
We are grateful for the tremendous support from this all-star group of leaders – individuals who have led powerful careers and are committed to paying it forward. As our firm continues to grow, we thank the Board of Directors for pushing the direction of our firm and advising us throughout our transformation.