In this edition of “State of Readiness”, I interview Céline Felan, Vice President of Business Transformation at Community Brands, a software company that provides a suite of offerings for membership-based organizations, private schools and churches.
Being born in Paris, France and raised in the Netherlands, Céline now calls Austin, Texas home – where she quickly learned and understood the phrase “grabbing the bull by the horns”. In her role, she has help guide the company through 28 acquisitions over the past two (2) years. Yes, you read that right (I even asked her to repeat that during the podcast because it seemed like quite a bit – and it is). As such, Céline’s days are non-standard and she never really knows for certain how each day (or each acquisition) will play out. This proved to be a considerable challenge for Céline, who is a self-professed “Type-A Perfectionist”. She had to learn and understand that “80 is the new 100”. Over time, Community Brands has created an “acquisition checklist”, but it is imperfect so it’s more of a guideline than a checklist.
Most of the acquisitions are of small(ish) companies. As such, the corporate culture is that of their founders. Community brands strives to maintain the individualism of the company from a cultural perspective – keeping in mind to preserve what might keep the employees happy such as having taco-Tuesdays or allowing pets to come to the office, but making sure that the companies learn the “team colors” and fight under the corporate flag. The acquired companies are also expected to remain where they are geographically with consolidations being mostly in the General and Administrative functions where services can be shared.