This CEO is a Force for Good
Meet Ian Jackson, CEO of Enshored, a global company based here in Long Beach. He describes his company as part tribe and an unconventional one for sure. He welcomes diversity and embraces complexity and that is how he and the team create belonging.
Imagine joining a company where everyone is heard. Employees are encouraged to be part of something bigger than themselves.
In the space of five years, Ian’s company went from being an idea over beer with a friend to being one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. They have an international footprint and a unique culture of empowerment.
They are a leading outsourcer for start-ups. Ian will say that he is here for the innovators and the scalers of business. His clients are disruptive start-ups who need the people, the framework, the mindset, and track record to power their growth.
Sherry: Tell me about your start-up journey.
Ian: I started our company about eight years ago with a good friend and we both had a love of business and wanting to start something on our own. We also had great experiences in the Philippines from our past life in the financial services world. Unfortunately, my partner suddenly died two years after we started and it put us all in a state of shock. I met with our team of 60 at the time and said, we were going to be fine and our resilience was tested.
Having had a depth of work experience in start-ups and global workforces, I appreciated the challenges of finding and developing people. When hiring, I was always looking for people that were different, versatile and hungry for growth.
This allowed me to have an open mindset and widen the talent pool. My selection criteria did not have to be so rigid. I was always on the lookout for unique characteristics, grit and personal drive. Early on when I worked for financial services companies in our Edinburgh, London and New York offices, there were competitive challenges in finding talent so we aimed for non-financial people and sought out those with high IQ and values that matched ours which we felt would be most successful long term.
People with less direct experiences were very trainable. In the Philippines there is more of a mono-cultural environment and people are motivated for different reasons. We took the time to understand them and their values around family. Being in tune with that and caring about the individual is what differentiates us.
Sherry: How do you get to know your people?
Ian: My team and I take the time to really listen to what a person needs and wants and how they define satisfaction. I want to engage them and recognize them so they stay with us and see growth opportunities. I was always open to looking at motivated individuals who can be developed over time. We care about our people and the best we can do in our workforce is creating the right conditions internally so that they will be able to move up and be promoted. We have 1,000 employees now and we are in a ramp up at this time and within five years hope to be at 5,000 employees with new locations around the globe.
Sherry: What do your clients most ask you to do?
Ian: We offer customer experience expertise and the Philippines team supports our airline industry clients. The main source for new clients is through referrals. We have had major clients join us this year and all through personal referrals.
Sherry: What sets you apart from other outsourcers?
Ian: We build our services so that they are flexible for our clients. The contracts do not need to be long term – especially if it is a start-up company. There are things they don’t know yet. We are fully 24/7 and we are particularly fast in building start-up teams. We have worked out the way to do this. One of our manager roles is in maintaining the business and I have other managers in the start-up teams.
There are two types of clients, start-up clients who are the majority of those we serve and others that have brand recognition yet need support and also some very large companies. Our business processing contracts are designed for companies from small to large.
We are very aware of what it takes to succeed with diverse client needs. Relationships with them are critical. I do appreciate that we are in a culture here in the US that is a “yes you can” environment. We are fortunate to have the entrepreneurial and small business environment that we enjoy supporting.
Sherry: How did you begin to create your company “empowerment framework?”
Ian: For many of our clients, Enshored is the first time that they have outsourced their work. We know this is a big responsibility. That is why we put so much emphasis on the people we hire.
My COO and I share a people perspective so we created the Enshored Empowerment Framework which outlines our vison, values and mission which is used to empower growth. It starts with the individual and then onto the bigger ecosystem which is the team, the company and our clients. Each of these groups are important and are invested in. We are committed to our people and embrace a personal touch to get to know everyone and celebrate birthdays and family accomplishments. I have already paid out bonuses during COVID with a focus on doing the right thing and also holding them accountable. Our employee’s lives were made harder by COVID. We recognize that and responded. For example, we have supported getting laptops to families with discounts.
Our retention is strong and even though there is attrition, we can see the challenge in our 24/7 work world and also understand the power of recognition when we all succeed.
Sherry: What drives you personally?
Ian: At the end of the day, I also have needs that all our employees have – I want to prove to myself that I can be a successful entrepreneur. At this point, I am really interested in growth. We are going through another stage of our evolution. We are focused more on process, decision making and client processes and technology. We are building a team that will someday run a 5,000 employee company. Now is the time to plan for the tools and operating guidelines to get us there. We trust our team and know that there will be more global expansion and this is a new challenge. For me, I love the challenge and the plan to expand. I also hired a new Chief Operations Officer last year who was already in the Philippines and understands our values around client services.
Sherry: What does it mean to be a force for good?
Ian: For me, the conversation is about “are we doing the right thing?” It is not necessary to wait a long time to work at making a difference. We are trying to balance out doing the right work and giving. We are starting a new charity which will focus on providing the skills and training for new talent. People who work in our company would like to have a longer view for their growth and career here. It makes me feel good that we can invest in them and their view of themselves as they grow. I listen to what our people need. I listen and respond to what they value, like wellbeing. So, we have mental health services available for those that need it.
More about Ian –
Ian is the CEO and Co-Founder of Enshored. Before he co-founded Enshored in 2014, Ian was a successful FinTech executive. From 1994-2005 he helped drive digitization and the move to real-time financial information used by investment professionals. In 2007-12, following his MBA, Ian was part of the leadership team in Fitch Ratings and then Dealogic’s Fixed Income division, working closely with some of the world’s top investment bankers. Following his move to California in 2012, Ian rediscovered his passion for working in and for disruptive start-ups. At Enshored he leads strategy and sales. He continues to be led by a belief that given the right opportunities, people with energy and drive can achieve much more than they can imagine.
Learn more about Enshored: Take Off With Enshored - Powering Growth | Proven Results