Accelerating our Business through Change

Blog Post created by lblakemore on Jul 16, 2019

At Blackboard, we’ve been on a journey over the past few years to realign our business to be the best partner we can be for the education community.  As a company, we’ve learned how to take advantage of every change that comes our way as an opportunity to accelerate our progress toward achieving our goals and driving the next wave of innovation in EdTech. To that end, we’ve made some organizational changes resulting from some recent leadership departures.


Over the past several weeks, a few senior leaders at Blackboard have announced their decision to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.  The decision to leave was uniquely personal to each of these individuals and their timing is simply circumstantial. They’ve each made significant contributions to the organization, and we wish them well in their new endeavors.


The ability for our senior leaders to find opportunities outside of Blackboard to take the next step in their careers is a testament to the strong leadership culture that Blackboard cultivates within its ranks. We’re proud that some of our leaders spread their wings and move on to run companies and organizations within the tech community.


Within Blackboard, we’ve purposely fostered an environment that provides leadership development opportunities. And we’re proud that we have provided opportunities to many of our leaders to step in to positions of greater authority and responsibility.


In 2018, we made significant progress as a company and we’re confident of our continued momentum and trajectory as a company with strong leaders guiding our organization. Over the past year we’ve seen strong momentum on moving our Learn clients to SaaS and our next-generation Ultra LMS and exploding growth of our Ally accessibility tool and mobile app downloads. We are financially sound, hitting our financial target in 2018. And mid-way through 2019, we’re excited by the path we’re on. We’re looking forward to sharing details of our progress at BbWorld next week in Austin.


Organizational and Leadership Changes


With the announcement of these recent departures, we are seizing the opportunity to continue to refine our operations by making changes that we believe will enhance our teams and continue to drive our business forward.


I know many of you either through my role as Chief Client Officer (CCO) or through my previous roles leading Blackboard’s K-12 and International businesses. And I’m excited to now also be taking on the Global Markets organization. Combining my CCO responsibilities with the Global Markets organization makes perfect sense, bringing together teams and functions that are focused on keeping their finger on the pulse of our clients’ needs.


Most of my career I have been leading client-facing organizations, and I’m thrilled to get back to my roots by leading Blackboard’s Global Markets team.


Also as part of our organizational changes, Kathy Vieira – a nearly 16-year veteran of Blackboard who has served in a number of roles including VP of Portfolio Strategy and Management, VP of Partner Enablement and VP of Partnerships in the Consulting organization – will take on the added responsibility of Product Strategy and Business Development. Kathy’s new role will be Chief Strategy, Portfolio and Marketing Officer.


This change will bring together strategy, business development, product line management and marketing under the same umbrella organization. This provides an opportunity to create a truly integrated team that’s laser focused on demonstrating and delivering increased value to our clients, partners and industry, which is imperative to our success.


Finally, as we move closer toward a pure SaaS business model, we are aligning our Cloud Hosting and Support functions with the Product Development organization, to support the close collaboration required across these teams. These functions will now report to Chief Product Officer Tim Tomlinson, who is excited to work with these teams to continue our progress toward highly collaborative and fully integrated product delivery and client support operations in pursuit of our client satisfaction and retention objectives.


We fully expect a seamless transition to our new organizational and leadership structure under the helm of myself, Kathy and Tim.