SaaS Founder Interview with Shannon Walker, Founder & President of Whistleblower Security

Tony Zayas 0:00
Hey everybody, it’s Tony Zayas here at the SaaS founder show. Thank you for tuning in. I’m excited about today’s guests. We have Shannon Walker, she’s founder and president of Whistleblower Security, they are global provider of ethics reporting services, including a 24/7 365 global ethics hotline, and case management platform. So Whistleblower Security provides organizations with an efficient and trustworthy X ethics reporting process. So with that, Shannon, welcome. Thank you for joining us. How are you doing today?

Shannon Walker 0:42
I’m good, Tony. Thanks for having me.

Tony Zayas 0:44
Awesome. Yeah, appreciate you being here. I obviously read the brief description. But tell us about the business tell us all about Whistleblower Security.

Shannon Walker 0:54
So it’s no it’s a bit of a handful to describe the company. And people often say, what do you do and I say I’m in the ethics business know what it’s, you know, it’s a bit of a niche business. Certainly, when we started it quite a while ago, it was really new. And something that most companies hadn’t considered. Back in the day, I was working with a publicly traded company, and Sarbanes Oxley regulations came into play. And basically, they said, if you’re publicly traded, you have to have a process to receive anonymous and confidential reports, mostly to do with financial and accounting controls and that type of thing. And so at the time, you know, we had a call center, we had a really great IT department that built out our database to manage the types of insurance claims that we were working on at the time. And, and in chatting with our auditors, they said, you know, this is sort of interesting. And, you know, maybe this is something that you should consider. And so I spent about six months researching the whole landscape, about in taking call to do with fraud and, and internal controls, and built out this very cursory elementary scope of work, and hired an outside partner to build what I would say was a very perfunctory and basic intake form. And that was kind of the evolution of the business. And not only did I build the scope of work, I sold the product I onboard the new clients, I provided the customer support and and use this outsource IT department initially to function as a you know, as a fully baked whistleblowing system. And at the time, our contact center was only open from six in the morning till four in the afternoon. So obviously, it couldn’t be a full global supplier. And so it was just one of those things that oganically grew. And we slowly brought the IT functions all within house. And we started to build out the next evolution of the platform. Our platform today is called integrity count. It’s in 28 languages. It is configurable, customizable. It allows for the whistleblower to dialogue with the organization after the fact after the original submission of a report. And currently, we have hundreds of hotlines, maybe even over a thousand now set up in over 80 countries that are sometimes shared sometimes custom for our clients. And I guess maybe I should take a step back. So the system kind of works, a client comes to us and it can be a publicly traded company, it could be a private company, it could be a governmental organization, an NGO, it’s really interesting, because this solution, which started out just to deal with publicly traded company requirements, has now grown to serve as small companies with less than 30 employees to multinationals with over a million employees. So it’s every it’s really run the gamut. And when we originally started, it was in English and French. And now we live answer in English, French and Spanish plus, we have an spontaneous interpretation partner that services up to another 150 languages. So it truly is a global product for just about anybody who wants it. And I think one of the interesting things too, is that back in the day, it was looked at as you know, it’s just another cost to running the business and now our clients are seeing the benefits, the seen the cost, recoveries that they’re getting, they’re seeing the toxic employees that they can coach out. It’s a it’s a really, really valuable tool in the overall kind of management of your business.

Tony Zayas 4:45
It’s a great overview. apologize if I missed it, but where did the initial idea for this like, where did you do? Where did you determine that this was a this was a needed solution?

Shannon Walker 4:58
Well, it was really it was because of the Sarbanes Oxley requirements. I mean, companies were looking for a solution that was kind of a turnkey solution. At the beginning, I think a lot of companies would just publish their lawyers phone number and and then have their whistleblower policy that went up to their employees and said, if you have something to report, call the call the lawyer or call the chair of the audit committee. In Canada, where we’re based, the regulatory body sort of just copied the Sarbanes Oxley regulations so that all the Canadian publicly traded companies had to have that same kind of process in place. And so that’s really how the opportunity came to me. It was based on a regulatory requirement, and we built a solution to meet that requirement.

Tony Zayas 5:43
Gotcha. Yeah, no, that that makes a lot of sense. So when did you you know, when Sarbanes Oxley came out? Did you realize that was an opportunity to like there was going to be that need for, you know, following, like, compliance? And following all of that? Is that where, you know, I’m just curious, like, was there a spark of a moment where you thought like, the here’s an opportunity for us to address something that’s missing out there?

Shannon Walker 6:09
Yeah, no, absolutely. It was. It was that was the moment to say that, you know, this is a new, it’s a new business metric. That is going to be something that I think people want to have certainly seen, you know, back in the day, when there was M. Enron and Tyco and all of the scandals. I certainly didn’t think at the time, that every year they’re up another scandal and another scandal and I think there’s it’s just it’s kind of mind blowing, when you just see the ramifications through, you know, all of the business world with these, you know, unfortunate events that happen. And if you have a whistleblowing process in place, there’s a lot of studies that show you will identify fraud earlier, you will reduce your, your losses, and you’ll improve employee morale. I always have a great story about one company that came to us, and they were having an issue in the workplace. And there was someone that was propagating a lot of rumors and falsehoods about their biggest client. And they came to us. And they said, We need to put a whistleblower system in place, and we need to have it in place by the end of the weekend. So this was, I think, on a Thursday evening. And we work to get the whole system set up over the weekend. And I went in on a Monday morning with their CEO. And they had a town hall meeting with giant video screens in their head office here in Vancouver, but they had all their teams from across the US and Canada on the video screens. They had a forensic computer guy, and they had employment lawyers, and we had this town hall and we said, we’ve put this whistleblower system in place, we’re going to be checking computers, we want you to speak up if you know who’s doing this, because it’s it’s hurting, it’s devastating to the business into this one client. And within 48 hours, we had a number of calls and the person who was the problem was identified. But the most interesting thing about it was we made a few calls where people said thank you for putting the system in place, because we know that you care. And they didn’t have a method to speak up, they weren’t comfortable speaking up to the direct supervisors, they weren’t comfortable going to HR, they needed that anonymous safe channel. And so to me, that was always a really important point in our evolution where you know that it is providing an essential service to employees who feel that they have no other method of getting to management.

Tony Zayas 8:37
super interesting. I know you, you mentioned a little bit about how you kind of scoped everything out early on. So what did the what did the initial product was? And MVP, what did that look like?

Shannon Walker 8:51
You know, it’s I did a lot of research on other types of intake forms and other types of methods of doing investigations. And then I was very lucky. And I worked with a former chief of police here in Vancouver, and he was retired. And he and I work together to scope out a questionnaire that was substantive enough to get the types of information that you need to conduct an investigation, but also succinct enough that you didn’t scare off the person who wanted to come forward. So he was instrumental in that first word form. He also brought in some ex RCMP officers to help train our contact center investigative and empathetic techniques. And that’s, that’s really served as a foundation of our training going forward. Because I think one of our mandates and one of our value propositions is really that when someone finally reaches out to us into our agents who are taking the calls, they they’re often nervous and they’re often upset. And so our first job is to provide a really calm, comforting warm and welcoming sense of event interaction. And so with our contact center specialists, we don’t, we don’t put time limits on the phone calls that they take, we don’t say you have to get this call done in 10 minutes, that’s not a metric that we measure, we say you need to get the best information possible. But you also need to provide support to that individual. And so we sort of, I guess, we have two taskmasters in one sense, because we’re there for the client, which is the organization paying us for this service. And we’re there to get the information that they need to conduct an investigation. But as importantly, we’re there to provide a safe place for the individual to speak up. And so there’s a, you know, a balancing act, one, to try and get the information that our client needs, but to to make sure that that person feels that they’re being heard. And so that’s a really important ethos that we carry throughout the organization. And it’s also dictated how we’ve designed the platform. Going forward, we want it clean, we want it modern, we don’t want it to look like a mortgage application, you want it to be a very friendly, inviting type of report. So if you decide that you’re going to call, you’ve got a great person on the other line who listen to you. And if you decide you’re going to go directly online to the integrity accounts platform, you’ve got a really intuitive, easy platform to use to file your report.

Tony Zayas 11:25
Now, you mentioned the ethos of the organization. You know, we always get into culture in these conversations talking to your case, I’m really curious, because I’m sure that matters a lot, just due to the nature of what you’re doing. So what is the culture look like there? And, you know, how intentional was building that? And how do you drive before?

Shannon Walker 11:51
Well, I think, you know, what, I come from the background of a family business. You know, I’ve worked with my father and my brother for most of most of my adult career. And with whistleblower, that same type of family values has been, I think, you know, foundational to the team that we’ve built. We’re women business owners certified. And we are a B Corp as well, which is a very onerous certification to go through. But it really speaks to our commitment as an organization to our people, and the planet, and being the company of impact. And so I think that all kind of comes together and in the team that we’ve built our, our, our, our VP of Operations, has worked with me for 17 years and various other organizations in this one. And so I think that the one thing that really is lovely about our organization is I think everyone comes together, and we really feel that we’re, we’re providing an essential service, and we’re helping, we always we have our tagline, we’re making good companies better. And so we’re not selling widgets. Now, widgets are really important. And you know, and that some bolts are really important to the cars and what have you. But I think what we’re doing is really helping other organizations elevate their culture and improve their ethics and prove their compliance and prove their employee engagement. And so there is a higher purpose in what we do, I think.

Tony Zayas 13:26
What is your hiring process look like? Like, along those lines of culture? How do you find people that are a match and a fit?

Shannon Walker 13:35
Oh, I think that’s a really good question. I think a lot of the recent hires that we’ve had have been referrals. So we often have family members, we have friends, we have colleagues from other organizations who like what we do. So certainly, one of the things we do when we’re screening new applicants is really we have to assess the cultural fit, because we’re a small team. But we’re also a team that you need to know that you’re going to wear multiple hats, that when when there’s an issue, you may be asked to do something that may be outside of your job description, and we just expect everybody to kind of pull on the same work. And, and it’s really worked well for us. So I think that the collaboration and respect, and is really something that is brought up early on in the job interview process. And if you feel that you can’t kind of you know, go with the flow a little bit, and then this probably isn’t the right place for you.

Tony Zayas 14:41
Yeah. You mentioned that the VP of operations has been with you for 17 years, which is awesome. What is the what of the team look like, you know, early on starting out and how did it evolve? How big is it today?

Shannon Walker 14:56
Well, it’s it’s kind of interesting. because we were we built this on the back of my family’s organization. So we had a lot of shared services. And we had a core sales team that was the whistleblower team. And then we would share IT services and it had been and what have you. And as things evolved, we now have our own distinct team. And it’s just the whistleblower team, there’s probably about 25 of us that are in the head office. And then we have about 35 agents who are outsourced in a contact center that are specific to whistleblower. And again, those have to be the agents that are identified as soft skill agents, and are very, very experienced with soft soft skills, like it’s a natural, intuitive, sort of feature of their personality. Another interesting story about that one of our current account executives was a call taker, initially, she was an intake specialist. And she was one of those individuals who really, really appreciated the, you know, the courage of the people who call in to talk about whatever the issues are. And she was a great intake specialist. And then she ended up training the whistle blower agent, and then she came over and worked with us in another job, and then eventually, she became a sales rep. When one of our team went on mat leave, and she was so great at it, she’s stayed on in that role. So it’s a really great story. And I think from her perspective, when she’s selling our service, she can really speak from the perspective of what it’s like to be a whistleblower, because she took hundreds and 1000s of calls. With these people who are reporting on, you know, a variety of issues. It could be fraud, it could be sexual harassment, it could be discrimination. So again, it’s fraught with emotion and angst. And and a lot of the times when people call us they’re scared of retaliation, they’re scared of losing their job, or being socially ostracized at work. So it’s a very, you know, it’s a very sensitive, tenuous situation when people call us. But again, it’s really, I think, lovely. And I think it speaks again, to our culture, that we have people who were the intake specialists, who are now dealing frontline with our clients.

Tony Zayas 17:16
So is that common for people to move from that, you know, role into, you know, and other other parts of the business? Because I would think it would give them a great insight and perspective that, you know, could be valuable elsewhere?

Shannon Walker 17:32
Yeah, well, well, it’s, you know, we’re still we’re very, very small accents. So there’s not a lot of room for opportunities, but where there are new postings, we always go internally first, so that if someone wants to try something new, if someone feels that they, there’s a career path that they want to explore, then we’ll support them in that. I think it’s really important when you’re an organization of, of this size, that you provide those opportunities for people.

Tony Zayas 17:59
So I want to get it to the platform in a moment, but just on that point of people on the hotline, what type of training do they have to go through? Because you said, you know, as you mentioned, this is sensitive, people have to be very empathetic, I’m sure. And understanding what does that look like? What is the training for that?

Shannon Walker 18:19
So well, the training is it’s fairly extensive, because first of all, you go through your basic training as a content specialist, and a, you know, contact center specialist. So you’ve got to know how to answer the phones, how to handle the software, because again, there’s two steps of software that they have to, to utilize one with working notes. One was our integrity counts platform. And then it’s really about anybody who’s going to take calls for whistleblower is a seasoned intake specialist. So they’ll be working on general accounts. And then when they’re identified as again, someone who has great empathetic skills are soft skills, than they are trained on the whistleblower side. And the whistleblower side is more about, again, the empathy and denotations of trying to get the pertinent information. So, you know, again, we take calls from all over the world, so you have to be able to assess when someone says my manager stealing, you know, who’s your manager, you need the first name, you need the last name, you need the department, you need that, you know, the the area of operations. So there’s all these, you know, very, very important little pieces of information, and then the nuggets of information that our intake specialist needs to get out of this person when they’re calling. And then also at the same time, they’re very upset. So they tend to, you know, they, they’re talking faster, they’re rambling a little bit, you’ve got to get them focused on what the event is about and, and then get the details. So there’s a lot of nuances to the training, I suppose. And then also, again, you know how to lead third party calls or when we have someone calling in their native language, you need to also work with the interpreter and try and ensure that you’re getting the right information through the interpretation. So a lot of challenges in what we do. But again, we have a great team and, and a great training program, as well through our success team.

Tony Zayas 20:13
Sounds like it. So you have to shift gears a little bit to talk about the platform. What are the development look like? Are you technical by nature? So did you early on bring in, you know, a CTO or someone, what are the what are the technical aspects look like?

Shannon Walker 20:33
So the so the very first platform that we built, we outsourced and it was in cold fusion, and it was very clunky and not very pretty. And, you know, it, it, it served its purpose at the time. And when we brought it in house, we had a highly skilled team. Over the years, of course, you know, team members have laughed, and, and we’ve built it out in a SQL database. And right now, we’re just going through our ISO certification. So now we have a new CTO over the last couple of years, who’s leading us through the certification. And we just launched what we call V3, which is a much more configurable, user friendly version. So it’s, it’s constantly evolving. We have a product manager, now who has a roadmap for the next 18 months. And it’s really interesting, because it’s quite client driven in the features and the enhancements that we’re building. And so we just actually did a little bit of a pivot last fall, we thought we were going down a certain path. And then we have, we had a couple of our clients become our product advisory councils, that we have people who are using the system a lot to manage their cases. And through their feedback, we, we’ve slightly adjusted our roadmap for 2022 to meet their needs. And so sometimes we think we know best, but you really need to listen to the clients who are using it on a daily basis. And so we’re building it to their specifications. So it’s been, it’s been quite a journey, I would say, and certainly, I am not technical at all. And, you know, you have to trust your team. And, you know, when you talk about some of the hiccups in the past, you know, we’ve, we’ve had some hiccups, where we had it in a vision from that our former IT team that maybe we built out a lot of, of work that we had to scrap. So, you know, that was, to me, quite devastating. And, but it was a really important lesson, and trying to really understand the the needs going forward. You know, technology’s always, always changing. And you’ve always got to, I think, now I know, this is ensure that you’re never I don’t I don’t know what the right term is, but hard coded so that you don’t have that kind of flexibility to grow into change and to, to meet your customers future needs.

Tony Zayas 22:57
Yeah, makes a lot of sense. I would just ask going back to that user feedback that you’re getting, you know, roadmap and you know, planning everything out? And what is coming features and all that type of stuff? How do you go about collecting the user feedback and then prioritizing it? And what does that decision making process look like?

Shannon Walker 23:20
Oh, that’s a really good question. So basically, our product manager engages with these client, product advisory councils. And so we might have five or six people in a session for a couple of hours going through what our product roadmap looks like, and asking them, you know, again, would they use this type of enhancement? What do they think of the current status of the system, and then they come together. And it’s interesting, because what Hilary our product manager does is bring in individuals from different industries. And so you can see how there’s different user studies or user case studies. And what we do after we collect all the information from them. We have, I guess, really, it’s like a backlog meeting. And we start to look through the list of all the enhancements we want to do. And then there’s time allotted to those lists. And there’s also we’ve tend to look at the enhancements in a universal kind of feature world so that if we’re going to build something that we want to make sure that it’s highly usable for the majority of our clients. The other thing that we do is our customer success team is really engaged. I think it’s one of again, one of our value propositions is that we’re very proactive about reaching out to our clients to ensure that the system is working in the way that they thought it would, or it’s working for them and they’re getting the information that they want. All of that information not only dictates the product roadmap and how we’re going to evaluate the features and enhancements that we add, but it also dictates how we’re doing do more training for our intake specialists. So that if there’s, they feel that there’s details that we’re not getting, or that there’s spelling errors or anything, as basic as spelling areas, it’s really important feedback for us to get to go back to the intake specialists, to say, you know, what we need to refine how we’re getting this information or improve how we’re delivering it to our clients. So I think it’s, it is a constant part of the business is the this evolution of feedback, and then incorporating it into the platform, and then incorporating it into our training, and just incorporating it into our whole service delivery model.

Tony Zayas 25:40
That’s great. I would love to hear just your perspective as a non technical founder. Some of the challenges that you might have faced along the ways, you know, building this business out, whether it’s communication or in any advice you have, because we often have this conversation, as a lot of founders or co founders that are in that non technical role. And of course, you can grow and learn. But early on, what were some of the, you know, challenges that you faced, and how did you get past them?

Shannon Walker 26:12
Well, I think some of the, you know, it is a tough one, I think it would be would have been much easier if I if I had a tech, not technology background. But I think one of the things I always I do now is I invite feedback from multiple people. And I think, I think you have to ask a lot of questions. But I also think you need to take in to consideration all the feedback that you get from your IT team, from your product team, from your success team, from your finance team, it started to me, all of our decision making now is very collaborative. And I don’t feel that I would make a decision on the product without multiple inputs. I just think it’s so important, because it’s again, you know, when you don’t, I have no idea how to do code I have, you know, it’s, it’s a great to me, so you really have to rely on your team. And you have to rely on again, I think multiple sets of inputs, it can’t just be the CTO, it’s got a it’s got to be collaborative, so that it meets the needs of, of all the constituents, organization.

Tony Zayas 27:28
Speak into collaboration, how does your how does the organization collaborate, communicate? Are you guys in an office is that?

Shannon Walker 27:37
You know, COVID changed everything. So that’s, I think it’s been challenging from that sense. I mean, the one blessing of COVID, I think, for us is that we realized we can all work from home. So that’s, that was great. I think what we miss is we miss those random conversations, where you wander into someone’s office, because you have a problem, our client has challenge, and you can kind of brainstorm and solve it there. You know, it’s the one. I think the one frustration I have with COVID is that everything’s scheduled conversations are scheduled. meetings are scheduled, it’s on Zoom. And I think zoom can be kind of exhausting. So we’re still in a situation where I’m in the office right now. And I think maybe our contact, our content marketing manager might be here today. But it’s, it’s very rare that we’re all in a room together. And we went into downtown Vancouver a few weeks ago to have a meeting with a partner. And there were six of us in a boardroom. And it was so exciting. And it was so amazing. And just to have this collaborative conversation about possibilities, it was really, really encouraging. And I’m looking forward to getting back to that. But in the meantime, you know, we try and schedule a zoom lunch once a month, and everyone orders in and they can get wine or whatever, and, and we just chat. And so it’s an opportunity to chat about life and chat about what we’re doing to try and, you know, keep those connections going. It’s especially interesting, since you know, it’s been two years since COVID hit. And I think we have I’m not sure to be honest, but five or six new team members. And so you know, there’s still one I have never met. And it’s just it’s sort of, you know, it’s just a different situation. But I think looking for opportunities to collaborate, are really important. And right now we’re trying to organize a volunteer day to come clean up the beach, and just to do something together, I think is really important. But certainly, we do try and do multiple team meetings so that you know, individual teams can meet and then we try and do our large group meetings. Just it’s I think it’s a challenge. It’s just a constant. A constant journey to look for new ways to go collaborate in this, this hybrid environment.

Tony Zayas 30:02
Yeah, for sure. I would love to hear a little bit about, you know, over the course of, you know, from from you coming up with idea launching this business to today, how is your role, as you know, how’s your role in the business changed and evolved, that founder role is typically, you know, over the lifecycle tends to change quite a bit. So I’d love to hear how it’s changed and what your focus is today?

Shannon Walker 30:32
Well, you know, my focus now is really on identifying strategies for for growth and for growth and for strategic partnerships. And, and really to, you know, it just to nurture the team, so that we can continue to grow and have exponential growth, where we always say, We’re the, you know, we’re like, we’re the little train that could, we’re not the rocket ship, we just keep chugging along, and we keep growing. And so it’s a really good path, it’s a safe path. And we haven’t taken on any VC money, or B money or anything like that. So we’re just growing organically, and it’s working. And I would say, my job has changed a lot. Because, again, I’ve I’ve done everything in this organization, except for code, or design the website. So basically, to have a team now that has their roles, and then focuses on what they need to do is really exciting. But, you know, being the founder, and it’s, you know, every single piece of the business while you’re going through the journey, for sure.

Tony Zayas 31:46
Yeah. So you mentioned growth just a moment ago, what, what has been some of the, you know, growth channels that have worked really well for you guys? And where are you focus now, from a growth a marketing standpoint?

Shannon Walker 32:02
Well, I think we were very lucky at the beginning. Vancouver has a very strong junior mining market. And those were our initial clients, and we still have some of those clients. And I think, you know, we really used our networks and referrals. And that is slowly how it all came together. Now we have a number of strategic partnerships with various compliance organizations globally, that need hotlines and a case management platform. So those have been great to open up doors for us into much larger enterprise level clients. And I think that some of some of our growth is really trying to nurture our diversity and supplier diversity networks. And so because we’re women business owned, that is something that we are quite focused on in that utilizing that network. And then again, because of the regulatory environment in the EU, specifically right now, they’re just changing their regulations so that if you’re a company, over 250 employees, you have to have a whistleblowing process in place. And by 2023, if you’re a company with over 50 employees, you’re gonna have to have a whistleblowing system in place. So as the regulatory environment becomes more and more stringent about whistleblowing, that opens up more opportunities for us as well. And then I think, in our space, there’s been so much amalgamation and acquisition, that it is opening up more opportunities for us as well, because all of the little players that were our size have been bought up and they’re being amalgamated into much larger organizations. And so clients who are looking for more proactive customer service and more configuration and flexibility in the in their systems are coming to us because we’re one of the few alternatives left that hadn’t been bought out.

Tony Zayas 34:07
That’s interesting. So what has that competitive landscape? What does it look like?

Shannon Walker 34:12
Well, when back in the day, there was probably, you know, there would have been, again, we’re still in a very niche market, but in North America, there was probably 15 or 20 players in our space. And now there’s, there’s basically, I mean, there’s US and Canada, and another little player and then nav X global is our is the, you know, the largest organization in our space and, and they bought up, you know, the three main players in the US plus about four other smaller players. So it’s, it’s really it’s changed the landscape a lot. And, and again, it you know, it opens up opportunity opportunities for us, so that’s great.

Tony Zayas 34:55
Yeah. So how do you how do you stay relevant, especially when you have a kind of a large competitor that’s out there. How do you as a small organization? How do you stay relevant and make sure that you’re bringing things to the table that you probably can because of your nimbleness?

Shannon Walker 35:18
You know, and that’s, that’s a good question, I think that we really look at ourselves as sort of a mid market provider. So we do have enterprise level clients. But our sweet spot is really for that mid market. And so it’s, it’s easy for us to ombar onboard a small client or a mid market client, it’s easy for us to serve as them, we, you know, I would say like, in the last five years, we’ve started going, well, pre COVID, we were going down to the trade shows really trying to get some brand awareness and say, Hey, we’re here. No, there’s an alternative. And it was so well received, because, you know, people didn’t realize that there was an alternative. And so that’s been helpful. And with, again, with COVID, and this lack of being able to hit the trade shows and hit the conferences, we’ve really tried to up our game on our SEO marketing, and then our digital marketing, and then again, forging these relationships with organizations who offer other services in the, in the compliance space, or the forensic space, but need to have the ability to offer a hotline and a case management platform. So there’s, there’s must multiple tangents that we’re trying to sort of, you know, hit the market with. But it’s, you know, again, there’s a lot of noise out there in the internet. And so trying to get your organization to the top of Google searches. It’s always challenging.

Tony Zayas 36:41
Do you guys have an in house like marketing team that works on that stuff?

Shannon Walker 36:44
We do, we have both. So we have an in house Marketing Team Plus, we outsource our digital marketing to another partner, which is great. So it gives us a little bit more breath. And we’re just starting to do Account Based Marketing now. So that’s an exciting addition to our marketing efforts.

Tony Zayas 37:03
That’s great. So Shannon, with all this going on being a founder, right, it’s from at the end of the day, how do you maintain some work life harmony? What do you do to stay sane? To take care of yourself? All that kind of stuff?

Shannon Walker 37:26
That’s an interesting question. Well, I’ll tell you what I just did. I just went skiing in Austria. It was great. And it was one of those trips where we almost canceled it because of COVID. But then, just you know, life is short. And sometimes Yeah, you know, have to take advantage of an opportunity. And so I did that last week. But I, I’m, I’m very blessed. I live near my office. And our office is across the street from the beach in Vancouver. And so I think a lot of our team, when we were all in the office take advantage of we have a seawall it’s about a two kilometer seawall and so to get outside and walk on the water every day is a real treat. And it’s also a it’s also a good way in the pre COVID days just to go and have a meeting and walk the seawall and have a meeting while you’re walking is I mean, that was one of the great great treats of where we’re located as far as our office goes, but I’m I’m a big believer in self care. So you know, yoga outside, skiing, grateful as we do grateful in one of our meetings every week, and so the TR team shares what they’re grateful for. It could be professional, it could be personal. But I think that we all take the moment just to sort of honor what that week we’re feeling grateful for. And every week, it could change.

Tony Zayas 38:54
Yeah, that’s great. I would love to hear what you know, what is the vision for the next, let’s say, next three years of the business? What are the goals? Where are you looking to go with it? What does that look like?

Shannon Walker 39:08
Well, I think our goals are really to doubling growth over the next three years. I think that the landscape is so supportive for growth in this in the whistleblowing environment. You know, when I first started, a lot of companies that I would talk to said, I don’t want to snitch line, I don’t want to snitch line, you know, it’s just a crate is the Pandora’s box. I don’t want to hear about it. I think that mindsets changing, I think there’s a paradigm shift. I think that there’s a, you know, a higher calling to running an ethical business and a sustainable business and a business that supports its employees. And our solution is a tool within that box of supporting, you know, again, ethical behavior in your business. And so I think from our perspective, we’re kind of playing the long game and it may it’s taking us a little bit longer to get there. But it’s it’s really about supporting, supporting other businesses. And so again, probably having that footprint in Europe is, is in our, in our landscape. I think Europe is a really important market for us. But having said that, you know, North America still has a long way to go Canada is, I would say, quite immature as a market for whistleblowing compared to the US, the US has very much embraced it since Sarbanes Oxley, and but still lots of opportunity. And I think that is, you know, now that we see private, smaller companies coming on board and really embracing this as part of their HR and their compliance. It’s just the opportunities are there for for a lot of growth.

Tony Zayas 40:49
That’s awesome. So before we go on to kind of on the last question that we always ask for guests on this show here, I’ll get to that in a second. Where Can anyone who wants to learn more about whistleblower security about you and kind of what you’re up to? Where can we find out more information?

Shannon Walker 41:07
Well, you can go to our website, which is whistleblowersecurity.com. That’s the first place to start. I’m on LinkedIn. So it’s Shannon Walker on LinkedIn, if anybody wants to reach out to me and ask me some questions about whistleblower, happy to engage. And you know, to go on our website to is it’s a great resource. There’s webinars there about best practices in whistleblowing, there’s a lot of ebooks and other resources that people can access if they’re considering it was a weighing system. And we’re just about to launch podcast. So hopefully, when that comes out, I’ll blast that out through LinkedIn. But coal Anderson, who is one of our team has been interviewing a lot of really interesting thought leaders and authors in the ethics and compliance space. So we’re excited about that, too.

Tony Zayas 41:57
Oit’s very exciting. Very cool. Well, with that, here’s a question that we’d like to ask all of our guests. If you could go back, you know, and talk to your former self before you launch the business. What, you know, if you sat down had a cup of coffee, what would be the one piece of it? That former self?

Shannon Walker 42:22
Oh, I would have said, you know, advocate harder. I think, I think, you know, it’s one of those things where I think there was some skepticism in the market, just because it was so new at the time. And I really believe in this business. And I believe in what it offers to our clients. And I, I wish, I wish I had been a stronger advocate at the beginning. Right now I’m full on cheerleader and going for it. But I think that I think if you’re going to start a business like this, or any business, I think that you just got to go hard right at the beginning. And that, I think that I was tepid at the beginning. Didn’t didn’t advocate enough of the at the start. So that would be my, my, that’d be my advice to anybody. And again, it’s been a great journey. And it’s, it’s no, it’s not over. And I’m so excited about it. But I wish I doubled down at the very beginning.

Tony Zayas 43:25
But I bet over time, as you gain more confidence and kind of believe from what you’re doing and the business and everything you probably grew and you probably got to that. But yeah, that is some strong advice there.

Shannon Walker 43:38
Yeah. Yeah, it’s a it’s a tough one. Sometimes. I mean, again, being being a woman, and in a lot I’ve had this question before, it’s like, how did you get into this business? Because it’s, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s compliance driven, regulatory driven. I’m not a lawyer. I’ve, you know, my background is really communications. But it’s, it’s something that you know, when you feel very passionate about something, you just have to follow that and, and, and advocate for yourself and your organization.

Tony Zayas 44:10
Yeah, that’s fantastic. Well, Shannon, thank you so much. This has been really outstanding, appreciate the you know, great conversation learning about, you know, Whistleblower Security. Again, everybody who’s tuned in, go check out whistleblowersecurity.com. And to find out more, reach out to Shannon on LinkedIn. And again, thanks so much for being on to those of you tuning. We will see you again next week with another guest. But take care for now. Thanks again, Shannon.

Shannon Walker 44:40
Okay thanks, Tony. Take care.

Tony Zayas 44:41
You too. Bye.

Shannon Walker 44:42
Bye.

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