Hello everyone! My name is Taylor Rhodes, and I’m Applied’s new CEO. I recently attended this year’s Applied Net in Las Vegas and all I can say is wow. I was blown away by each of you and your commitment to embracing technology to drive positive change in your organization. I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to lead Applied in the Digital Revolution of Insurance.
Part of the opportunity I had at Applied Net was to introduce myself to our customers and partners. For those of you unable to attend Applied Net, I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you a little bit about myself and the experiences that have shaped my character, values and career. And I thought it would be fun to do it through numbers.
I was born and raised in Arizona, the 48th state admitted to the union.
I am the second child of a family with three boys. Yes, I am a middle child. For any other middle children out there you know what I mean.
The most influential figure in my life was my grandfather Bill, who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, and came home to become a successful entrepreneur. He was a man who could teach you anything, and always tie it back to being willing to work hard and do a job the right way.
HC30 Box 1030
The rural route postcode for our family’s working cattle ranch outside of Prescott, AZ where I spent my summers doing hard time under the watchful eye of grandpa Bill. This experience really gave me an appreciation for the value of hard work because…
Was the amount grandpa Bill paid me per hour for my eight-hour days. 40 bucks a day was big money to a kid back then, and it helped me tie the value of hard work to the ability to earn a living.
The 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marine Regiment, my first unit at Camp Pendleton, CA. After college, I joined the Marines, which is where I learned about teamwork, mental toughness, and leadership. I also learned that leadership isn’t something that is granted, it must be earned and the best way to earn it is to put your people first, to have high standards for them to achieve their dreams, and have fun together.
The number of NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships won by the University of North Carolina, which is where I graduated from the MBA program after finishing my Marine Corps service. Going to UNC also led me to an internship with a tech company in the Research Triangle Park, where I first fell in love with the internet and what it could do for business.
The number of years that I’ve been privileged to be married to my wife, Stacey. I tricked her a long time ago with a flashy Marine dress blue uniform, and I couldn’t have done much of anything good in life without her wise counsel and support.
The combined ages of my three teen-aged children. Yes, we are survivors of THREE children who are teenagers at the same time. For anyone else out there surviving teenagers, bless all of you and good luck!
The number of employees at the first big technology company I joined after business school, Electronic Data Systems (or EDS). At EDS, I learned how to build and operate mission critical applications and infrastructure for the world’s largest airlines.
The number of employees at the upstart cloud computing company I joined in 2007. The company was Rackspace, and it was there that I had the chance to help a group of like-minded entrepreneurs bring the incredible power of cloud technologies into the mainstream market.
The average Net Promoter Score for Rackspace customers, which is world class. We learned that if you always focus on your customers and their needs, they will be loyal and stay with you a long time. We were so obsessed with creating a company culture built around customer loyalty that we pestered the inventor of the Net Promoter System, Fred Reichheld, to join our board. Fred’s lessons about what creates loyalty in customers were some of the most powerful I have learned in my business career. And you know, it’s this idea of being customer obsessed that really drew me to Applied Systems.
Well there you have it folks. Me in a nutshell. I hope this provided you with a little insight into the type of leader and person that I am. I may be new to the insurance industry, but I know that we are at a critical time for our industry. We are in the midst of digitally driven change and on the cusp of the digital future, and that is exciting. I am happy to join Applied, and look forward to the opportunity to serve you and your customers in ways that make purposeful innovation incredibly valuable for you all.