Anna Quindlen’s quote, “For the young the days go fast, and the years go slow; for the old the days go slow, and the years go fast,” always resonated with me. As I look back on my first year as CEO at Lighthouse, it does seem both the days and years have gone incredibly fast! I wanted to briefly share some lessons learned moving to a new environment and role after 24 years at Microsoft.
Serving Clients in a Highly Remote World
Most Lighthouse employees work remotely. I questioned when I started whether this was sustainable and an approach that best meets the needs of our clients. I quickly learned that being remote does not mean hunkering down in your office by yourself! In my first year, I have travelled >100,000 miles, met with >100 clients in person, and have met >200 employees. For comparison, I had 0 in person meetings and 0 miles flown for work in my last 18 months at Microsoft. Remote work offers many benefits and responsibilities….
We can attract great talent by giving employees the option to live where they want.
Meetings are much more deliberate.
Our clients span geographies, so we can be deliberate with meeting them.
Work life balance improves by giving people flexibility on when to work.
Strongly encouraging people to take advantage of vacation is extremely important. A remote work environment blurs the boundaries of work and home, so unplugging completely is important.
As much as possible, we try not to do email or meetings outside of work hours, unless on critical client matters.
Planning deliberate in person events is important, which is why we maintain office space in major cities. In fact, this week we are having a comedy event in our Manhattan office with one of our HR leaders who is a professional comedian!
Authenticity is critical—authenticity allows us to move faster and make sure we are meeting the needs of employees and clients.
Serving Clients in a High-Stakes Environment
I have learned how the work we do for our clients is even more incredibly important that I realized one year ago. We help clients build their brand, grow their business, meet their regulatory obligations, and protect company assets. This can be a lot of pressure on the team and our clients. Technology is our differentiator in this high-stakes environment. Technology allows us to move faster, create better outcomes, and saves client’s money. Technology also relieves pressure on our teams and allows them to do their best work.
For example, we often have clients using many, many humans doing reviews of documents. When we show what is possible by using Lighthouse AI to do key document identification (KDI), their strategy instantly changes. There are many benefits of Lighthouse AI from KDI to deposition prep, early case assessment, and data breach remediation among many others. The impact we make with technology continues the promise I felt as an Information Systems major at Notre Dame in the late 1980s; seeing how technology can benefit businesses and being a small part of those results.
Serving Clients with Amazing Employees
During the past year as CEO, I have come to realize my number one job is to serve the employees in the organization. As Lighthouse employees find personal growth, impact, and belonging, they will do amazing things for our clients and company. I mentioned the responsibilities needed in a remote workplace and how we use technology to help remove burdens from employees. In addition, I have come to realize the importance of the right culture. I was fortunate to inherit an amazing culture at Lighthouse that had core values of Camaraderie, Ingenuity, Grit, and Wow Factor. However, culture needs to be fostered and cultivated daily. This especially comes through in my words, actions, and leaders I put in place. Every decision I make needs to have a lens for the impact on the culture. We created monthly Town Halls for the entire company to help cultivate the culture. As part of those Town Halls, it is important to answer every question employees have. I love it when employees ask the hard and controversial questions, since those are what is most on the minds of people, and I try to encourage the bravery to be authentic and direct. I am fortunate to have inherited the best and most experienced experts in our industry. I am committed as CEO to ensure that continues as we grow and core to that is ensuring people are seeing growth, impact, and belonging.
I am incredibly fortunate to be a part of Lighthouse and have clients that rely on us for very important work. The eDiscovery, compliance, and risk industries are growing in importance across all clients and industries. Lighthouse is committed to continuing to evolve and grow with our clients as we do our part to help clients grow their brand and business.
About the Author
As Chief Executive Officer at Lighthouse, Ron Markezich brings more than 30 years of experience in building technology solutions and serving the largest enterprises in the world. As Lighthouse CEO, Ron’s focus is on providing exceptional service to our clients, building innovative eDiscovery, compliance, and governance solutions, as well as developing a strong and diverse team.
Ron joins Lighthouse from Microsoft where he spent the last 24 years in leadership roles across nearly every functional area. His mission was to grow Microsoft’s commercial cloud services which he did as the Office 365 incubation leader, which led to leadership roles responsible for U.S. Enterprise Sales, Microsoft 365 Marketing, and Global Pricing & Licensing. While Ron was Microsoft’s Chief Information Officer, he started Microsoft’s commercial cloud services in 2007. During this time, Ron’s incubation team sold, migrated, and supported Microsoft’s first cloud customers, which included many of the top brands in the world.
Ron started his career at Accenture, then Andersen Consulting, where he worked for almost 10 years serving clients across the U.S. and helping build Accenture’s offshore development office in Manila, Philippines. He began his Accenture career as a software developer and advanced to a leadership position on some of the biggest, most complex consulting projects and programs conducted by Accenture at the time.
Ron received a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems at the University of Notre Dame, where he was also a cross country All-American and track & field school record holder in the 10,000M. He and his wife, Debbie, have four children and reside in the Seattle area.