Welcome to another edition of our Employee Spotlight Blog. This month, we’re excited to learn more about Bridgepoint’s newest Principal, Jeff Hiddemen. Over the past five years, Jeff has been a key member of our executive team and has helped to transform our NetSuite Consulting practice into a leading full-service implementation and integration NetSuite Alliance Partner. Bridgepoint now has over 40 NetSuite ERP Certified Consultants and NetSuite Certified SuiteCloud Developers who work on projects in the U.S., as well as globally! We sat down with Jeff to learn more about his new role, why he loves the challenges he faces and why he believes that trust is the key to good leadership.
When you decided to take the leap into consulting, how did you know that Bridgepoint was the right company for you?
I had already taken the leap into consulting about 4 years prior to joining Bridgepoint. When I began looking at new opportunities in 2014, what really stood out about Bridgepoint was the organization’s core values. The values of empowering team members, upholding integrity and valuing client relationships were evident in all of the interactions I had with members of the team. These values were not just printed on a poster and ignored, they served as the principles driving all decisions within the company. Doing what is right, and in the best interest of the team and client took priority over everything else. Knowing that this was the type of organization I was planning to join made the decision to join Bridgepoint very easy.
What would you say are some of the biggest benefits of a career in consulting?
I truly feel that one year in consulting is worth two years working elsewhere. The exposure to different types of companies, industries and business challenges means you are constantly learning new things. Additionally, at Bridgepoint we have a highly collaborative and engaging team that works together to solve incredibly complex business problems. The opportunity to work with other skilled team members to get their feedback and perspectives on how to solve challenges, is something rarely seen in other careers. If you enjoy continuous learning and a dynamic working environment, consulting is a great career choice.
What’s one thing you are excited to tackle in your new role as Principal?
There are so many things I am excited about as I move into this new role at Bridgepoint. I look forward to taking a broader role in the business, leading critical company-wide objectives and helping to define growth strategies for our firm, to name a few. I think I am most excited about the increased interactions and deeper relationships I will build with people from other parts of the business.
What changes have you seen in the NetSuite practice in the time you’ve been here?
Everything has changed! When I first started, emphasis was placed on building a happy base of clients and establishing structure to support the team. Every team member played every role, and most engagements had an “all hands on deck” approach. While there was a methodology in place, we had no artifacts or documentation, so nearly everything we did was created from scratch. Nonetheless, we continued to focus on putting structure in place, even when that added work to our day-to-day schedules.
As we matured as a practice, the structure and foundation we laid began paying off. We refined and standardized our processes and deliverables, identified and hired new employees that would be the best fit at Bridgepoint, and established leadership and mentorship opportunities within the practice. We also offered professional development and training activities to continue to empower our team members. And most of all, we began working on and successfully delivering more complex, transformative initiatives for our clients. We moved from performing standard NetSuite implementations to a more comprehensive “management consulting” approach to meet our customer’s needs. This holistic, non-siloed approach enables Bridgepoint to be a true partner and collaborator with our clients.
What do you find challenging about the technology and NetSuite field?
The thing that I find most challenging is also the thing I find most energizing: constant change. It is hard to imagine that the iPhone only came out a little over a decade ago. It and other comparable smartphones have changed the landscape and expectations of what a phone can do. If you had described what the iPhone would be to someone in the mid-90’s, they would have thought you were crazy. Now, people can’t live without it!
Although it doesn’t get as much publicity as the iPhone, major technological changes are similarly happening in business applications. Companies no longer have to rely on outdated technology that could take years to upgrade, and which require a large internal staff and significant up-front investment. Cloud-based SaaS applications such as NetSuite and other industry leaders, continuously evolve and transform over time, to ensure that new markets or regulatory demands are built right there within the platform.
What gets you excited about going to work each day?
The people! I am honored and proud to work with such a great group of team members. We have such a great mix of talent here at Bridgepoint. Not only are they incredibly smart and dedicated, but they are passionate about what they do, eager to learn, have smiles on their faces and are happy to help one another. There is no doubt that the work we do is challenging, and our team chooses to have fun while doing it!
What has helped or hindered your career?
I believe you can learn just as much, if not more, from failures as you can from successes. This can range from not landing a deal, to being a part of an organization that is struggling. Some of the greatest and most impactful takeaways I have received in my career were during those engagements that stretched me to the limit. I’ve learned that you must always reflect back on how things transpired the way they did, in order to identify different approaches that may have resulted in a better outcome. This step is critical to ensuring you continuously improve and incorporate feedback so that your next engagement is better off.
What does leadership mean to you?
Building trust is the backbone of great leadership. Trust is not something that can be achieved overnight. It can only be attained by actions over an extended period of time. A team that is not based on trust, is one that will fall apart once adversity hits.
Once you establish an environment of trust, where people can be open and vulnerable with one another, where their voices and ideas are heard and incorporated, and where they feel empowered and respected, then great achievements can be made.
What social causes are you passionate about?
Giving back and playing a part in the community has always been important to me. While there are many great causes out there, I have always been drawn to helping people in need. In the past, I have volunteered with Neighborhood Longhorns, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Riordan Program.
Recently, I began working with CASA of Travis County, which provides services for children in the welfare and foster care program. CASA provides volunteer advocates that build deep relationships with the children and represent the child’s best interests throughout the court system, ensuring the children can reach the best possible outcomes. I am honored to be a part of this organization, and look forward to making a difference in many children’s lives.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any fun hobbies?
My favorite time of year is Texas Longhorn football season! It has been a tough 8 or 9 years, but I’m feeling confident that we are finally trending in the right direction, and will be competing at the highest level (hopefully for a championship) in the next year or so.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I hung this Teddy Roosevelt quote from the early 1900’s on my bathroom wall about a year ago. I first read it inside the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and it really resonated with me. It has been great to take a step back and read it every so often:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”