Welcome back to our new employee spotlight series, where we highlight members of the Tonkean team who exemplify the unique spirit of our company. This week, we’re spotlighting Brett Li, our Vice President of Product Marketing.
Brett Li is one of the hardest-working people we’ve ever known. (The Marketing team wonders whether he ever sleeps.) He awes in other ways, too. He’s a fantastic manager and a committed leader. His knowledge about marketing, automation, business operations, and the enterprise is encyclopedic. Brett Li and his ability to dismantle complex, seemingly intractable problems into quickly implementable solutions can seem — especially to less technical members of the Tonkean team, one of whom may or may not be writing this spotlight — like magic.
Brett Li spends his days thinking about how to best present the Tonkean story and mission to the world. We’re excited to get to finally share his story with all of you.
Okay, so, what brought you to Tonkean?
It’s funny how life works sometimes. I am an entrepreneur at heart, and in early 2019 I was putting out initial feelers to get an idea of what it would take to start a company. I connected with Joanne Chen at Foundation Capital and she introduced me to Sagi. What I look for in start-ups are visionary founders with inspired missions. After talking to Sagi and Talmor, I knew Tonkean had both factors and more, so I decided to join them to help take Tonkean to market.
What does an average day look like for you at Tonkean now?
Every day at Tonkean is something new. Tonkean has the unique opportunity to create a new category of software. On the marketing side, that means talking to folks like our customers, prospects, partners, analysts, and more, and then thinking deeply about how Tonkean can impact our target customers in a way that no other technology can. From there, it’s working with the entire Marketing team and other functions, like Sales, Solutions, and Product, to reach our target customers and give them the opportunity to see what Tonkean can do for them.
What I look for in start-ups are visionary founders with inspired missions.
Which Tonkean Core Value do you identify with most? Why?
There’s Always a Way. For me, this is an important mindset to live life by. I believe that nothing is impossible as long as you continue to think about how to make the best of every situation. In a start-up, you will face challenges and uncertainty every single day. Meeting those challenges head-on and learning from them is what makes the start-up experience so rewarding.
What about Tonkean’s story inspires you most?
I believe that Tonkean can positively impact what the future of work looks like. Technology is bringing about so much change in the workplace — some good, some bad. I subscribe to the school of thought that we all have the power to design and mold our future. The overarching narrative that automation is going to replace people is not inevitable. If we all actively think about how we use technology to positively impact the way we work, for example, it can do much more. If we ask questions like, “What are things that people are uniquely good at and what type of work do people actually want to be doing?” and then if we design technology and leverage automation around that, we can create a future not only where businesses are efficient and thriving, but also where people get the most fulfillment out of work.
What’s the Tonkean Marketing team like?
The Tonkean Marketing team is made up of inspired leaders from a range of different backgrounds. We have creative thinkers, strategic thinkers, process-minded individuals, and more. We have people with backgrounds in writing, teaching, art, entrepreneurship, engineering, and business. This mixture of different backgrounds and styles allows the team to approach opportunities and challenges from different perspectives that ultimately deliver the best outcomes. It’s also just an incredibly exciting environment that I learn a lot from every day.
If we design technology and leverage automation around that, we can create a future not only where businesses are efficient and thriving, but also where people get the most fulfillment out of work.
What are the things you think about each day as you set about to solidify or establish Tonkean’s place in the marketplace?
Business process automation is a continually evolving space with a mixture of different technologies. Enterprises are also still learning about where and how they can apply process automation technologies to improve their own business operations. When we are able to get time with a CIO, COO, CFO, or another business leader to explain how Tonkean can improve their business operations, they immediately understand it. However, the thing I think about every day is how to rise above the “noise” in the space to get that time with the right people in the enterprise.
What, in your mind, sets Tonkean apart from other players in the space?
Tonkean is establishing a new category of software called Adaptive Business Operations. Business process automation players today are focused on task-level or process-level automation. There is a missing standard or platform that can choreograph how the processes, systems, and people that comprise each organization’s business operations all work together. Tonkean provides that, and believes the organizations that adopt this standard can deliver massive benefits to their business, customers, and employees.
What’s your favorite part about working at Tonkean?
At Tonkean, I’m surrounded (virtually) every day by smart, passionate, and fun people. My favorite part of working at Tonkean is being able to work together with the other Tonkies and learning from them, drawing inspiration from them, and having fun with them. We are all united in achieving big things at Tonkean, and that energy is palpable.
What do you most like to do outside of work?
I am the father of one (about to be two) young daughters. Spending time with my wife and kids is where I find fulfillment in my time outside of work.