KERYN GOLD, PhD
Keryn appears in the Top 100
Innovators & Entrepreneurs magazine.
Keryn Gold, PhD
Keryn Gold, PhD, empowers businesses and their people to achieve the seemingly impossible, enabling them to overcome obstacles and challenges they once thought insurmountable. She is described by her clients as a “resourceful, perceptive, trusted advisor” who “proactively delivers transformational value with relentless compassion — phenomenally fast.”
Keryn graduated from college at 17, earned her PhD, and has revolutionized divisions, systems, and processes at dozens of companies, delivering 50x+ ROI to clients of all sizes and industries. As CEO and COO at multiple start-ups, director of data science and strategy at Fortune 50 organizations, building and empowering teams at FAANG companies, and running consulting groups, she has enabled clients to accelerate innovation and achievement of their multi-year plans 3x+ — while improving their schedule flexibility and reducing costs without negative impact to client people, product, or service quality.
The Top 100 Magazine was fortunate to sit down with Keryn to get a glimpse into how she drives transformational value for her clients.
Your story is very compelling – tell us more about yourself.
Thanks for having me, I’m humbled that you reached out. I’m grateful I was raised with the idea that there weren't any limits on what I could achieve if I set my mind to it and worked hard. As a result, I approach the world like everything is solvable. My parents were big on empowerment, and when I was a kid, both had jobs dedicated to helping people when they were at their most vulnerable. I thus developed a deep conviction that if something isn't right, or I feel it can be improved, I have the capability, need, and responsibility to figure out a way to fix it and drive change to make things better. This forms the foundation of all my businesses.
What do you and your businesses specialize in?
Empowering businesses and their people to achieve things that seem impossible or out of reach. My companies focus on enabling clients to overcome different challenges and revolutionizing how businesses do business, improving operations and outcomes at all levels of the organization, at scale.
My oldest business focuses on deriving rapid, high-ROI value from data; the second helps unleash employee potential and maximize their engagement and effectiveness; and the third is dedicated to business transformation at scale. I’m driven by helping people and solving problems, both at work, and in my personal life. Others have dubbed me a “see-a-need, fill-a-need” person because I identify unmet needs and then go from zero to rapidly implementing effective, high-value solutions across all subjects and domains of life.
I’ve worn myriad “hats” over the years, and have a genuine desire to learn and empower others. As a result, I can flex into any situation, process, or otherwise that I identify as problematic or suboptimal, and figure out how to improve things. Over the years, I’ve learned ways to achieve this without burnout, but it was a problem for me in the past due to my desire/need to help all-the-people with all-the-things.
Tell us more about what your businesses do, and how you do it.
OTBi Solutions is all about data; optimizing and finding hidden profits via proprietary data science algorithms and AI applied to product, service, customer, procurement, and/or supplier data—without negative impact to people, product, or service quality, nor putting undue burden on client employee time. We’ve consistently delivered 50x+ first year ROI within months. Operating on a fully contingent basis, there are no fees unless we find savings. I’m big on aligned incentives. I now partner with Expense Reduction Analysts to expand my reach.
FocalPoint Outcomes is focused on people—empowering executives and high-potential employees to have their transformational ideas be better heard, understood, and implemented more rapidly. We provide tools and frameworks that deliver immediate results in addition to assessments, strategic recruiting, advising and training to enable clients to accelerate achievement of their multi-year plans 3x+, while simultaneously having improved work/life balance, guaranteed. I now partner with FocalPoint International to do this at greater scale.
SNAFU Guide is all about scalable transformation—revolutionizing businesses at all levels via easy-to-implement proprietary frameworks and playbooks that can be put in practice across the organization. My clients have seen positive impact in as little as one week, in addition to ongoing accelerated innovation while keeping costs down, and more engaged, motivated employees. I also do my writing under this company, including my latest, forthcoming book, The Leadership Playbook, Revisited.
What can readers expect from your new book?
It offers immediately implementable, actionable strategies to improve employee engagement in weeks, reduce burnout, and accelerate achievement of multi-year plans 3x+. The book is based on over 100,000 hours of research, development, testing and refinement. Associated strategies have been successfully implemented at multiple organizations from high-growth start-ups through Fortune 50 FAANG and healthcare giants. The book is laid out as easy-to-implement, one-page “plays” with links to resources you can download and use out-of-box, or customize for your purposes. It also reveals strategies to uncover hidden profits and best identify and unleash the potential of leaders within your organization.
How did you get started and what are some of the challenges you overcame?
I got my first job 20 years ago doing research to improve health outcomes in at-risk populations. The earliest challenge I can remember meaningfully changed the trajectory of my life. I suffered a sports-career-ending injury that ultimately led to me becoming a high school dropout with a PhD. In 9th grade, I played varsity and lettered in three different sports, but I got injured. Rather than disengage, I worked hard, focused on academics, and received an invitation to apply to college early. I was accepted and started at age 14. My family didn’t have much money, so I buckled down and graduated in three years, at age 17, summa cum laude, from a Top 15 national university, and subsequently earned a fully-university-funded PhD.
Since then, I’ve faced many other challenges, including health problems, unhealthy relationships and workplaces, layoffs, and familial financial issues. But, every time, I’ve strategized and figured out a way to overcome these challenges, and ended up better for it on the other side. I’m passionate about using what I’ve learned to help others overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges of their own.
To what do you attribute your success?
My unique approach to problem-solving and how I respond to challenges, my genuine desire to empower others, the privilege of wonderful mentors along the way who appreciated how I thought about problems and offered me opportunities to learn and grow, and my husband’s willingness to step in and help with the kiddo when I felt like I needed to clone myself.
What were some of your early opportunities and how did they come about?
I did free consulting for venture capital and private equity groups I wanted to learn from, and they liked what I delivered and how I thought about problems so much that they hired me and provided opportunities to grow, wear all-the-hats, and take on as much as I dared (including being a C-suite executive in my 20s), because I’d proven I could deliver results. Without these experiences, my life would look very different. Not everyone has those opportunities, so I empower others by synthesizing and distilling learnings from my myriad experiences over the years to deliver rapid impact and value to my clients, so they can reap the benefits without working the crazy hours I did.
What kind of hours were you working?
For much of my career, I’ve worked 100+ hour weeks due to my strong drive to help. Doing the math, it puts my effective “work age” well into my 70s. I’ve since figured out how to drive the same transformational value without burnout and ensure I can be fully present for my son.
I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience all of it. Consulting rapidly expanded my knowledge, and running start-ups required me to wear “all-the-hats” and learn everything about the business. Fortune 50 and FAANG companies present their own unique challenges, venture capital and private equity have their own culture, as do non-profits. Scientific R&D at academic institutions have their own quirks as well. I draw on this diverse array of expertise when I advise, train, and develop solutions for my clients.
What are you most proud of, as an innovator and entrepreneur?
While I’ve delivered substantial ROI and monetary value to clients, I’m most proud when I revolutionize workplace culture. Few things warm my heart more than coming into an organization where people feel trapped, hopeless, or burned out, and in less than a month, seeing the same people happy, engaged, and empowered. I see myself more as a strategic empowerer and advisor than an entrepreneur. I listen, seek to understand, and find creative ways to optimally solve problems to figure out a way through and make things better for everyone. For me, it’s all about the joy of people overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles and achieving what they once thought impossible.
Keryn Gold, PhD
Founder & CEO
OTBi Solutions, FocalPoint Outcomes, and SNAFU Guide