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Q&A with Mary J. Palmieri, Digital Workplace Transformation and Strategy Consulting Leader

1) Tell us about your experience as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and how that has impacted your approach to business.

Starting a company and fundraising in Silicon Valley has taught me how to most effectively optimize resources, demonstrate traction, and monetize as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to obtain hockey stick growth.

Start slow, fail fast, and pivot when necessary. Too many startups or business units fail by being stuck on trying to prove their own thesis. In order to obtain the long term right to win, your company needs to be set up to listen to the market and your customers using data and analytics.

2) You’ve started multiple companies, if you could go back again, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t do anything differently because I have learned so much from all of my mistakes, but top three learning lessons are:

  1. Create Value – if you or your company were to no longer exist, would anyone notice? If the answer is no, then you need to get clear about the problem you are solving, and find ways to make you or your company indispensable.
  2. Listen to customers – both internal and external – whether you are building a consumer facing product or innovating within the organization, you need to talk to your customers and discover what they need. I have had so many ideas, but after talking to our potential product users, quickly discovered those ideas were not in alignment to what the customer really needs. Talking to customers first saves a lot of money in product development!
  3. Define Metrics for Success – validate assumptions early by defining benchmarks for success. Once you are caught up in the day to day operations of running a business, getting distracted from the end goal is easy which is why putting goals and metrics in place is crucial. The first thing I ask all my clients is “How do you measure success?” (I find it surprising how many people struggle with answering this question).

3) Can you give me a quick overview of your latest startup and your role within the organization?

My latest entrepreneurial project is an AI Driven beauty tech platform – ​TBM – The Beauty Marketplace.

We are solving the problem of the beauty novice who does not have the time or energy to shop, and is overwhelmed by too many product choices, and would like assistance from virtual beauty advisors.
I am a CoFounder which means I am responsible for fundraising, recruiting a team and board members, driving the vision, and making sure we hit our milestones and benchmarks for success.

I started this company after exiting the beauty blog I Founded, Honest Beauty, which focused on the indie beauty market. While blogging, so many people would write into me asking which products I would recommend for them, and I had trouble answering their queries because beauty is so personal and contingent on unique personal characteristics.

TBM is like Netflix or Spotify for beauty – we created the ​TBM platform ​and brand database to be able match our clients to relevant brands and experts.

4) You have a Masters Degree in Information and Knowledge Strategy from Columbia University. Tell us what this means and why organizations should be thinking about their knowledge strategy.

The hierarchical and siloed way companies were once structured is no longer working.

We are now in the information age which means today’s corporate assets are knowledge – data and information in both the human and digital form. The companies who collaborate most effectively by developing, sharing, and utilizing their knowledge assets will succeed. In order for today’s organizations to sustain the right to win, they must become agile, responsive, and structured for collaboration and innovation. My area of expertise is working with both organizations and companies, on both the enterprise and start-up level, to help them digitize, innovate, and become structured to succeed.

My latest project was with Warner Music where I conducted a knowledge audit and network analysis to advise on a strategy for better collaboration among globally dispersed marketing/distribution teams. We defined a framework for enhanced capture, sharing, and utilization of their fan data across the organization and their various platforms and events.

5) What do you consider the biggest challenges for a Founder or C-Level executive these days? How do you work with your clients to get the most out of their business performance?

Due to the mass adoption and low cost of technology, barriers to entry for starting a company are low, which means Founders and C-Level executives need to be hyper aware of market dynamics and competition on a daily basis. Finding a voice in a crowded market is where most start-up companies get stuck.

Internal dynamics – how teams collaborate and how information is shared and utilized among teams – is where larger organizations need help in order to innovate and improve performance. When I work with my clients, we analyze both internal and external dynamics, prioritizing the gaps that need to be filled in order to make the biggest impact. The goal is to devise a plan in order to deliver the most value and long term sustainable growth!

About Mary J. Palmieri – LinkedIn

Mary J. Palmieri is a serial entrepreneur (2016 exit) with 12+ years experience as a corporate executive working with the world’s leading consumer facing brands and media/entertainment organizations such as Vogue, Conde Nast, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Warner Music Group, PR Newswire, and United Business Media. Mary adds value by providing solutions consultations bridging the gap between business and technology in order to facilitate digital workplace innovations/transformation, organizational alignment and process improvement.

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