Geek Speak: Angela Baldonero, senior vice president at Return Path
Angela Baldonero says she wouldn’t work remotely if it was “just a job”. The Vancouver resident is the senior vice president of people and client success at Return Path, an email-services company headquartered in New York City.
Born in Vancouver, Baldonero joined Return Path in 2007, when she lived in the Big Apple. She stayed with the company after she moved back here a couple years ago. According to the 37-year-old executive, she “antagonizes the whole company” with her support for the Vancouver Canucks.
On its website, Return Path calls itself the “world’s leader in email certification and scoring”. Founded in 1999, company offers a variety of business-to-business products—such as certification for senders and ISPs, and deliverability monitoring tools—and services, including feedback loop management and response consulting.
The Georgia Straight reached Baldonero by phone at her Yaletown office.
Why would a company need Return Path’s services?
We basically have a huge network of reputation data around email-sending practices. We work with large senders to ensure that their sending protocol is good so they’ll make it to the inbox. It’s amazing how much email is blocked or filtered or doesn’t make it to the inbox, so there’s a real ROI [return on investment] there. Particularly for marketers, more email in the inbox, better return.
We also have some new products coming out soon that help our senders understand what is happening once the message hits the inbox.
What kind of companies are your clients?
Some of our verticals are daily deal sites, like Groupon, for example. Their businesses are totally email-dependent. Large marketers are a vertical. Financial institutions—anybody sending heavy volumes of transactional mail.
If you think about it, most social-media platforms sit on an email base to pump out the transactional mail. You think of eBay, and all that bidding is done via email. Facebook, all the messaging and notifications are done via email. Twitter, et cetera. If you think about it, most times you log into something you use your email address now as an identifier.
What do you do at Return Path?
I have three areas of responsibility. One is people, so the employment side, the culture side—making it an amazing place to work. That side of the business.
The second is client success, which is a new area that we’re getting up and running, which is tweaking how we’re giving Tier 2 support.
Then the third area is training and knowledge management. So, management of the competitive intelligence and knowledge that powers the business.
What kind of challenges arise for you, being based in Vancouver and working for a New York-based company?
Our largest population of employees is just outside of Boulder, Colorado. Most of our technical talent is there—all of our engineers, et cetera. We have a lot of technology we use to keep us connected.
There’s a way to do remote well, and there’s a way not to. Sometimes it can be a bit isolated, and I miss being in the office, in meetings, face to face with different groups of people, where you can read the body language, understand what’s going on. It’s a different kind of conversation.
I do tons of video conference. I’m on the phone all the time. I’m on Skype all the time. That works really well to a point, and it needs to be supplemented with a decent level of face-to-face interaction to ensure you keep relationships strong and you have that foundation of trust that then lets you work more transactionally through email, phone, video conference, et cetera.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? You can tell Stephen Hui on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.