Data-driven Strategist | COO | Chief of Staff
About Owen Knowles:
A data-driven leader working cross-functionally to translate the CEO’s strategy into results through both strategic planning and hands-on management, ensuring one eye is always on the business goals and long-term impact.
Versatile professional with expertise in operations management, strategic planning and execution, financial and risk management, change management, problem solving, digital transformation, OKRs, KPIs and project management. Proven leadership as Chief of Staff at BlueOptima, responsible for 7 figure budgets, opening global offices, managing international events, and driving revenue growth. Experienced in international trade, contract negotiation, and consultative selling. Demonstrated entrepreneurial success as COO/Founder of an FMCG start-up and as a Creative Consultant.
CHIEF OF STAFF, 06/2021 – 03/2023 [22 months] | BlueOptima; London, UK – SaaS B2B, ~300 headcount
Chief of Staff at a hyper-growth SaaS Enterprise B2B serving FTSE 100 clients with a company-wide mandate translating the
CEO’s strategy into results. Aligned Enablement team of 6 departments, ~70 headcount. Organisational Leadership:
Interim Head of Global Operations: Grew team from 2 to 11, reduced travel costs by 18%, managed 5 offices and put in place global and local policies/processes ensuring the business had a suitable foundation to scale effectively
Interim Head of Legal: Established a new department, hired In-House Counsel, reduced the contracting time by 120%, saved $100,000+ annually and reduced the dependency on outside counsel, in turn reducing the risk to revenue
OKRs: Implemented quarterly OKR across ~300 employees covering 5 time zones, overseeing company objectives, cross- functional planning and translating the CEO/CTO’s goals ensuring company-wide alignment and increased productivity
Sales Team Structure: Worked with the COO to define and implement a new sales team structure, moving away from 360 sales to specialised roles, new commission structures, KPIs and metrics, accountability in the customer journey, integration of marketing and customer success, resulting in a significant improvement in conversion rates and revenue
Marketing/Legal: Accountable for GDPR, Sub-processor and Client Name Reference contract amendments across all clients resulting in the use of client names and logos for the first time in BlueOptima marketing increasing engagement
2-Week Global Event: Delivered $1,000,000+ event in Thailand for ~250 people, 40% under the previous budget per person, and 10% under the target budget with positive metric feedback and 6 MVPs produced from the hackathon
International Estate Management: Delivered 5 company offices worldwide with a $9,000,000 investment resulting in the cost per seat being 30-50% lower than the market average ensuring attractive, useable and saleable environments
Indian Entity: Transitioned ~70 contractors to employees with a $350,000 investment and no impact on retention or project timeline securing the future of the development team, key talent and minimising significant business risk
PhD Support Program: Established a 5-year program with $1,500,000+ investment across 3 institutions ensuring the investment in key research to continue progressing R&D in the business and the foundation for an IPO
Data Science Revenue: Improved pipeline revenue by 300%+ in 8 weeks, establishing 20 new metrics, deal tracking framework in SuiteCRM, sales training and improved processes to ensure Data Science is a profitable department
SOC2 & ISO27001: Managed accreditation/certification, auditor selection, and communication, managed the implementation and updating of all policies to future-proof the business and conform with client security requirements
Intercom Roll-out: Led tooling analysis, purchase, testing, security, contracting, and implementation of Intercom on a tight timeline ensuring the business had the comprehensive analytics required to ensure client retention and value
Cost Reduction: Following evaluation of the P&L and process requirements, I secured cost savings of more than $300,000 across subscriptions, tooling and improved efficiencies to improve the long-term viability of the business
INTERNATIONAL TRADE CONSULTANT, 03/2020 - 06/2021 [15 months] | Bonhoga Capital, Remote
Utilised my extensive international network to drive successful commercial transactions, including commodities.
Revenue: Obtained a 12-month agreement with a crucial pharmaceutical provider in the United Kingdom, worth eight figures overcoming logistical, AML, LoC and financial challenges
Negotiation: Conducted effective negotiations with intermediates and principals to secure profitable contracts on a range of commodities, ensuring I maximised profits whilst minimising risk
Legal Review: Collaborated with top-tier attorneys to ensure the accuracy of legal documents by breaking down complex legal issues, identifying and mitigating risks and liabilities to protect the interests of all stakeholders
Logistics: Coordinated intricate logistical details of cross-border trade and certification with internal stakeholders, customs officials, freight forwarders and regulatory agencies minimising delays and reducing project costs
LEAD CONSULTANT ENTERPRISE ACCOUNTS, 12/2019 - 03/2020 [4 months] | Yapster, London, UK – SaaS B2B Led the Enterprise accounts team whilst working with the CEO to pivot the business away from SMB
Revenue: Increased sales pipeline significantly by onboarding 9 clients to pilot projects, zeroing in on the client’s pain points and establishing clear ROI, the key to scaling the enterprise client base of the business
Process: Streamlined Salesforce setup to ensure efficient workflows by assessing the current process, identifying bottlenecks and implementing targeted improvements saving the business time and resources
Reporting: Conducted regular team reporting and progress updates facilitating a culture of transparency and informed data-driven decision making ensuring the wider business remained aligned and laser-focused
Coaching: Delivered training sessions on MEDDPIC, deal progression, consultative selling and stakeholder management to foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement, positioning the business for long-term success
PRODUCT, REVOPS, BUSINESS & ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT, 10/2018 - 12/2019 [14 months] | BlueOptima; London, UK
Brought into the business to expand BlueOptima's presence in the Energy sector, quickly established a vertical team, introduced revenue operations reporting, and collaborated with the CEO & CTO to develop two MVP-stage products, which have since been launched in the market making significant revenue.
Product: Key force who drove the development, testing, and market validation of two revenue-generating MVP products, playing a crucial role by working cross-functionally and taking a hands-on approach to bring both to market
Revenue Ops: Designed and implemented automated weekly reporting dashboards that showcased essential performance metrics, and allowed for informed decisions directly impacting financial outcomes and sales efficiency
Account Management: Cultivated high-value client relationships by understanding their unique needs and pain points, driving revenue growth and client retention for the business. Additionally coached 3 direct reports
Business Development: Demonstrated a keen ability to identify and pursue strategic growth opportunities, successfully securing a deal with the largest global mining corporation and confirming product relevancy in a new vertical
COO & FOUNDER, 09/2017 - 10/2018 [13 months] | Green Lady Sparkling Tea; London, UK
Invested a five-figure sum and founded a non-alcoholic FMCG business, successfully exiting just over 1 year later. Responsible
for sales, marketing, logistics, account management, capital investment and KPI metrics
Business Strategy: Pivoted growth strategy focusing on B2B leading to a 300%+ ARR increase in 6 months and secured listing with two of the five largest national UK distributors vastly increasing the scalability of the business
Analytics: Established financial forecasting, cash flow and performance analytics as part of an initiative to become more data-driven. Implemented a CRM (Pipedrive) and data tracking mechanisms to increase conversion and retention rates
Investment: Sourced, generated the financial planning, pitched and built relationships with Angels, VC’s and incubators to ultimately raise a six-figure sum from the first round of UK investments securing the future growth of the business
CREATIVE CONSULTANT & PROJECT MANAGER, 07/2012 - 09/2017 [62 months] | Freelance, UK/Remote
Worked on a range of projects consulting and managing a variety of briefs, the majority of which were based in the London area. The nature of the work developed my skills relating to project planning, organisation, timeline management, stakeholder coordination, cash flow management, and the various skills required to operate as an independent entity.
BA (HONS) Fashion & Business
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