July 19, 2018

GreenFig: Powering Business Science Education for the Digital Economy

Libby Unger | CEO & Co-founder, GreenFig
Written by:

Libby Unger | CEO & Co-founder, GreenFig

About this time last year, GreenFig – a micro education company offering microdegrees in applied business science – imagined a world where individuals are the masters of their careers and businesses are competing to win with strong, relevant talent skilled for the 21st century.

We offered a proven solution to enable companies to rapidly prepare their workforce for the digital economy and allow individuals to secure jobs with the confidence and skills to make an impact on day one. Our unique program allows people to take timeouts, make lane changes, or reach for the next rung on the corporate ladder with limited career risk and for a reasonable price in terms of time and money.

We see three critical roles in powering the digital economy: the software engineers and developers that code the soft machinery powering business; the data scientists who structure and visualize the massive amounts of data delivered by the soft machinery powering business; and the Business Scientists who use the soft machinery and data powering business to derive insights, drive product innovation, grow revenue, and expand margins.

Business Scientists understand the business strategy, tactics, and technology underpinning their work. They have the skills to develop strategies and act tactically in support of business objectives and know how to set up, use and manage soft machinery to execute for competitive success. This soft machinery includes business applications such as Marketo, NetSuite, Salesforce, and Zendesk that power today’s leading companies.

Massive amounts of public and private investment – and attention – are focused on STEM and developing future software engineers, developers, and data scientists. While this is necessary it is not sufficient for building the workforce of the future.

There are less than 400,000 jobs posted on indeed.com for those STEM roles. Compare that to the 2.6 million jobs posted for positions in areas such as sales operations; digital, product and content marketing; customer success; and customer support. These 2.6 million jobs are the jobs of Business Scientists – nearly seven times as many jobs relative to those posted for software engineers, developers, and data scientists. GreenFig was built to fulfill this critical demand.

With this powerful vision, an impressive leadership team, and the financial backing of Silicon Valley’s Wildcat Venture Partners, we officially launched GreenFig Micro Education with Marketo CMO Chandar Pattabhiram, on center stage, to an audience of 6,500 at Marketo Nation Summit in April 2017.

Addressing the Needs of Today’s Digital Workforce

From the beginning, we have believed the accelerating pace of change and the ever-widening workforce skills gap – exacerbated by the digital economy – required a new solution and approach to training. In addition to the obvious metric of 2.6 million job openings for people with business science skills and certification, only 10 percent of employees feel proficient with the digital technology they use at work.

In a world where the pace of change is constant, lifelong learning and accelerated skill development with microdegrees in applied business science are the path to relevance and economic empowerment for individuals and a competitive strength for business.

Individuals who want to participate in meaningful employment in the digital economy must possess:

  1. An understanding of new trends in the marketplace
  2. The ability to acquire job-ready skills for rapid time-to-impact
  3. Demonstrated competence in strategy, tactics, and technology

To address this challenge, GreenFig created an accelerated skill development model that provides microdegrees in applied business science for high-demand jobs in sales, marketing, product, and support. Our Business Scientists graduate understanding the strategies, tactics, and technology underpinning their work. They leave possessing skills to make an impact on day one, whether that’s at a new company, in a stretch role or starting their own business.

Developing Business Scientists

Our enthusiasm and unique training approach were well received! In September 2017 we launched our national Digital Marketing Science course with an engaged and energized class of professionals. Our placement rates attest to the value hiring managers see in our graduates and prove GreenFig is addressing a critical need in the marketplace.

We are excited to watch the recent graduates from our Digital Marketing Science course enter the workforce and begin to make an impact in the fast-moving industry. They leave the GreenFig program confident that they are well-equipped with microdegrees in applied business science, a resume building Apprentorship and in-demand business application software certifications or readiness (e.g. Google Analytics, Marketo).

Industry-current Instructors Bring Business to Life

Some of our biggest cheerleaders have been industry professionals like you. Seasoned executives, experienced marketers, CMOs, and leaders from companies such as Engagio, Google, InsideView, Marketo, Microsoft, and Optimizely eagerly joined our ranks of industry-current instructors. They are driven by a desire to develop Business Scientists that can keep pace with a changing economy and possess an appreciation for the value of applied learning. With this foundation, our instructors are bringing business to life for our students — sharing current leading practices, engaging in pragmatic and interactive discussions, and providing hands-on, real-time feedback.

Partnerships with Business and Higher Education

Along with individuals looking to make an impact in the digital workforce, companies also recognize the value of upskilling their teams. GreenFig recently customized an in-house corporate training curriculum for Banner Health, including business science strategy, tactics, and technology to help the Banner team stay current and competitive in the dynamic healthcare space.

Looking forward, GreenFig will continue to work with companies facing the skills gap challenge to customize corporate training in business science that enable employees to learn, grow, and stay.

Also, watch for GreenFig to partner with higher education to better serve the needs of their communities with our accelerated skill development business science courses. We understand the steep challenge for higher education institutions to adapt programs to meet rapidly changing workforce requirements. Because GreenFig is uniquely positioned to keep our pulse on the changing business environment to rapidly develop relevant business science curriculum, it is a win-win – our combined strengths benefit students, local businesses, and higher-ed!

We were received with great enthusiasm at several recent conferences catering to the innovators in higher education – HERDI and ACHE. We thank you for the overwhelming support and inspiration.

Kudos to Our Founders, Advisory Team, and Community Partners

It is the amazing leadership team – our founders, Advisory Board, and community partners – who all make GreenFig’s mission possible. They bring a wealth of experience in – and passion for – digital and business transformation, higher education, technology, and marketing. We are thrilled with their commitment and partnership in building the market leader in applied business science for high demand jobs in the digital economy.

Specific kudos to co-founder Cari Baldwin, who was recently named one of the Top 35 Women in B2B Marketing. We are honored to have Cari’s expertise and leadership in guiding our Digital Marketing Scientists.

Lastly, we would like to thank other powerful partners for making our programs possible including Justine Evirs with Paradigm Switch enabling veteran funding and participation and  Coco Brown and the Athena Alliance for supporting our efforts to bring talented women to the forefront in our Advisory Board selection process.

What’s in Store for 2018

New this year, look for an 8-week immersion program scheduled for Summer 2018. Our popular 16-week Digital Marketing Science course will return in Fall 2018 as well as a new bevy of business science courses in other verticals.

We will expand our reach by partnering with local community colleges and higher education institutions.  Keep your eyes on the GreenFig website and watch your email to learn more!

As we embrace the new year, we are inspired by the leaders – civic, educational and business – seeking to solve the incredible challenge of providing relevant, cost-effective programs to enable lifelong learning for a diverse workforce required for today and tomorrow.

To lifelong learning,

Libby Unger

CEO and Co-founder 

GreenFig – A Micro Education Company 

@GreenFigME

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Our Student Stories blog series highlights the experiences of GreenFig students currently enrolled in our Digital Marketing Science course. Here, we'll introduce you to several current students, find out what drove them to GreenFig, what skills they're developing right now, and what they aim to achieve with their microdegree from GreenFig. Bridging the skills gap for veterans As Renée Hamilton-McNealy began preparing for a career change after nearly two decades in and out of active military service, she knew she didn’t need another college degree. After all, she already holds a bachelor’s in financial services and an MBA in finance, not to mention loads of management and leadership experience as a Master Sergeant in the Army Reserve. Rather, she was looking for a targeted, focused program that could help her develop the up-to-date technology skills she needed to land a marketing position now, but was discouraged by other programs she researched. “I was looking for more specialized education than what a general degree could offer,” explains Renée. “I wanted to prepare myself for life after I completely retire from the military, and to feed my passion for marketing.” Renée discovered GreenFig through The Paradigm Switch, a nonprofit that helps link military veterans and their spouses to prestigious skill-based training programs. “I’m not afraid to start over,” she says. “I wanted to challenge myself.” Renée explains that she wanted to gain skills in marketing analytics, and become proficient with tools that measure the impact of a campaign’s effectiveness. Renée enrolled in GreenFig’s Digital Marketing Science course remotely from the Bay Area, and says that the program offered a healthy, collaborative learning environment where she felt supported. “I learn best in my own environment and in my own space,” she says. “I liked not having to physically commute someplace. With GreenFig, the communications options are endless, and there were always ways to connect inside and out of the classroom.” Looking back, Renée says it was her instructors’ enthusiasm and ability to teach their craft that confirmed she had found the right program. “I just love the fact that the instructors, who are accomplished and experienced, were just as passionate to share their knowledge with us as we were to learn it,” she says. “And they had more than just experience, they also know how to teach. Just because you are a subject matter expert, doesn’t mean that you know how to transfer that knowledge so that someone else can comprehend it.” Renée believes GreenFig’s training courses are ideal for veterans, who are accustomed to targeted, hyper-focused skill development and who thrive in hands-on, real-world environments where those skills can be quickly applied. Applying the digital marketing skills she’s developed over the past 16 weeks to a real-world marketing campaign for a real-world company is an ideal application exercise for veterans like her, says Renée. “In graduate school, I did case studies,” she recalls. “What we’re doing now is benefitting a real company.” Armed with a unique set of skills -- digital marketing, finance and management -- upon graduation, Renée is hoping to join a marketing team where she can specialize in marketing analytics and social media management. “What GreenFig offers is what I needed,” she says. “To challenge me, allow me to get certifications, provide relevant and modern information, and give me the opportunity to immediately apply and exercise this knowledge in the marketplace.” Advance your skills and set your next big challenge at GreenFig. Check us out at www.greenfig.net.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

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