The title of CEO means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
Eight years ago when silverorange’s first CEO Dan James stepped away to focus on his family and his family business, he pointed out that he had donned the title of CEO almost as a matter of course. The founders of silverorange were committed to as flat and open an organizational structure as possible. Internally, the role required consensus building, team building, communication, and odd jobbing to make sure everything ran smoothly. It’s a definition of the role which, at the time, ran counter to many of the ideas of what a CEO should be–firebrands, iconoclasts, near-messianic figures, but tracks pretty well to the notion of “servant leadership” that’s gaining traction. It’s how the role of CEO at silverorange still operates. And that’s how we like it.
As a company we’ve hit another transition point. Isa Grant, who took over the role from Dan, is stepping away and we’re happy and excited to welcome Clare Raspopow as our new CEO! To be honest, technically the transition actually happened in January of this year. Which perhaps begs the question: why so long with the announcement? To which we will respond, a good succession takes time.
Isa has been with silverorange since the beginning and has been our CEO, friend, coworker, and so much more for the last eight years. During their tenure we’ve grown and changed tremendously as a company. Succession is normal and inevitable. It can feel scary, but it’s a chance for the company to do some self-reflection, acknowledge transformation, and reaffirm the principles on which the company operates. We chose Clare because she is smart, competent, kind, and possesses a host of skills and qualities that we know can continue to steer the current version of silverorange to maintain the legacy of excellent work and offering a people-focused humane working environment.
No one can lead forever. No one should lead forever. If you start from that truth and strip out the egos and dramatics, it is very possible to plan a transition grounded in care and support and a shared vision for the thing that everyone - and that does mean everyone - at a company works every day to build. Which is what Isa has given us and what Dan James gave us eight years ago.
While we’re sad we won’t get to keep working with Isa day to day, they remain actively involved with our Board of Directors. They will always be a part of what makes silverorange who we are. As the CFO of silverorange and as representative of both the Board of Directors and the silverorange Executive, I know that we’re excited to welcome Clare as our new CEO. Welcome!