A Conversation with Christine Hutchison
A Conversation with NAWBO member Christine Hutchison of Proxfinity about why her tech company went against the tide to innovate, the experiential economy and the state of her kitchen.
Give us a thumbnail to becoming a co-founder of such a geeky/innovative/futuristic/disruptive tech company in Chicago?
Some of the best innovations are simple ideas that understand societal trends and think outside the box. We started with an idea to connect people in close proximity with shared interests. And we were going to do it without depending on the use of an app or cellular service – in a time when others were focused on launching apps. To innovate is to go against the current.
With 21 years invested in your field, what is one thing NAWBO readers need to know about marketing and brand strategy in 2017?
The market has moved from content provided marketing to deeply knowing what audiences want. Be deliberate and targeted in your messaging. Millennials and Gen Z expect you to know everything about them and to deliver your message at a time when they are ready to receive it.
How has NAWBO influenced you as a business leader in Chicago?
We launched our company at the 2015 Chicago Thrive Conference. We will always appreciate that opportunity and the support of the NAWBO community. NAWBO has opened my personal networking to strong yet personable women leaders.
How do you use your NAWBO membership?
NAWBO members are collaborators and connectors. Through NAWBO CONNECTS, member coffees and the various energizing events, I have gained valuable insights, business intelligence and resources that helped launch two businesses.
Proxfinity is all about making connections. Why is this more important for businesses today than ever before?
We live in an economy that is built around personalized experiences. Since half the workforce entering the marketplace is millennials, companies and HR departments need to understand how face-to-face connections can integrate employees faster and deeper into their culture, shorten the onboarding period, and increase retention rates.
How can we "future-proof" our business for greater sustainability?
Always be innovating to stay ahead of future trends. Be prepared to be uncomfortable. Be open-minded to where your business will take you and think big picture. Facebook started as a way to identify good looking girls, now it makes billions selling target ads.
What do you do on the personal side that makes you a rock star on the business side?
I live by the saying, "You can have it all, but you just cannot have it all at once." Our business might be thriving but the kitchen never seems to be in order. In following that theme, my father always told me to pick two areas of interest to focus on. So if it is work and family, then expect your social life to take a side step.
Favorite NAWBO event?
NAWBO Thrive of course, when we launched our business in 2015.