A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed and maintaining a connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we've got a plan.
Introducing, We are #OKGNtech. A showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along on the blog and on Instagram @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Erin. Erin Athene Fisher is the CEO/Co-Founder of Purpose Five and Mint C.R.O. When she’s not providing training on conversion optimization using an engineering approach to marketing, you’ll find Erin supporting women in tech programs, or jamming with her family on her bass guitar.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
Purpose Five operates out of Canada, and our sister company, Mint C.R.O., operates out of the U.S. My business partner, Jessica Jobes, works out of Seattle, and I work in Kelowna. We are grateful that our companies are 100% remote, so we can attract top-tier talent in Victoria, Edmonton, Montreal, and across the U.S., from L.A. to Boston.
What do you do there?
I co-founded an executive training company to teach a proven 3-step formula to remove marketing blind spots and unleash business growth potential just like the Big Dogs: Amazon, Netflix and Facebook. It’s for business owners and marketers who may not have million-dollar budgets and thousands of engineers. We provide an 8-week training called Conversion Experts: Business Growth Backed by Science.™
How were you first introduced to the OKGNtech community?
When I co-founded a software startup in Seattle and built it from $0 to $20 million in 17 months, it failed abruptly shortly after. My journey to finding the ‘beauty in the ashes’ was in large part thanks to VIATEC for inviting me to be an advisor (EiR) to early-stage tech CEOs. I believed it would have been a disservice to my mentors to not share what I’d learned from that success/failure, and pay it forward. In 2014, I attended my first Executive-in-Residence (EiR) Summit in Kelowna where I met Accelerate Okanagan’s EiRs, and—little did I know then—my future husband, Sam Fisher (CEO of Hyper Hippo) who was a fellow EiR at the time!
What made you want to start Purpose Five/Mint C.R.O.?
I was running a web development company/digital marketing agency building gender-inclusive software and websites, and dealing with the stressful “feast or famine” roller coaster of clients and revenue. I met my business partner, Jess, who had cracked the code on predictable growth by using an engineering approach to marketing. I tested the methodology on one of my clients, quadrupling their conversion rate after a few months and reducing their ad costs. So Jess and I partnered up and launched our training company, applying this same methodology to grow our own business.
How did you get into this kind of work?
One of my mentors said to me, “go where you’re celebrated, not tolerated.” As a woman in tech, I was often the only woman advisor in the room—or the only woman leader in Advisory Board meetings—and began to feel tolerated, not respected. So I wanted to create positive work environments for myself and other women. This is why I co-founded the Junior Developer Accelerator, Purpose Social, with Dr. Yvonne Coady, and eventually Purpose Five where we created gender-inclusive software for the BC government.
How do you like to give back or add value to the community?
To give back to the community, it’s important to me to provide a greater understanding of the inherent bias in technology from a gender-inclusive lens, and make digital skills far more accessible and empowering for women and girls. In service of this, I created FLIP THE SWITCH: Women in Tech Mastermind Intensive, helped launch the Victoria Chapter of Ladies Learning Code, and started a new Lighthouse Labs location to bring coding boot camps to Victoria. Currently, I’m serving as the Chair of the Advisory Board and partner on W Venture. With Mint C.R.O., we have also invested thousands of dollars in scholarships for entrepreneurs and women-owned companies to learn to accelerate their business growth.
What’s the best piece of advice you like to share?
Entrepreneurs often put a lot of emphasis on the product, the IP, the thing that they’re passionate about. And when I was an advisor to tech CEOs, I repeatedly saw this same issue: you can have an amazing product, do all the market research and validation, and have a product that is in demand, but if you don’t have a team that can actually execute—and work together collaboratively—all of your work will be for naught.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
I want to contribute to shifting the paradigm of what digital and tech is, especially for women and girls. I want to help people find strengths in themselves that they didn’t know they had, and create opportunities for people to grow themselves and their companies beyond what they ever thought possible. Technology creates the future. A strong balance of women who create—and lead—in technology will ensure that we create a future where everyone thrives.