The traits of confidence, perseverance, creativity, effective communication, and a knack for innovation are all essential to the personality of a good business leader.
Good leaders set realistic goals and strive to achieve them while keeping in mind prevailing economic conditions and the limitations of the business. They implement revolutionary ideas, attract positive attention, and leave a lasting good impression on the people with whom they interact.
Mark Sawyier, the CEO and Co-founder of Bonfyre, is a great example of an accomplished and widely respected leader. He is a dynamic problem solver proficient at product, strategy, and business development.
Mark founded his first company, an off-campus apartment website, as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis. Today, the avid entrepreneur delivers his unique brand of inquisitiveness, inventiveness, and expertise to companies ranging from Fortune 500s to early-stage startups.
Mark is also active in local charities such as COCA, Saint Louis Art Museum, and Peter & Paul Community Services.
Talking about Bonfyre, he reveals that its focus stems from his personal philosophy of business leadership, “I believe people are the most valuable asset of any successful company. Maintaining a workplace culture that benefits employees has become my passion for the sake of the employee as well as for the continued growth of the organization.”
Over the last decade, Mark has consciously and continually strived to develop personal characteristics critical to the success of his employees and his business. However, he acknowledges that the humility to acknowledge what one does not know, and to recognize that one cannot do everything are also important traits of a successful leader. “Success requires a great team and humility is an important part of teamwork,” he explains.
Mark stresses on the importance of creativity in determining what the vision of a business is, and also in navigating challenges along the journey. He believes in perseverance and optimism through the tough times that will inevitably come – those traits have the power to inspire a team to overcome great odds.
A Paradigmatic Innovation
Bonfyre has its headquarters in St. Louis, where it was founded in 2012. It is a mobile-first communications platform designed to support employee engagement. Bonfyre empowers people to connect, communicate, and engage.
Bonfyre’s concentrated focus on human interaction enables organizations to leverage their investments in human resources, events, communications, and employee engagement. This leads to more actionable intelligence on which investments in the workplace are having a positive impact.
The platform is designed to support dynamic, interactive communications upwards, downwards, and across organizations to engage every employee, regardless of department or title.
Bonfyre’s platform helps companies like Express Scripts, Schnucks (a regional grocery store), and Commerce Bank foster relationships that give leaders powerful people-intelligence to keep their culture moving forward.
The company’s co-founders started the platform as a way for people to communicate with people they cared about, organized around topics about which they are passionate. The organization has stayed true to this vision and focused on bringing it to life within the workplace. Although Bonfyre began as a social communications platform, it quickly evolved to meet the growing needs of the enterprise technology marketplace.
Today, Bonfyre’s team and its portfolio have grown exponentially, creating a platform that helps companies around the globe build an engaged workforce and promote vibrant work culture. It aims to change the way workplaces develop and thrive.
From Simple Beginnings
Bonfyre was first launched with limited resources and, in one of its early iterations, was a corporate event app that set itself apart by focusing on attendee communication.
The company’s pivotal moment came when the co-founders saw that event users continued to leverage Bonfyre as a way to communicate beyond the event. They realized that there was a powerful connection between company events, a ‘bigger picture’ culture, and employee engagement priorities.
This marked the company’s transition from corporate events to a communications platform, with events becoming one of many avenues designed to drive and bring together key culture points such as employee communication, recognition, and surveys.
Devising an effective, practical strategy to overcome obstacles and differences is a vital part of a leader’s business responsibilities.
Heading a startup with limited resources, Mark wore many hats in the early years, striking a balance of the pursuit of a long-term strategic and financial vision for the company with the flexibility required to make it successful in the short term.
Mark reveals, “As a young leader, my biggest obstacle was limited experience. The first company I founded gave me a solid foundation, but Bonfyre was a very different endeavor.”
Passing the Baton
When asked what advice he would give the next generation of aspiring business leaders, Mark says, “The only thing you know for sure about your business plan is that it’s wrong. Over time, you’ll have to reshape your plan to account for the marketplace and organizational growth. Everything will become more predictable as the foundation of your business becomes stronger and the path to achieving the long-term vision becomes clearer.”