Bowdoin Releases Fourth Episode in AI/ML Executive Leadership Podcast Series

Posted by Emily Leinbach on September 22nd, 2020


Cover art of podcast episode 4

September 24, 2020 The Bowdoin Group, a Boston-based executive search firm with deep expertise in executive leadership search and team expansions for companies across the Innovation Economy, shares the fourth episode of the leadership podcast series “Decoding the Journey: Stories from the Technology C-Suite.”

In Episode 04 of this executive leadership series, our own Jim Urquhart (Managing Director, FinTech at The Bowdoin Group) speaks with Snejina Zacharia, CEO and Founder of Insurify, the Cambridge, MA-based virtual insurance agent powered by Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics. A featured panelist on our panel during last year’s Boston FinTech Week, Snejina is considered “the foremost female business leader in InsurTech,” having led the company to over $25 million in funding and the team has let insurance shoppers across the nation secure $10 billion in insurance coverage to date.

In our latest episode, you’ll hear more about:

  • COVID-19’s impact on their business which has led to a surge in demand
  • Recruiting talent remotely and their hiring process (they will have more employees hired during the pandemic than they started with soon!)
  • Strategies adopted during COVID-19 that have positively impacted productivity, culture, and communication
  • Leveraging artificial intelligence across the value chain of Insurify’s business

Listen to the fourth episode of our new executive leadership podcast series below on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you stream podcasts:

For more ways to consume this episode, check out the transcript of Episode 04 below:

JIM URQUHART: Hello, and welcome to Decoding the Journey, a podcast where you’ll hear more about stories from the technology C-suite, straight from the mouths of CXOS who built these companies, AI and ML have moved to the forefront in today’s enterprise software development, intersecting dozens of ecosystems. And as executive recruiters working with the software and technology companies, we’re always curious to dig deeper into how C-suite leaders get to where they are today. I’m Jim Urquhart, managing director of FinTech here at Bowdoin Group. In this series, we will explore the stories behind these companies, leaders, and from their perspective what’s going on in the industry today.

Welcome to another podcast episode of Decoding the Journey. Today we’re with founder and CEO of Insurify, Snejina Zacharia. Welcome, Snejina. Nice to have you. Thanks for—thanks for taking the time with us today.

SNEJINA ZACHARIA: Great to see you, Jim. Thank you for allowing me to be part of the podcast.

JIM: Of course, yeah. We’re looking forward to it. So why don’t we open up with a little bit of background. If you don’t mind, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and kind of especially speaking how you got to where you are today?

SNEJINA: So, um, before starting Insurify, I did a second MBA at MIT. And I previously spent about seven and a half years with Gartner, they’re a search technology company, where I was responsible for building three new lines of business. The biggest one was Europe, [the] Middle East and South Africa, [an] operational strategy research group for supply chain. And the way I started Insurify, is that I got into MIT with the idea that I wanted to start a business. And while at university, I had a minor accident, which caused a spike in my insurance premium. And I ended up searching for quotes for over three and a half hours, which was so underwhelming and confusing that it motivated me to start researching the industry. And that’s how Insurify was born.

JIM: That’s awesome. So, can you talk a little bit about—so it sounds like that was you know, largely your Inspiration, kind of going at MIT—both in terms of wanting to start a business and then also due to a kind of a personal situation. You know, you saw the problem, you know, as kind of an end user. Was there other inspiration that drove you to kind of build the company?

SNEJINA: Yes. Um, so my husband is the CTO of Kayak—now, the president. And he has been very instrumental in the very early days of setting up the business model—leveraging a lot of the best practices from a process and technology perspective. So, he was definitely a big inspiration of me feeling also more confident that together we can build that. Because a lot of the expertise that have helped Kayak become a $5 billion-dollar company have been very much helpful for building out Insurify.

JIM: That’s awesome. Well, by way of contrast, you know, my wife is an entrepreneur and you know, she’s gone out and done a great job spreading her wings, you know, almost despite me. I don’t have the entrepreneurial bug in terms of—but it’s—I imagine for you and kind of having that, you know, collective shared experience—that’s great to be able to kind of, you know, draw from and have as a good sounding board. So that’s awesome.

SNEJINA: Yes. It’s great to have somebody smart at home.

JIM: Yeah, for sure. For sure. I certainly have someone way smarter than me at home. Can you talk a bit more about Insurify to give the listeners some background on the business and where you all fit into the market?

SNEJINA: Yeah, so Insurify is an online virtual insurance agency. What we are trying to solve is—we want to demystify insurance as we know it and we want to make insurance shopping simple and empowered by advanced recommendations. And give the power to the end consumer to make the right decisions for themselves, regarding insurance coverage and the right carriers for them. So, what we did early on is that—is we have built advanced recommendation engine that allows people to easily search—compare from the carriers that are best fit for them. And also, taking it to the next level, that it is not just about price comparison, but also educating consumers on what the best—the best reviewed carriers are, and how much people like being with those carriers for certain reasons. So, the thesis behind Insurify is that there is an inherent conflict of interest that currently exists between the relationship of the customer with the carrier, as well as their relationship with the customer with the agent. And we are trying to make this process much more transparent and also build the trust of the consumer. That we are working on their behalf and that we have their best interest.

JIM: Awesome. That’s great background. And you know, without going into anything proprietary, can you talk a bit about how Insurify is doing right now, what are you seeing in the market? You know, what are you focused on for the for the balance of this year?

SNEJINA: So, we have—we live in a very, very challenging and stressful time. And we have been extremely fortunate to be in a company where the COVID situation is actually helping us. And what I mean by that is that with more people staying at home with unfortunately, unemployment going up every month, more people realize that they have to do something about their expenses. And they have more time to go home to spend at home to actually see through what—where they’re spending their money. So, saving from $500 to $1,000 dollars on your insurance premiums is not a small number. And we’ve seen an enormous growth over the last few months with record months over the last three months—month over month that has been have been fueled because of the existing situation. And we are in a fortunate position to be helping people save money and being very much pro-consumer. So—so the business is going great. We’ve hired a lot of people and we are hiring every week. So, in a few months, we will have more people that have been hired remote that we’ve never met, than we have had originally in the company. But, it’s also realization that as long as people are aligned on the common vision and the mission, and really making the industry a better place for the end consumers, we can hire people from everywhere. And people feel very motivated to—to be part of the team and to be part of solving the mission. Which has been very rewarding.

JIM: That’s awesome. Well, it’s great to hear, I mean, it’s—and in particular, you know, to be obviously in an enviable position where your business is growing. But, you know, the nature what you’re doing is helping people. Right. And saving money and making things easier. And you know—to get a quote, to get coverage and to, you know—to hopefully, you know, save some money and keep that, you know, for other things that you also need. So, I imagine that’s kind of a—a nice win-win as a, you know, as a capitalist and a human. To kind of appease both sides.

SNEJINA: A hundred percent.

JIM: That’s awesome. I’d love to talk a little bit more about—it’s great to hear that you and the business are seeing so much success and continue to hire. But that companies are—like yours are still growing. And the fact that you’re—you seem to be doing it efficiently and successfully in a period where just—it’s different and in a lot of ways more difficult for people to, you know, even just come to terms mentally with a process where you can meet someone face to face. And then you know, assuming you do hire them—which is a big if and a big kind of mental hurdle—then onboarding them. So, I realize it’s only been a few months, you know relatively speaking. But can you talk about a little bit about—you know did you have to make certain structural changes early to your process to—you know, to want to continue hiring and to get comfortable with, you know—with doing it in this new way? And like, how did you—how did you do that? How did you embrace it?

SNEJINA: So, we didn’t do any changes. And I think that the reason for that is that the business has always been a hundred percent digital. So, we did an overnight conversion switch from in-office to fully remote. What we have seen—and we have always been very diligent with the way we do interview processes and we have a lot of different levels that we go through. As well as take-home exams, in person exams, multiple different interviews with all the different stakeholders that are important to make the decision. Which has allowed us to hire amazing people. And we do value personal drive, integrity, curiosity. So, we are trying to find the people that are a good fit for our culture. As individuals and as the way they approach different problems. And they have relevant expertise, as well.

JIM: Now, have you found that culture piece to be—because obviously, that’s tough to define—whether you meet someone in person or you don’t. Culture is just such a nebulous kind of, you know—it’s fuzzy around the edges. And it’s tough to, you know—unless people experience it, it’s-it can be difficult to articulate and really, you know—you can’t really measure it in a quantitative way. How do you—has that part then been more challenging? Or like, how have you solved for kind of the culture piece? And then, you know, kind of onboarding people and getting people, you know, kind of indoctrinated into the company culture. And, you know, getting people ramped up and part of the team.

SNEJINA: So, I think there are two issues with that. First, how do we know that the person we think we are hiring is the person that we are hiring? And I think that—you can never be a hundred percent sure. But there are a lot of different interview processes that could help us through—guide us our decision making through the process. We are trying to hire for is people that are not just exceptionally smart and driven, but also have that sense of humility. That—and understanding that, regardless of their background, they don’t know it all. And there will be a learning curve coming on Insurify.

So, that’s how we’ve tried to sort of hire for the right people.

I do think that as we continue to stay working from home, keeping the cohesiveness of the team and also more the opportunity to learn about each other, beyond our work environment. When we cannot do any—or too much of socialization outside of Zoom meetings and Zoom parties or Zoom drink events. Which we try to do on a weekly basis. Will become—might become a challenge and we have t- to have that mindset of being proactive with the way we work with our different teams. And how we learn about the individual beyond the concept of work. Because that’s what creates great teams. And we are working on that. And I don’t think I have the answer, but we are just trying different things to make sure that we let people open up and sort of get to know us as well as we get to know them on a personal level—beyond professional

JIM: Well, look, I think that’s—to your point, I mean, there’s no magic—you know, bullet or perfect solution there. I think that—you know, the intent to continue to make it important and to keep focusing on trying things and seeing what works and iterate and—and evolve as a business I think is as good as any. And just, you know—I think promotes that kind of cohesive culture. And so, I think that’s great. And it sounds like you all are having a good time doing that and seeing some success. I guess to the point about thinking about your teams today—your current employees—and as you continue to hire and bring people in, how are you promoting and focusing on diversity and inclusion?

SNEJINA: Great question. And being female-led and immigrant-led, has helped us naturally be very open in terms of diversity. That said—during the last few months, we have actually created a diversity team for our company. And we’ve had multiple different meetings to think through—how can we be a little bit more open? As to the types of universities we promote or the types of people and where we post our different jobs. So, that we can be—we can solve for the potential biases that we don’t even realize that we might have. In terms of diversity today, we have almost 50/50 female versus male employees. Which is very exciting. I think it definitely helps create more normative products as a result of it. We also have people that have been born or raised in—across different countries. Or have traveled across many countries. So, I would definitely—or different sort of orientations. Which, I think, is very helpful. In helping create innovative products and innovative solutions. But, can we always be doing more? A hundred percent. I agree that it has to be an intentional focus. And it helps to start on a good—in a good way, like being a company that has already proven It’s very diverse. But it should be something that we always strive for.

JIM: I love that. Very well said. And it’s nice to—it’s nice to hear that—you know, obviously, it’s very important to you. And it’s something that you continue to think about. And you know—I think a very important word there is intentional. And you’re—you know, you’re already seeing I think some of the fruits of that. Right, and seeing what that can do for your organization. And it’s got a lot of positive ripple. So th-that’s really wonderful to hear.

I know you said from a hiring perspective that things have been largely the same, right? You don’t want to kind of completely scrap what you’ve been doing and what you’re focusing on just because we’ve had to approach the hiring process a little bit differently. But, you know—not solely focused on hiring, but just in general, over the past, you know, kind of three to six months across your business—have there been any change—and I also go back to your point about being kind of a digital-first company to begin with. So, in a lot of ways you were already kind of prepared for the way we’re operating. But, are there any changes that you’ve had to make over the last few months, just in general? And then, you know, to the extent that you have—anything that you’ve been pleasantly surprised by? Or things that you may think about adopting long-term as a part of the business?

SNEJINA:  So, initially—in the first couple of weeks we were like, “Okay, do we have to change the KPIs we are tracking?” Or, “Do we have to be a little bit more on top of different people that might be younger or early in the organization?” And then we realized that each one of our team leads has to set up their own ways of working together with their teams, and then adjust accordingly. And there are certain members that have different preferences. Some of them might be a little bit more face to face, which is through Zoom meetings, and others could be just sending messages on Slack and discussing things through more of a written communication. So, we’ve kept that very open, up to the ways the different teams would like to communicate together—results in the best possible way. What I have been very pleasantly surprised is that not only we haven’t seen a drop—in terms of productivity, but it has been the opposite effect. We’ve seen that getting people—giving people the time to be more or less on their own through their computer all day long, allows them to think clear about the business directions, the business goals, as well as what we are trying to accomplish as a company. And has brought up a lot of new ideas and a lot of opportunities in place. And in some ways, have made us more efficient. Because everybody’s busy with their different initiatives. But, at the same time, we continue to work very well cohesively as a team.

How is that going to change if we—when we continue working remotely for almost a year from now? I hope we keep—keep doing what we’re doing today. Which is being aligned around our core common vision. Being aligned around—driving, building the absolute best product for the end consumer. And then also being very much aligned around growth and profitability. Because we have been in a very fortunate position to always be a step away from profitability, and we’ve done amazingly well as a business. So, I’m hopeful that that will continue to be the way we operate.

JIM: That’s fantastic. And you spoke earlier about the—you know, that I think a lot of companies are—well, a couple really good points—one around productivity. And I think—you know, we’ve talked a lot about that internally at Bowdoin Group too. And I think most companies in this broader kind of tech and services ecosystem are finding, you know, more so than ever, that their efficiency is going up. And you know, the remote aspect I think plays well to that. You know, on the flip side, the kind of engagement factor, you know—and frankly the potential for employee burnout can be higher, right? I mean you’ve got—there’s no kind of clear lines in the sand when the day begins and when the day ends. And you know—the life of a startup as an entrepreneur like yourself, I’m sure you’re working around the clock. But, it’s just it’s a little bit different where, you know, in the morning you typically get up and do your morning routine and go to the office. And then you’d have meetings and then you come back. Or maybe you leave early one day because you have—you know, an event you have to get to. Or there’s a, you know—what have you a child event or you know, PTA meeting, you know—you name it there’s all these different factors that cause us to kind of, you know, we build our work day around.

Now, those lines are gone for the most part, right? You kind of get up and you have your cup of coffee and you could stroll right into your, you know—your spare bedroom or you’re at-home office or wherever you’re working. And you know, you could, you know—be subject to like what feels like an ongoing Zoom call from early in the morning until way past sunset. So, are you finding there’s kind of a rationalization you have to think about with people around making sure that, you know—because it sounds like your team is working quite hard. They’re aligned on the mission and vision, and they’re getting their job done. And then some. Are you finding that you have to inject a level of balance there to make sure that people are not kind of working themselves too hard?

SNEJINA: So, I’m trying to—to manage a team on sort of a more strategic level. But then everybody else has their own sort of style of managing their own teams. I think one thing that I’m concerned about is that people not are not taking vacation. And I’m the one at fault too. So, I um—it’s very difficult when your schedules get booked weeks ahead. To sort of say, “I’m going to take these week off,” and literally have the week off. I almost never have a pure vacation off. But I am concerned about the team not having vacation. So, that’s one thing that we have to keep encouraging. Because, I do think that there is a lot of value in sort of re-setting and giving yourself time to relax and really enjoy the summer. And we have a short summer here. So, it’s not like we’re going to have it for another few months. That’s the that’s the only thing—the other piece is that just being sensitive about not scheduling meetings around the clock. Like, we still are respectful of what our expected timeline of working is. And we do Slack across different times of the hour in the day—and evening or weekends—but we don’t have the expectations to have in-person meetings.

JIM: Well, that’s great. I think that’s an important point around just setting boundaries and having the right set of expectations that you know, while you’re—you’re on, you’re working hard, but it’s not you know—the expectations aren’t different in terms of people—increasing people’s workload or the time that they’re working as long as they’re delivering. And giving people some autonomy and frankly, you know, giving them a bit of a push to, you know, take it. I mean, you know—to your point about travel now and you know—the vacations we’re used to, I think some of that is limited, of course. And people aren’t taking as much time off as a result. But, you know, even if the trip to Disneyworld may not be, you know, the right call—you could still take a couple of days off and just recharge. And knowing from personal experience and from, you know, folks around our office and our clients—even a couple of days here and there, I think can really matter in terms of, you know, refilling the tank. So, I think that’s—I think those are great points on your side.

So, with respect to—you talked a bit earlier about, you know—we should give some background about Insurify and kind of the AI, ML piece. Obviously tough to miss the kind of prevalence and continued kind of expansion and adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Can you talk a little bit more about how you think about AI, ML and how you leverage it within the business?

SNEJINA: Absolutely. So, we have been in a very fortunate position very early on to build out a very robust platform that allows us to analyze every movement, every feature and then do ongoing iterations as well as experiments. So, we can do over 200 experiments on the website to continuously improve the experience. What we also did very early on is build out the platform in a way that we can track everything. And then by gathering the data, build out the machine learning algorithms to be able to improve—either the business on the customer acquisition side or on the online user experience and monetization side.

So, what I mean by that is that—big data and overall large data sets could be automated leveraging artificial intelligence by analyzing the different patterns. And connections that exists between the different large data sets—and then estimate the value of the—whether it is the click you buy or the quote click that the user selects. Based on the historic data in some projections of what that data might change over periods of time. So, Insurify is leveraging artificial intelligence in—across the value chain of our business. Everywhere from customer acquisition, to online user experience. And the type of experiences we provide with users based on where they’re coming from—through the recommendations of carriers and what types of carriers are best fit for the customers. And then, ultimately, optimizing the carriers we present based on the probability of every carrier to convert on the platform. Because all things equal, we see some carriers might be converting at two, three times the conversion rate of other carriers. So, they’re not equal. And they don’t provide the same level of customer experience to our end consumers. So, these are some of the examples where we use machine learning.

JIM: Well, it’s great to get that level of kind of explanation in depth. So, thank you for that. What about kind of competitive landscape and differentiation? It just—it feels like every company under the sun claims they’re in the AI and ML space now and you know, someone with your background could probably, you know, attest to or dispute the veracity of that statement from company to company. And I just—I imagine that makes it tougher to differentiate whether you’re talking about a growing class of startups who are trying to attack the same or similar problems. And you know, whose AI is better than the other. And then you’ve got, obviously, a big crop of or—a crop of very large technology, internet companies that have, you know, capital—that have massive data sets and scale. And that can be kind of—I’m sure rankling and confusing in the market, too. So, I know there’s a lot there. But I guess just taken away from that—the competitive landscape and how do you kind of filter out the noise? And how do you kind of stay focused on your mission and continue to differentiate in the market?

SNEJINA: This is a great question. And I think my response to that is—machine learning, or generally, AI and innovation and technology is meaningless if it’s not solving a real problem.

JIM: Right.

SNEJINA: So, a lot of people come up with ideas or new machine learning algorithms or new ways of sensing different types of behavior and data. That looks great as a concept, but they have no applicable—no useful applications to those models.

JIM: Right.

SNEJINA: So, innovation for the sake of innovation without the actual application and without that making actual revenue through that application is—in my opinion, meaningless. There’s the other piece we’ve machine learning and what you mentioned about—sort of understanding what is noise and what is reality. And it is very difficult for an early stage startup to claim machine learning if they don’t have either third party data that they can automate from, or they have massive amounts of their own data. And one of the issues in the industry is how do these super innovative machine learning companies be able to leverage the data from their carrier partners—or carrier competitors in some case—to be able to really get their business to the next level? Because the carriers are the ones that have enormous amounts of data. Often by not using it to their best ways in terms of automation, pattern recognition and innovation. The younger stage companies are the ones that could make a good use of it, but sometimes are not. Because they lack the data.

JIM: Right, well, challenges on both sides. And I think very, very well said, I mean—and I completely agree with you. We’ve—at Bowdoin Group we work with a lot of different companies that are kind of—some way shape or form connected into the, you know, AI, ML space. You go back a handful of years and you know, kind of in the early waves of, you know, big data and you know—now and then there was a lot of these kind of somewhat vague, you know, “We’re a big data company, we’re a big ML company.” It’s almost like a, you know—a solution looking for a problem, right? Or a mousetrap looking for mice. And you know—versus the other end of it as being very specific about what problem you’re trying to solve. And, yes, we’re going to leverage AI, ML or some sort of big data analytics platform to get to a better, faster outcome for our customers. But, absent that, it’s really tough to latch on. I think you’ve got to get very specific for—and then almost earn the right to kind of broaden—you know, broaden your wings and your approach to the market. So, I agree with you.

SNEJINA: Exactly. And the ultimate goal shouldn’t be, “What is the best model I can build?” It should be, “What is the problem I’m solving?” And then may I apply some advanced model to be able to make that solution more powerful or really drop—solve the problem in a better way?

JIM: Right. And that’s very well said. Great point. One of the things—so you mentioned earlier about anything was relative to your kind of team building and hiring philosophies. You talked a bit about bias. What about bias in AI? I mean, how do you think about that, in terms of like—from an internal perspective and how you’re kind of building, you know, and leveraging your technology? But also, you know, on behalf of your customers and partners?

SNEJINA: Great question. So, we’ve had conversations where we’ll test very different models. And sometimes we will find out that simplified model may do better in terms of outcomes, and monetization and profitability than a more advanced model. So, we are not married to the complex solution for the sake of, “Oh this is an absolute brilliant machine learning algorithm that we have to use.” We’re testing a lot of different models all the time. And often, a simplified solution might be the winning way to run a specific problem. Compared to a more advanced solution.

JIM: No, I think that—I think that’s right. I mean, you know, not assuming that, you know—exactly what you’re looking for and having the, you know—and being intentional about testing a variety of different things. You know, I think that the more you’re-you know—not coming to the table saying, “We’ve got the solution.” Versus like being as comprehensive as you can in terms of testing out different ways it means to get to the answer. I think that’s, you know—more and more you’re going to be promoting the elimination of bias. And trying to roll with that—because just inherently it’s going to be there, and how do you, you know—how do you make sure that it’s not going to influence the decision—such that it compromises the integrity of what you’re trying to do as a business? But then also impacts your, you know—your customers and your partners. So, th-that’s great.

You know, I guess shifting back to you as an individual. You talked a little bit about your kind of inspiration initially to—you know, kind of build a business and you know what got you onto the track with—with Insurify. I guess, you know—how did you catch the technology bug to begin with? And, I guess what keeps you motivated? What keeps you locked in on being an entrepreneur in the technology space?

SNEJINA: So, I was fortunate to work for international companies and software companies very early on while I was still in university in Bulgaria. Back in the day. So, it always fascinated me, how much—and this was during the dot-com [bubble]. So, it was—what was happening at that time was absolutely fascinating. So, I think that I always had a bias towards fast-moving companies and very agile teams. What keeps me motivated is a couple of things. Number one, we are solving a real problem and, and the opportunity is so massive. Not just in the United States, but also worldwide. That it could be a business—it could be a business that is helping millions of people every day. Protect their families and save money. On the other hand, the ability to be able to bring and build a team that is cohesive, aligned and works great together is amazing motivation. And the impact that each one of the team members are—is making with their own contribution and the new ideas that they’re bringing—is a great motivation factor for me as well.

JIM: That’s awesome. I think those certainly sound like very motivating—very motivating elements. I guess knowing what you know, now—you know, as a professional, as a business leader—kind of where you sit today. You know, if you were to go back in time to the beginning of the journey, you know—anything you would tell your-your-kind-of-you-know—what your future self would tell your old self at that point? Anything that you would kind of change knowing what you know?

SNEJINA: Um—so two things. Probably, the first one is I wish I had joined—when I moved to the United States that I had joined another early stage company and kept working within the—sort of the internet startup space versus joining a large consulting technology company. I think that’s number one. Even though my learnings there were amazing. And I find it a great—that I had a great experience. The second one is—I will just tell myself to be a little bit more patient. And just keep at it and keep going. But—know that there will be an ups and downs and be realistic that the journey is not going to be all a bed of roses. (laughing) And there are certain—and that you have to enjoy. And then the final one , enjoy the small wins because the destination is very far. And we do have great ambitions for the company. But, we have to appreciate the small wins.

JIM: I think that’s very sage advice. And you know, “patience is a virtue,” as they say. But I—you know, I have to imagine that there’s a level of impatience you need to be a good—you know, entrepreneur. I mean, you know—early on were like, “Hey, this took me several hours to kind of sift through all of this nonsense to find the right quote and find the right, you know, solution for me.” And, you know, probably said, “Enough’s enough, let me let me try to solve that problem.” Right? So, I think, you know—being too patient, you know, you probably just let it slip by and not do it. So, I’m sure there’s got to be some level of a balance.

SNEJINA: Yeah.

JIM: So, let’s—let’s end on a personal note. I think our listeners would love to, you know—as they’ve heard about you as a professional; they’ve heard about your business; they’ve heard about your market views. This is—this is all really great, great stuff here. Talk a little bit about—or if you can share with us—maybe an interesting or lesser known—or kind of a fun fact about you.

SNEJINA: So, I have two kids. 11 and 13 years old. Which I love to the moon and back. And I love skiing. And sometimes I do competitions. Ski competitions.

JIM: Okay!

SNEJINA: Which has been a new passion of mine, since we had the kids.

JIM: Interesting. Okay, so that’s—okay, so your risk taking has gone up. You know—

SNEJINA: (laughing) With the kids.

JIM: With the kids, that’s interesting—

SNEJINA: (laughing)

JIM: It’s usually—the ratio usually levels off. Now, are we talking like kind of slalom? Are we talking mogul? Like what type of—what type of racing?

SNEJINA: Yes, slalom and downhill.

JIM: Oh, wow. Okay, so—

SNEJINA: But again, I’m not mature. I’m not pretending to be in any way professional. But it’s something that I got to appreciate through the kids and their experience ski racing.

JIM: Oh, interesting. So, did you get them on the—on the racing circuit early?

SNEJINA: Yes, yes. They started on the (unintelligible) race team. So, we got there in the winter. And it has been a great part of our winters.

JIM: Alright. Well, so picking up some, you know—some of the buzz from the kids in terms of getting them on the skis and that motivated you. So, clearly going back to the beginning and you know—what kind of motivated you initially and you know—your husband’s background too, it seems like you’re very connected to your family. And on the professional and personal side th-that’s served you quite well.

SNEJINA: Yes, I am very fortunate.

JIM: Awesome. Well, that’s a—that’s a great way to wrap up. I love that. And, again, we’ve been talking to Snejina Zacharia, who’s the founder and CEO of Insurify. So, again, thank you. We know you’re super busy. This was great. And we appreciate you—you joining us.

SNEJINA: Thank you so much, Jim. Nice to be with you.

JIM: Awesome. Well, that’s great.

SNEJINA: Thanks.

JIM: Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Decoding the Journey here with The Bowdoin Group. Don’t forget to subscribe to and like our podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you stream. And subscribe to our blog at bowdoingroup.com for the latest episodes when they drop.

Do you know an incredible technology C-Suite leader who has a story to tell? Send an email to Jim Urquhart, Rachel Kohn, or Paul Manning if you have a suggestion for our next guest on “Decoding the Journey.”

About The Bowdoin Group

Founded in 1994, The Bowdoin Group is an award-winning executive search firm that specializes in leadership and strategic roles, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services, and major hiring projects for a wide range of companies, from small firms building out their executive team to larger firms sourcing talent for rapid market expansion. With deep expertise in BioPharma, Digital Health, FinTech, and Software & Technology, Bowdoin is a national leader with the ability to source talent and service companies globally. The company’s service reputation has earned it a ranking in the top 2% of the recruiting industry for client satisfaction year after year. The Bowdoin Group is also active in supporting the local entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as several non-profit causes, including Life Science CaresNEVCAHack.Diversity, and FinTech Sandbox.

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