SurveyMonkey Chief People Officer, Becky Cantieri


Survey Monkey is the premier surveying tool on the market. And if you're company isn't surveying employees and interviewees, you're doing it wrong. Becky Cantieri, Survey Monkey's Chief People Officer, lays out how they keep their finger on the pulse of candidates and employees alike.

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Announcer: Hide your kids. Lock your doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up, boys and girls. It's time for 'The Chad and Cheese Podcast'.

Joel: Boy, oh boy, kids, do we have a treat for you. Chad, this is when you do the monkey sound. Ready? Go.

Chad: I'm not good at monkey sounds, at all.

Joel: Oh okay, monkey sounds. We'll do that in editing. Guys, we have a really cool show for you this month. Survey Monkey, a name some of you will know, some of you will not. We have the Chief People Officer from Survey Monkey, Becky Cantieri. Becky, welcome to the show.

Becky: Hi. Hi, thanks so much for having me.

Joel: You bet. Becky's a little nervous. I don't know if she's ever heard the show

before.

Chad: She hasn't.

Joel: She might be shell shocked after this. But Survey Monkey has a cool new product for HR folks and employment brand people, but we understand that recruiters, vendors, HR folks listening to our show may not know who Survey Monkey is. Becky, give us the elevator pitch on you, what you do, and who you do it for.

Becky: Sure. So I am Becky Cantieri, I'm the Chief People Officer at Survey Monkey, and I'm thrilled to be the Chief People Officer at Survey Monkey. I like to think that I'm responsible for the candidate and the employee experience. Everything we do at Survey Monkey is in service of two really important constituents. One is building a really strong business, and the second is the employees in which we serve.

Chad: Excellent, excellent.

Joel: Lovely.

Chad: So Becky, that's the Survey Monkey stuff. We're going to spend a lot of time talking about Survey Monkey, I promise. Right now-

Becky: Great.

Chad: I would like to kind of dig deep into your dark past at Yahoo. No, seriously. You were at Yahoo for what? 11 ... for a good amount of time, and there was a lot going on back then. I mean, from 2000 all the way through 2011, a lot going on then. Give us a little background about what you did at Yahoo, and give us a little flavor of Becky.

Becky: Sure. So yes, indeed. I spent almost 12 years at Yahoo, and it was absolutely a life changing career experience. Believe it or not, I started my career there in the recruitment function, I was the only product management recruiter at the time. I spent a few years doing that, and then quickly assumed responsibility for all systems, programs, and infrastructure across recruiting. From there, I spent about four or five years doing mergers and acquisitions, so the HR seat at the table, working with our leadership team and our corporate development team to evaluate and ultimately acquire or invest in almost 35 companies. So you can imagine, at that clip, if you sign and close 35 deals, you're doing diligence on a lot of deals. So that was

a really, really great experience.

Becky: And then I moved into more of a traditional HR business partner role, supporting a number of different organizations across Yahoo, from technology teams, to marketing organizations, and did a few chief of staff stints in between. It was ultimately that business partner experience and M&A experience that introduced me to Dave Goldberg, who was the CEO of Survey Monkey at the time, and that is what kind of aided the transition, moving from Yahoo over to Survey Monkey.

Chad: Nice.

Joel: Before we transition, I'm going to have to interrupt. So you were around when Hot Jobs was there, right? At Yahoo?

Becky: Yes. Hot Jobs had been acquired.

Joel: Ah, so did you work with Dan Finnigan? Currently at Jobvite.

Becky: Yes, he was the CEO of ... at the time. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joel: So were you around during the Yahoo Hot Jobs Dice acquisition? And if so, do you have any little anecdotes that you'd like to share?

Becky: I don't have any great anecdotes to share.

Joel: Just kidding. So Marissa Mayer, were you in for any of that stuff?

Becky: No, actually she joined shortly after I left. I left during the Carol Barts era.

Chad: Nice.

Joel: Got you.

Becky: Yes.

Joel: Okay, let's move on to Survey Monkey. A lot of our listeners don't know Survey Monkey, we'll get to that. But I've been using Survey Monkey, little known secret, since about 2004 or so. It was a tool a long time ago for marketers. The story is pretty interesting, and I've only heard tidbits and folklore about it. Help me set the record straight about the history of the company.

Becky: Sure. So I'm glad to hear that you're a Survey Monkey user, that's great. And where it all started, so Ryan Finley is our founder, and about 19 years ago, he was actually doing an internship project where he was tasked with doing some market research. He looked for a tool to use and wasn't able to find anything that met his needs, so he started to build what you currently know today as Survey Monkey. And he built it for his own use and then made it available to other users. He, shortly thereafter, kind of hired his brother as the business began to pick up, and they uprooted the business from Madison, Wisconsin to Portland, Oregon.

Becky: Then, the viral nature of the product really took off. At its very core, Survey Monkey is a survey platform that has this great viral component. You create a survey, you deploy a survey, you gather responses from your survey respondents, and then on the heels of that, they're able to create and deploy their own survey as well. So that's really the humble beginnings that it came from.

Becky: In 2019, Ryan raised his hand and said there's a lot of-

Joel: 2019?

Becky: I'm sorry. 2009.

Joel: This is future podcast, everybody.

Becky: Yeah. No, I'm sorry. 2009, Ryan raised his hand and said, "There's a lot of opportunity in front of Survey Monkey, and I'm just not the right person to take it to the next level." So he partnered up with Bain and Spectrum, and that's when Dave Goldberg joined to be the CEO of Survey Monkey, and they really set out on a mission at that point to grow the company, and we've scaled from 14 employees at that timeframe to now, we're up over 800 employees. We were a US language only, really accepting only US currencies. Now, the product is in 20 plus languages, operating in about that many countries around the world, and we've really kind of evolved and grown the portfolio of products and services that we offer.

Joel: So have you worked with David Goldberg?

Becky: I did, indeed. Yeah.

Joel: That's a sad story. We don't have to get into it. If people want to know, they can Google it, but he passed away a few years ago, I know. He has a famous wife who works at Facebook, but okay, interesting. Great. And that company started in what year? What's the timeline?

Becky: It started 19 years ago. So-

Chad: Do the math, Joel.

Becky: 1999.

Joel: 1999, I knew it's been a long time.

Becky: Yeah.

Chad: It doesn't take much, Becky. So as we talk about this powerful platform, and we're going to be talking about engagement, what was the genesis? Why build, engage in the first place? Was there a need you saw internally to have an HR employee satisfaction type of engagement platform for Survey Monkey? Or is this something that your clients were coming to you and saying, "Look, you do great in many other areas. Can you help us out here?"?