Why Apptio was the Best Board I’ve Served On

Posted September 10, 2018 by Shasta Ventures


By Ravi Mohan

After seven years of serving on the Apptio board, I’m stepping down from what was the best board experience I’ve ever had. It’s been an honor to work closely with the Apptio team and my fellow board members to guide the company to where it is today. I’ve served on more than 30 boards during my 20-year career, and this one stands out for the fantastic people it brought together, the quality of dialogue we had as a group, and how that dialogue translated into effective leadership and growth. It showed me the potential of what a great board can be.

The Apptio board brought together people with an exceptional depth and breadth of experience. John McAdam, former CEO of F5 and board of Nutanix and Tableau; Raj Singh, former president of Concur; and Tom Bogan, former CEO of Adaptive Insights, COO of Rational and board member at Citrix, all brought operational skills from their experiences running companies and bringing them to market. Kathleen Phillips, the former CFO of Zillow, brought financial and legal expertise and Peter Klein, the former CFO of Microsoft, understood how to be at the helm of a huge public company. Matt McIlwain, the leading early stage venture capitalist in Seattle, brought his expertise in growing startups as well as his extensive Seattle network.

Each member of the board brought different backgrounds and opinions to the table. We all respected and listened to one another, which created a collaborative, constructive environment where everyone’s viewpoint was heard and accepted. That diversity of perspectives and mutual respect led to powerful, searching discussions. We didn’t always agree, but even with disagreement, the dialogue was healthy and enabled us to help Apptio make the best strategic decisions on a range of issues. We supported the team and held them accountable in a way that truly benefited the company.

Over the past seven years, I’ve learned so much about what excellence looks like in a board. I’m grateful to my fellow board members and the Apptio team for the experience, and know it will shape how I view my role as board member moving forward. Finally, it is Sunny Gupta, the founder and CEO of Apptio who deserves the credit for recruiting such a qualified and dynamic board as well as creating a productive working environment for constructive dialogue.