Leader spotlight: Craig Collier


Q: How did you get into the technology field?

A: Very early in my career, I worked in banking in a department that identifies discrepancies in cashier’s check and money order accounts. I created a check exception tracking system in Lotus 123. Eventually, it got to the point where everyone on the banking floor adopted my system to help us identify imbalances.

That’s when I got the bug. I just got really enamored with tech and wanted to stay thoroughly immersed in it. So, I started working as a temp building websites and eventually, it led me to join Snowflake, and then to Green Leaf.

Q: Why did you join the Green Leaf team?

A: I was with Snowflake for the past six years, but I worked with [Green Leaf Founding Partner] Kevin Bucher for the six years prior to that. I wanted to be somewhere where I could continue to focus on Snowflake and solve business challenges. I had gotten to know many of the Green Leaf team already through previous work, so when an opportunity opened up to build out their Snowflake practice, I decided this was the place to go.

Q: Can you tell us about your journey and how your past experiences have led you to specialize in Snowflake?

A: Back in 2014, when Snowflake became generally available, that made it possible to load and query data simultaneously, which was groundbreaking at the time. Because of the way they architect the platform, it allowed you to do this without disruption, which is something I had always wanted to do with other platforms I was comfortable using.

I started diving more into their strategy and what they were trying to do around low maintenance and ease of use, and that led me to Snowflake first as a user, and eventually to me working for them.


Q: What aspects of business development are you most passionate about, and how do you see these aligning with your role at Green Leaf?

A: It started when I worked at Snowflake, and got to learn from some very gifted individuals. Here I saw how the marketing, sales, and delivery (the trifecta) functions came together to attract new business and create more opportunities for the company.

Coming in on the ground floor in these efforts with Green Leaf is exciting, as I get to help with their implementation in a very intimate way. At my core, I’m a very entrepreneurial person, so this role fits squarely in my wheelhouse.

Q: Can you share a specific goal or project you’re aiming to kickstart in your new role? What makes this especially important to you?

A: My core focus right now is to really help Green Leaf build more of a thought leadership presence, and bring Snowflake solutions based on an industry context. For example, I like to be specific, so instead of saying, “We do software development” say “We help you onboard new business faster.”

Being sales-minded and business development-focused is always about value. It’s like I’m trying to match a technical solution to a business value in an industry context. I’ve been doing this for a while, and now the Green Leaf team is thinking that way, too.

Q: As the latest addition to the Green Leaf team, how do you see your role evolving, and what are the key contributions you aim to make?

A: From the business development perspective, obviously in the beginning it’s about acquiring new clients. But once we’ve gained momentum and we’ve captured enough new business, we’ll then need to optimize our sales process by getting the mechanics and procedures cemented.

At some point in the future, I would love to help run and enable business development not only from a technical selling perspective but also from the non-technical perspective. I think there’s a lot I bring to the table there.

Q: Can you tell us about a personal philosophy or approach that guides your work in tech and in serving clients?

A: Business value first. In my world, it’s about driving value by speaking to the client’s concerns. I want to match the solution to their specific business problem. I’m not trying to shoehorn them into a solution that doesn’t suit them. If what I’m offering doesn’t work for them, I’m always willing to walk away.


Q: In your opinion, what are the major trends that will shape the technology consulting industry in the next five years?

Data collaboration

Google Analytics is a perfect example of this. This data is external to you, but when you marry that with your own data, you can see trends and things that help you to manage your business much more effectively or efficiently.

Businesses that collaborate on their data produce better outcomes for their customers. That’s a huge win.

Data monetization

There are a lot of businesses that don’t know how to take the data that they collect and turn it into something that is an actual product—a data asset that becomes a product.

Helping customers uncover data monetization opportunities will be hugely important in the next few years, especially once companies figure out how to do it well.

Generative AI

Generative AI, in my opinion, is going to be the Industrial Revolution 2.0. It’s going to be a technology revolution that enables people to do things differently.

The future is going to be much more self-directed and people then will have to focus on the value-based stuff that you get from the technologies. So you need to recraft and rethink the way that you approach technology that includes generative AI.

Q: What leadership qualities do you think are most important for driving innovation in the technology side of companies today?

A: One of the one of the most important leadership qualities is integrity. I think leaders need to have integrity because that’s the only way that you drive a business forward, ethically.

Q: What’s a significant challenge in the tech space many are facing (or will soon be facing), and what, in your opinion, is a potential solution or approach to overcoming it?

A: The speed and the volume of data that businesses are collecting. I mentioned earlier about monetization and collaboration, and both of these things hinge on being able to efficiently process and work with data. Once you collect and store that data, what do you want to do with it? How do you turn that into something that benefits your company in the long run?

Businesses that can do that are the ones that will succeed. It doesn’t matter what discipline or industry you’re in, you’re going to have to be able to grapple with the amount of data and the way you transact on it. It’s the key to operating efficiently and beating the competition.

Q: How do you tailor your advisory approach to help clients not just meet but exceed their technology goals?

A: I start with developing a deep relationship that’s built on trust. That starts with understanding a person’s business, understanding their goals, and understanding exactly what they’re trying to accomplish. Taking this approach allows me to get enough information to actually solve the problem as opposed to just going in there with a solution already in mind and trying to sell my ideas. That’s how we exceed expectations.


Q: If you could have dinner with any figure from the world of technology, who would it be and why?

A: Mark Cuban. A lot of people don’t look at him as a technologist, but he is. He started out by building a technology company which he then sold. Then he built another technology company that he sold. He did it again and again and he did it in an ethical way—caring about people. When you hear him speaking about people, he doesn’t refer to people as if they’re objects. The way he talks about relations and the sociological aspect of how people interact with one another is fascinating to me. He’s ethical and a billionaireؙ—I mean, come on, you can learn a lot from a guy like that.

Q: What’s the one gadget or tech you can’t live without?

A: My phone, and devices that are interconnected.  I’m working on one computer, but I can go upstairs and work on my computer in my kitchen that has the same data and stuff on it. The same stuff is on my phone and my watch. Everything is integrated. My phone, however, is the ultimate tech gadget. I can’t live without it.

Q: Outside of work, what’s a hobby or activity you’re passionate about? How did you become involved in it and why is it important to you?

A: I like to shop for nice things with my wife. We like nice clothing, shoes, and watches. That’s one of my core hobbies, but what makes it enjoyable is doing it with my family. Spending time with my wife and doing things with my family is the goal.

I also run sports in my local community. I run a non-profit called the Lenape Valley Recreation Council. There are five sports that we offer and I’m passionate about that because I believe that playing in organized sports is important to a child’s development.

Q: Green Leaf is a place where there’s a good balance of serious business and good-natured humor. Can you give a fun example of when you’ve either doled out or been on the receiving end of some of that humor?

A: I haven’t been at Green Leaf long enough to be on the receiving end, but I’ve been around [founding partners] Kevin [Bucher] and Steve [Cammarota] for years and we have a good balance of fun. One of the reasons why I came to Green Leaf is the people. Hearing the feel-good stories and just spending time with people like Steve and Kevin, who are just generally all-around good people, makes it very enjoyable.

They know how not to take themselves too seriously. Many internal meetings end with dad jokes—Neil is the one who usually starts it off—which are terrible and the very definition of dad jokes, and then everybody starts Googling dad jokes, and we all get one in.