Protea Conversations: Jon Sooy
Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price. Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the workforce after taking time off to start a family. This allowed Protea to attract extremely talented individuals who were previously overlooked. Protea strives to represent people from all backgrounds and provide an environment for them to grow and succeed in a setting that provides the flexibility and acceptance of who they are as people.
We selected the name Protea because it is the national flower of South Africa and is a symbol of our connection. The Protea flower has become an ornamental flower because of this striking beauty and is included in arrangements and bouquets as a symbol of courage or daring to be better or a sign of positive transformation.
Protea Conversations in 2022 will focus on positive transformation and representation from all backgrounds. We are broadening our Conversations with the hope that these conversations will continue to create a forum to discuss the experiences, opportunities, and challenges leaders face, and how we can build a more diverse, inclusive, and successful environment for everyone.
A sales and marketing veteran of over 30 years, Jon’s main focus is to generate awareness, drive transactions and increase market share for BroadVision Marketing’s clients. Jon has a proven reputation for success and is known for instigating change. Jon possesses a high aptitude for presenting to and inspiring others to be creative. As CEO of BroadVision Marketing, Jon’s focus is to build a digital marketing agency that is committed to transparency and to drive its clients towards revenue acceleration and growth.
Jon is married to Laura who manages customer service for World Centric, a Sonoma County B Corp that produces compostable products for the food service industry. Jon and Laura are currently building a new home near Tucson Arizona.
Tell us about your decision to go into marketing and your journey to CEO of BroadVision Marketing?
Having recently lost my father to cancer, I can’t seem to answer that question without acknowledging the impact my father has had on my life and career. So much of who I am is directly related to my father’s influence. My father owned gas stations in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Back then, many Service Stations had repair garages and this was my playground. When I was very young, he noticed that I was quite mechanically inclined and began bringing me objects to take apart and reassemble. This gave me confidence and a great desire to understand how things worked. As I matured, this evolved to where I was interested in mechanics, electronics, software, programming and business. However I also learned that I tended to get bored with things once I mastered them. This meant I was constantly looking for something new to learn and master. When the internet began to change how we did business, I was immediately intrigued and excited by the possibilities. I still remember the first time I saw the internet in the early 90’s. I turned to the person who showed it to me and said ‘Do you have any idea what this means? What the potential is for this?’ From that point on, the internet was directly involved in my job and my life. The industry I am in is ideal for me as it appeals to almost every aspect of what excites me in life. And, I will never stop learning or become bored. It’s impossible!
What has been the biggest challenge you have experienced in reaching your current success (personally and professionally)?
Our biggest challenge in recent years has definitely been navigating the crazy business environment during the pandemic. We all heard the word ‘pivot’ a million times but for us it was quite intense as we were not only making sure that BroadVision Marketing was positioned well but were trusted advisors to our customers who were going through a wide array of challenges. I am so proud of the work we did during that time as we helped many of our customers have their best years ever.
What are your short-term goals for your career and yourself?
My short term career goal is to refine BroadVision Marketing into a well oiled machine. We are what I consider to be a boutique agency in that we do not have cookie-cutter approaches to solving our customer’s marketing challenges. Add to this the ever changing nature of our industry and you can see the challenge emerge. How can you organize a company so that all the people and processes are aligned when the search engines change the rules on a daily basis? The answer is that we as a company need to retain a certain degree of plasticity with our processes and to keep a keen eye on where we need to focus as technology and consumers continue to evolve. This plasticity and mindset are a critical component of our current success and will be for years to come.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that has helped you in your success?
“Don’t force a pass.” One of my heroes is John Wooden. As a kid I was very fortunate to attend a John Wooden basketball camp. During a practice session, I saw a teammate across the court who had an open shot at the basket. However, there were several opponents between myself and my teammate. I tried anyway. I failed. The pass I made was stolen and it resulted in an easy 2 points for our opponent. The coach paused the practice and told me that when I was confronted with a difficult decision, to take a breath, think about my options and to pursue the opportunities that had the best potential for success. I think about this almost every day when confronted with a challenge. Rarely do we end up in situations where there are no options. When I witness someone else making a poor tactical or strategic decision, you may see me whispering to myself “Don’t force a pass.”
What is the piece of advice that you wished you had gotten when you were starting out?
The one piece of advice that I wished I had gotten was that it’s ok to follow your gut. As a young business person I followed the rule book and relied on facts and figures to make decisions. However it wasn’t until I began to listen to my gut that I began to see my full potential. I don’t make all decisions by listening to my gut, but my gut certainly has an important role to play and I listen.
What advice would you give to others to help them become better leaders?
I think that the number one mistake leaders make is they are not always present when engaging with their team members. I think it is important to take the time to listen carefully to those who you lead. We are all human beings and it is so important to be mindful and intentional when listening to your team members. Get to know them as people. Get to know their talents, challenges and ideas. They will come away with the sense that you truly care about them. I firmly believe that this is the secret to getting a group of people all headed in the same direction.
Can you share something interesting about yourself that will provide insight into who you are outside of the professional space?
Because of how I was raised, I am an avid DIY person. I am comfortable repairing my cars, remodeling my home, repairing virtually anything and inventing solutions to problems. My wife once bought me a t-shirt that said “I VOID WARRANTIES” because I frequently take things apart in an effort to see how they work.
As a thank you to our interview and Protea’s commitment to more diverse and inclusive leaders, Protea will donate to Positive Images (https://www.posimages.org/). Positive Images is a grassroots nonprofit organization serving Sonoma County since 1990. Their LGBTQIA+ Community Center hosts multiple weekly support groups, a youth leadership development program, mentorship opportunities, an LGBTQIA+ Library, resource and referral station, and a Transformation Station. They proudly offer a warm, welcoming, and affirming environment for young people to explore their individual identities, develop leadership skills, and contribute to our collective community. Positive Images staff lead LGBTQIA+ Cultural Competency Trainings and presentations that educate the greater community focusing on human connection, compassion, and inclusion. Their goal is a community where all LGBTQIA+ people are valued, compassionate community members, creating a just society.
Call Protea Financial Today for More Information
If you have any questions or want to learn more, please reach out to us here at Protea Financial!