Larry Hipp, CEO of Brightwell, Shares his Journey and Wisdom

Headshot of Brightwell CEO, Larry Hipp.A person holding a tablet with icons on it.

Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with a true industry leader, Larry Hipp, the CEO of Brightwell, a global payments and financial services provider. In this insightful conversation, we delve into the world of leadership, business resilience, and the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship.

As the captain of the ship at Brightwell, Larry Hipp has steered the company through turbulent waters and emerged stronger than ever. In this interview, he shares his experiences, knowledge, and valuable lessons learned along the way.

In a world where businesses faced unprecedented challenges in 2020, 2021, and 2022, Larry reflects on the transformative power of effective communication, the importance of a strong company culture, and the remarkable ability to adapt and innovate when faced with adversity.

We explore Larry’s vision for Brightwell’s future in the fast-paced digital landscape of 2023 and beyond, as well as his personal insights on what it takes to lead and succeed in today’s business world.

Join us on this journey as we gain unique insights from a CEO who understands that success is not a one-size-fits-all concept and that clear communication is the key to unlocking the full potential of any organization.

We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.

Larry Hipp: With more than 18 years in technology and product development, I serve as the CEO at Brightwell, a global payments and financial service provider. As an experienced engineer, consultant, and sales manager, I have a proven track record of delivering digital products and leading groups to success.

What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?

Larry Hipp: Early on in my career, I equated my title, the hours I worked, and the money I made with success. This served me well, but I wish I understood that there are many different definitions of success. Getting to the next big promotion isn’t everything.

I like to think of this as a dial – sometimes, you have to turn the dial towards work to get the promotion or close the sale, and at the same time, it’s okay to turn the dial the other way.

It’s imperative that you tune your dial toward what you need for the season you’re in. You might need to turn it back towards life to travel the world, start a family, or a plethora of other reasons.. The key thing to remember is to not be frustrated by others who turn their dials in the opposite direction – it’s hard to have both, but you can still be successful.

As we head into some tremendous growth in the next quarter, it’s important to me that while we grow and scale, our team understands this. When everyone feels comfortable with their own personal version of success, knows what we’re doing and why – that’s our secret Brightwell sauce.

Here is a two-fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?

Larry Hipp: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. In my experience, I’ve found that there’s never enough time, money, humans, or runway to achieve a goal. I’ve learned the best way to realistically accomplish goals is to build a company culture where everyone not only truly understands what we’re doing, but believes in what we’re doing.

We spend a lot of time working on this “connective tissue” so that everybody understands where we’re going. Good company culture is not a naturally occurring thing; it has to be an executive-sponsored initiative that permeates the whole organization.

Brightwell has risen to the occasion – from the outside looking in, we might look three to five times bigger than we are because of what we’re able to accomplish when everyone is “rowing in the same direction.”

Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?

Larry Hipp: We just came out of a world-changing pandemic. Most people have taken the time to assess what they want out of life and turn the dial in a different direction.

This poses a challenge because standard business practices and expectations are now wildly different–however, it has also created opportunities for us to expand where we hire from, allowing us to grow our team on a global scale. On the other hand, since we are no longer in one place, it’s extremely difficult to keep everybody “rowing in the same direction”.

Right now, the challenge for us is continuing to champion a strong organization that isn’t top-down, but a community of work that people want to opt into because they feel a real connection to what they’re doing.

In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?

Larry Hipp: For me, it’s communication. Especially now, when economic headwinds are rearing their head, people are anxious about what is coming next. A leader should always clearly communicate what’s happening and any potential outcomes with their team – in my experience, authenticity is the best way to move through challenging times.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, our team, like teams across the world, was facing a mountain of uncertainty. At the time, our only product helped to manage global payroll distribution for some of the biggest names in the cruise industry. How long could our employees keep their jobs? How long could we last without the cruise industry running?

Thankfully, an emphasis on communication and our strong culture pushed us forward. We banded together as a team, remained as transparent as possible, and came out on the other side with two new products: Arden and ReadyRemit.

Those two years were the proudest of my career. The level of sacrifice and commitment from the team to not only hold down the line throughout the cruise shutdown, but also build for the future, will always be a special moment in time for Brightwell.

On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?

Larry Hipp: I’d choose the ability to make sure that communication is crystal clear throughout our entire organization. When a company is small, it’s easy for everyone to understand where we’re headed, but as you scale, naturally, layers start to happen.

Once a new layer is introduced, the telephone game is inevitable – leading to wasted time when folks do what they think they should be doing, rather than what they know they should be doing.

Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Larry Hipp for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.

If you would like to get in touch with Larry Hipp or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page

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