Q&A with Kayla Ball, Validere’s new SVP of Product

Validere is pleased to announce the appointment of Kayla Ball as SVP of Product. We sat down with Kayla to learn more about her story and outlook on the industry.

Tell us about your new role at Validere and the path you took to get here. 

A career in product management always starts with “this is a wild story…”. I am helping our product team build and deliver platform solutions in partnership with customers that solve some of the most complex challenges our industry faces. Product roles require a multi-faceted approach to delivering value. Often, we find ourselves participating in sales calls, collaborating on marketing material, and listening to our customers discuss what keeps them up at night all in one day. I landed in the product discipline because I enjoy having the accountability to deliver results and participating in so many customer-centric activities has played a significant role in my career evolution. I’ve spent over a decade in various product roles in varying company sizes and look forward to leveraging this perspective as we scale our business and platform solutions. 

What attracted you to Validere? 

My energy roots run deep. I have been so fortunate to work with all of the fantastic people within this industry throughout the years. The problems faced are often complex but the solutions are often simple. I love solving difficult problems but the journey along the way is what truly excites me. Validere is fiercely protective of its culture and lives by its’ core system of delivering value, removing friction, and scaling everyday. The talent the team has pulled together from a data science, technical and domain expertise, and leadership perspective is like finding a unicorn. I love waking up everyday thinking about all of the things I will learn and be a part of with some of the best and brightest minds I’ve encountered. 

Validere is transforming the industry through technology. Where do you believe Validere’s technology will have the greatest impact?

I love watching businesses transform themselves by leveraging technology. Understanding product quality and its changes through the supply chain have been a longstanding problem for the industry. We’ve created a system of record around quality at the molecule level to deliver value. We’ve removed friction for our customers by leveraging AI models on that system of record to give them more prescriptive and predictive insights around strategic and operational decisions that have traditionally been more reactive than proactive. We approach everything from the lens of neutrality to help provide clarity to buyers and sellers around volume and quality. It has been remarkable to witness thriving organizations after the change in their legacy business models from increased transparency and forward-looking predictions. 

What do you foresee to be the greatest change in the energy industry over the next 5 years?

This industry is constantly evolving and tackling new challenges. The problems of tomorrow require investment today to truly operationalize the business evolution required to not only survive but thrive in an uncertain world. I’m proud to be a part of the teams waking up everyday thinking about the long term initiatives and striving to make incremental progress. Leveraging tech in energy presents a unique opportunity to bring the best minds and systems together to solve really complex situations with urgency. 

If you could write a book about your life, what would the title be and why? 

A book about my life would probably be titled “The pride of being The World’s Okayest”. I get a lot of questions about life balance. I would love to tell people about my genius master plan that helped me figure it all out… but I’ve never found one. On any given day I am most likely being “The World’s Okayest” at one or several of my roles (Head of Product, customer advocate, industry evangelist, wife, mom, daughter, sibling, friend, mentor, neighbor).  I love to celebrate this as my ruthless prioritization of whatever cause needs me most at the time. I don’t need to be the absolute best at everything I do at all times and it has taken me a long time to appreciate that. Sometimes I need to have Alexa play Beyonce on Volume 20 to get out of my own head and into the action where I can make the difference when and where it counts.

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

On the weekends you can find me outdoors with my friends and family, enjoying the weather, music, and most likely with a glass of wine.

Do you have any book recommendations? 

I recommend “The Messy Middle” by Scott Belsky for anyone entering into the product or startup world. The book is designed as a “buffet” of reading on specific topics and examples. It has become my go-to book over the last few years when I need to check in with my compass when making difficult decisions. It’s also a great reminder to enjoy what you work on and the people you work with. 

Kayla Ball is a respected leader with an in-depth knowledge of the industry and customer needs. In her most recent role as Managing Director of Commercial Strategy at Enervus, Kayla championed the customer’s voice to determine product gaps and drive product strategy. Kayla has also served as IHS Markit’s Portfolio Strategic Director, responsible for leading the product management team with end-to-end product innovation processes throughout the product life cycle of the upstream energy portfolio.

Tamara Teofanovic