You Go Girl Jives Got a New CEO

Silicon Valley isn’t known for its plethora of female CEO’s, but now it can proudly claim one more — Jive Software’s Elisa Steele.

Steele, who joined the social business software provider only 13 months ago, has proven herself in short order. She started as the executive vice president (EVP) of strategy and chief marketing officer in January 2014, was promoted to EVP of marketing and products last August, and to president of Jive in November when former CEO Tony Zingale retired.

Proving Herself

Like any manager of any gender, she has had to demonstrate that she has the right stuff for the top job. And the mother of two teens has done exactly that, by not only winning accolades from the likes of Gartner and Forrester for Jive’s signature products Jive and Jive X, but also by introducing new products like three brand new Workstyle apps (Jive Daily, Jive Chime and Jive and Jive People) aimed at small and mid-sized businesses, as well as a free and engaging WorkType assessment tool .

But Steele’s prowess doesn’t stop there. Alan Pelz- Sharpe, Research Director, Social Business Applications at 451 Research, told us that she is a “tough and no nonsense leader who has a good shot of lifting Jive up to the next level.”

 Pelz-Sharpe referred us to research he had written last November that says “Jive still has a chance to capitalize on the disappointment of Microsoft Yammer and legacy SharePoint deployments, which promised collaboration but failed to deliver effectively. “

And Steele could have the experience to pull this off because she came to Jive from the Internet’s consumer sector, most notably from Skype/Microsoft and Yahoo.

A Supportive Team

Not only that, but she has also hired several senior managers to help reach her goal including, former VMware VP, Ofer Ben David as VP of Engineering and Aisling MacRunnels as head of business development and alliances.

It’s interesting to note that five out of ten of Jive’s managers at the C or VP level are female. A rarity in Silicon Valley, and in the Fortune 500, for that matter.

What difference does that make? It’s proof positive that Jive’s board has the ability to recognize talented women when they see them.

These women may, in turn, bring in insights as to how females prefer to collaborate and work, which could bring a competitive advantage to the company. Females, after all, make up half of the workforce, but less than 15 percent of them are in positions of influence. It’s practically a given that this has to change, except for at companies like Jive which are already there.