About IdeaFaktory & Team Bios

IdeaFaktory (dba Blue Beacon Partners, LLC) has a singular vision – to deliver innovation + impact, or as we call it, EconovationTM. We do this in several ways. First, we handpick funded best-in-class tech startups to partner with our vast network of corporations looking to solve big business challenges. We help both sides create powerful 1+1=3 innovations. Secondly, we work with corporations to create profitable new business lines or transform and revitalize struggling products and services. We specialize in loyalty platforms, new consumer technologies, B2B services, and digital/social/mobile commerce. Finally, our proprietary 4C’s of InnovationTM approach, proven at companies like American Express, MasterCard and Citi is a complete, best-in-class innovation program.  It includes: Context (gathering trends, insights and identifying growth opportunities); Creativity (developing a growth pipeline of opportunities); Capabilities (enabling systems, technologies and processes); Culture (our extensive HR staffing, change management, coaching, and rewards program that includes our 9 Corporate Personality TypesTM methodology). We also offer individual executive coaching options. We deliver projects through our trusted network of IdeaFaktory-trained ex-Fortune 500 executives and startup founders with exceptional experience in technology, innovation, and strategy. For more info about our services, click here.

Bios

Steve Headshot from MSNBC cropped with TV logo

Steve Faktor is IdeaFaktory‘s founder and CEO. He is an entrepreneur, futurist and digital commerce expert.  Steve is the former head of the American Express Chairman’s Innovation Fund and senior strategy and innovation executive Citi, MasterCard and Andersen. Steve has created several $100M+ businesses and deployed several enterprise-level innovation programs. He is author of Econovation - a fascinating, erudite, bitingly funny, well researched, and…important book about capitalizing on the end of consumerism and rise of “producerism”.  Steve is a top-rated global keynote speaker. He has keynoted major events for CFO Magazine, New York University, Harvard, PDMA, Frost & Sullivan, BlogWorld and numerous private corporate events.  Steve  writes provocative articles on innovation for Forbes and Harvard Business Review.  He also leads workshops, ideation and training sessions based on his proprietary 4C’s of InnovationTM methodology. Expand bio

As Vice President of Growth and Innovation and Head of the $50M Chairman’s Innovation Fund.  Steve’s successful launches included LoyaltyEdge, Private Sales (joint venture with Vente Privee) and Zync.  He also led the development of the company’s portfolio management framework for the CEO and managed numerous, high profile strategy projects for the CFO and the executive committee.

As Senior Vice President of Innovation and Growth Ventures at Citigroup, Steve led global innovation enablement, creating a fast-track product development process and a revolutionary new retail branch model. Before Citi, Steve held various senior product strategy roles at MasterCard. There, he invented Commerce Coalition and Commerce Intelligence, a loyalty and analytics program spanning large, noncompeting merchants. He also led the company’s pre-IPO, global merchant strategy, as well as innovations across the company’s credit, debit, prepaid, online payment, and commercial businesses. His bank clients included GE, UBS, and Citigroup.

Before bravely venturing into the tumultuous, PowerPoint-laden, corporate world, Steve was a management consultant for Andersen and two boutique firms. He specialized in marketing, strategy, technology, process improvement, and customer relationship management. Steve led and sold numerous, multi-million dollar projects to a variety of clients including WPP Group (Ogilvy), Samsung, JVC, Bombardier, Boise Cascade, Omnicom Group, PSEG.

Steve graduated from the NYU Stern School of Business and lives in New York City. He actively supports Junior Achievement and several Thai restaurants in his neighborhood. 

 

Mark Neirick - ideafaktory bio

Mark Neirick  leads the commercialization of IdeaFaktory’s proprietary  4C’s of InnovationTM training program.  Mark has over ten years of marketing, servicing and new product development experience. He was the CMO & Head of eCommerce at CLEAR. CLEAR is a membership service that speeds travelers through airport security in less than 5 minutes.  In his last role, Mark was VP & GM of Prepaid Interactive at American Express where he managed the P&L for the interactive portfolio of all Global Prepaid products. In that role from 2007 to 2011, he drove double digit growth every year at the world’s largest online open-loop gift card retailer. Mark’s prior role at American Express was Director of Interactive Strategy and Innovation. Mark developed and managed Amex’s first Social Media Strategy in the United States, as well as Amex’s Digital Innovations platform- American Express Labs- the first of its kind facility for pioneering interactive innovations in the financial services industry. Expand bio

Prior to joining American Express, Mark was a Senior Associate in Booz Allen Hamilton’s Communication, Media & Technology practice where he helped firms navigate the evolving media and digital landscape, including developing new products and online, mobile, marketing & loyalty programs.

Mark holds an MBA from the University of Chicago with concentrations in strategy & finance. He is respected for his strategic thought leadership, new product expertise, and interactive marketing and customer experience optimization. 

 

Jeannine Woo - IdeaFaktory

Jeannine Woo works on IdeaFaktory’s startup-corporate partnerships. She  was previously a manager in the Consumer Services Finance group at American Express, where she was responsible for planning and forecasting revenue as well as providing decision support to the Card Services and Pricing marketing teams. Prior to American Express, she worked in the Merchandise Finance department at Toys R Us, managing a merchant P&L.  There, she designed and led training sessions for the international markets to implement a sales analytics and reporting tool.  She began her career in corporate planning and allocation functions at various retailers, including New York & Company, Club Monaco, and Filene’s Basement. Jeannine received her MBA from New York University with focuses on Entrepreneurship and Finance, and her BA in Economics from Cornell University.  Always in pursuit of a balanced lifestyle, she enjoys exploring NYC’s fitness and wellness scene, as well as local cupcake shops.

 

Carolyn Kiel - IdeaFaktoryCarolyn Kiel is an experienced change management consultant who designs and executes innovative solutions for complex business problems. She leads the commercialization efforts for IdeaFaktory’s 9 Corporate Personality TypesTM methodology. She has implemented several change management initiatives at MasterCard Worldwide, including an award-winning Enterprise Risk Management program, new product development best practices and a transformational data governance initiative. A skilled trainer and facilitator, Carolyn developed an accredited risk curriculum for financial professionals and graduate students while at MasterCard. She has also led employee development initiatives in women’s leadership, career development and public speaking.  Carolyn has a B.A. in Psychology from Vassar College and is currently studying for her M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Expand bio

In her spare time, Carolyn teaches workshops as part of the United Way’s Financial Education Program in Westchester County, NY.  She is also an accomplished singer who has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden and Giants Stadium.