Executive Guidance

Offering insights from Toptal’s key industry and consulting executives, the Executive Guidance blog is a hub for in-depth analysis of trends, strategies, and technologies that can help business leaders gain a competitive edge.

Toptalauthors are vetted experts in their fields and write on topics in which they have demonstrated experience. All of our content is peer reviewed and validated by Toptal experts in the same field.
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Toptalauthors are vetted experts in their fields and write on topics in which they have demonstrated experience. All of our content is peer reviewed and validated by Toptal experts in the same field.

Assessing the Business Value of New AI Initiatives: A Strategic Framework

Some AI initiatives cut costs and drive innovation—others waste company resources without much ROI. Toptal’s Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics Practice Lead describes an effective framework for evaluating whether an AI project can deliver tangible, hard-hitting value.

9 minute readContinue Reading
Chas Stikeleather

Chas Stikeleather

Chas is the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics Practice Lead at Toptal. Before joining Toptal, he spent much of his career in management consulting at Bain & Company, helping Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms, and SMBs across industries get the most out of their data. Chas holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stetson University and a master’s degree in analytics from North Carolina State University.

3 Cybersecurity Archetypes and How They Affect Risk Priorities and Staffing

Is your organization an Operator, a Builder, or a Governor? Toptal’s Information Security Practice Lead, Michael Figueroa, reveals how this knowledge helps CISOs fine-tune their security teams and tactics.

8 minute readContinue Reading
Michael Figueroa

Michael Figueroa

Michael is the Information Security Practice Lead at Toptal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in high-tech crime investigations from George Washington University. Before joining Toptal, Michael served as executive director of the Advanced Cyber Security Center, and held other roles in the field, including consultant, principal investigator, advisor to government officials, and chief information security officer.

The Future of B2B Marketing: Consumerization and the Amazon Effect

Today’s business customers expect sophisticated and personalized buying journeys. Jeff Gangemi, Toptal’s Growth and Digital Marketing Practice Lead, explains how firms must leverage robust martech and data-savvy talent to meet the moment.

8 minute readContinue Reading
Jeff Gangemi

Jeff Gangemi

Jeff is the Digital and Growth Marketing Practice Lead at Toptal. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and an MBA from Cornell University with an emphasis in leadership and innovation. Jeff has spent the past 15 years building demand generation, content marketing, and digital programs that drive meaningful transformation and growth for both internal teams and external clients. Before joining Toptal, he held senior management roles at Accenture Song, Material, and Telus International.

Does DTC Have a Future in the CPG Industry?

From accelerating innovation to enhancing consumer connections, DTC could reshape CPG. Toptal’s Digital Customer Experience Practice Lead Sara Kahlau and DTC Sales Lead Brennan Shanks explore strategies for revolutionizing consumer engagement and driving brand growth.

13 minute readContinue Reading
Sara Kahlau

Sara Kahlau

Sara Kahlau is the Digital Customer Experience Practice Lead at Toptal. A customer-centric executive with a background in strategy consulting at Booz & Company (now Strategy&), she has worked with PwC and L’Oréal Groupe and held execution-focused CXO roles across several industries. She has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Technology Sydney, where she double-majored in marketing communications and management.

Solving the Cybersecurity Talent Shortage: Avoid These Common Pitfalls

Security professionals are not as inaccessible as the headlines claim. Toptal’s Information Security Practice Lead explains new ways to engage the professionals you need.

7 minute readContinue Reading
Michael Figueroa

Michael Figueroa

Michael is the Information Security Practice Lead at Toptal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in high-tech crime investigations from George Washington University. Before joining Toptal, Michael served as executive director of the Advanced Cyber Security Center, and held other roles in the field, including consultant, principal investigator, advisor to government officials, and chief information security officer.

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