Ken Zakalik, Product Manager in Portland, OR, United States
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Ken Zakalik

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Portland, OR, United States
Toptal Member Since
January 3, 2022

Ken is an experienced tech futurist and innovator who has helped cutting-edge startups, iconic brands, and seasoned not-for-profits transform for growth and innovation. Whether developing product and innovation strategies, launching accelerators, giving keynotes, or leading teams, Ken's work is game-changing and has been recognized and featured in Fast Company, Variety, Advertising Week, and more. He has earned his reputation as a secret weapon in the world of digital R&D and innovation.

Project Highlights

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (ALSAC) - Innovation Transformation
Defined and led the innovation transformation of a traditional 60-year old organization, focused on strategy, culture, and emerging technology, resulting in being named Fast Company's #1 Best Workplace for Innovators.
Marvel Comics - Digital Comics
Managed the implementation of an industry-disrupting digital comic’s subscription application, acquiring 25k initial subscribers in the first three months, managing Apple and Google app stores and vendor relationships.
NFT Digital Twin for Charitable Naming Opportunities
Led the conceptualization, design and execution of a novel blockchain-based digital-twin fundraising initative.

Expertise

Work Experience

Head of Product

2021 - PRESENT
Nike
  • Defined and launched six new digital experience initiatives resulting in a 10x increase in audience acquisition and delivered over $15 million in new revenue.
  • Stood up and led the product function into a pre-existing startup accelerator, resulting in a 50% increase in concept delivery and a 95% lift in the number of concepts to be transitioned as a core value-generating asset.
  • Evaluated new product concepts for viability, impact, and value resulting in a 30% increase in the number of concepts completed and delivering value.

Product Lead and Executive Coach

2022 - 2022
Orsy Inc.
  • Worked with executives to build business and product strategies for a social media live-streaming platform.
  • Led the execution team in creating a 0-to-1 mobile product MVP.
  • Created economic models. Led the marketing team in the go-to-market strategy and content strategy.
  • Defined product roadmaps and supporting documentation.
  • Coached the executive team in the fundraising strategy for future investments.
  • Led a team of marketing, development, and project management professionals to develop and launch a new social streaming business.

Founder Innovation Labs

2017 - 2021
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (ALSAC)
  • Led the digital and innovation transformation that achieved the organization's recognition as the Fast Company's #1 workplace for innovators.
  • Oversaw the creation of multiple immersive experiences, producing more than $15 million in revenue over two years across multiple platforms, numerous industry awards and accolades, and unique partnerships with Google, Facebook, and others.
  • Forged collaborative relationships with multiple large partners, co-creating disruptive IoT, AI, Blockchain, and immersive experiences, delivering several revenue and engagement opportunities and the organization's first patent (pending).
  • Directed new retail merchandise sales expansion into third-party platforms like Amazon, Shopify, Instagram, and others. Within the first six months, brand impressions increased by 200,000-300,000 and merchandise sales revenue by $25 thousand.
  • Established a scalable "product growth team" model, identifying and executing new net-value concepts, enhancements, and optimized experiences, reducing time to market by 40% and increasing business value for pre-existing businesses by 8-10%.
  • Launched an internal incubator and accelerator, introducing a new working and budgeting model, resulting in a 30% new program success rate, launching multiple new, net-positive, scalable revenue streams and models over two cohorts.
  • Pioneered an enterprise-level, multi-year transformation plan driving digital and innovation culture change and revenue growth.
  • Introduced design sprint process resulting in the creation of ground-breaking strategies, delivering core-program optimizations and new program launches significantly contributing to $400 million revenue growth over three years.
  • Implemented design-thinking and audience-centric design function supporting the organization's being named "Health Non-Profit of the Year" (Harris Poll), Top Place to Work for Millennials (NSHS), and "Top 100 Places to Work For" (Fortune Magazine).
  • Developed an enterprise-wide training and a skill-building plan to drive transformation through education, coaching, benchmarking, and prototyping new concepts.

Head of Product Management

2011 - 2015
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (ALSAC)
  • Implemented user-centered design process producing eCommerce enhancements resulting in a 120% lift in YoY revenue.
  • Launched new audience-centric products and campaigns driving expansion into new markets, partnerships, and platforms.
  • Directed re-platforming effort adding personalization, friction-free payments infrastructure, and data and analytics functions.
  • Strategized and led the implementation of B2B and B2C marketplaces producing a 25% lift in digital merchandise sales revenue and a 15% growth in new customer acquisition through retail channels.
  • Spearheaded the organizational shift to an agile work methodology, increasing operational efficiency and responsiveness, resulting in a 3x improvement in time to market activities.

Chief Product Officer (Co-founder)

2010 - 2012
Rental Engine
  • Launched rentalengine.com and associated marketing strategy crossing 50,000 active users in four months of launch.
  • Grew product division to seven employees across multiple functions, including technology, marketing, sales, and product teams, and mentored one technologist to promotion to company's technology director.
  • Led the business development and strategic partner acquisition strategy, integrating five high-profile partners and successfully selling 15 clients to the proprietary system.
  • Implemented invite-only social media strategy successfully acquiring 150,000 leads pre-launch with a 20% conversion rate to active users at launch.

Digital Consultant

2010 - 2010
The Estee Lauder Companies Inc.
  • Directed the design and implementation of a new back-end logistics system and front-end design solution decreasing operational overhead and increasing throughput.
  • Managed all aspects of branded eCommerce website development from concept through launch and operationalization, successfully producing four sites with combined revenue of $400 thousand.
  • Led optimized web consultancy for multiple internal divisions and brands.

Product Consultant

2009 - 2010
Marvel Entertainment
  • Managed the implementation of an industry-disrupting digital comic's subscription application, acquiring 25,000 initial subscribers in the first three months, managing Apple and Google app stores and vendor relationships.
  • Implemented Marvel "motion comics," web-gaming, and web-media initiatives managing vendor RFP, selection, contract process, and subsequent vendor relationships.
  • Led the re-launch of the enhanced Marvel.com website, the launch of Marvelkids.com, and the implementation of a foundational content management system as the product manager.

Senior Director of Product Management

1999 - 2007
IDT
  • Steered the development and operations of industry-disrupting prepaid calling cards based on a novel callback service.
  • Directed the implementation of the point-of-sale retail card activation system, enabling card activation and top-up via closed- and open-loop retail and the web.
  • Drove the introduction of industry-first Visa prepaid gift cards.
  • Led the conceptualization and implementation of the prepaid gift card suite, enabling B2B sales of the suite, which includes prepaid wireless, entertainment, such as Jamster, and prepaid finance products like Green Dot and Visa.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (ALSAC) - Innovation Transformation

http://www.stjude.org

Defined and led the innovation transformation of a traditional 60-year old organization, focused on strategy, culture, and emerging technology, resulting in being named Fast Company's #1 Best Workplace for Innovators.

I developed the strategy to shift the organizational focus from traditional operations to innovation. It involved the development of the culture strategy, P&L, and ongoing C-suite oversite.

The results included:
• Creating a new "Innovation" division, industry-wide accoladed.
• Starting the first nonprofit accelerator.
• Multiple industry-disrupting partnerships.
• Securing multiple new patents for the organization.

Marvel Comics - Digital Comics

https://www.marvel.com/unlimited

Managed the implementation of an industry-disrupting digital comic’s subscription application, acquiring 25k initial subscribers in the first three months, managing Apple and Google app stores and vendor relationships.

Marvel Comics had a robust distribution pipeline and loyal fan base. I worked with leadership to define an opportunity to take their massive comics and character IP archive to develop a new subscription service.

Utilizing the new app store eco-system, I developed a business case whereby we could digitize the archive of comics, offering instant delivery to a loyal fan base while at the same time creating a new business-to-consumer business model.

NFT Digital Twin for Charitable Naming Opportunities

Led the conceptualization, design and execution of a novel blockchain-based digital-twin fundraising initative.

I conceptualized, modeled, and led a project to innovate a pre-existing nonprofit capital campaign funding model to tokenize campus-based physical assets to virtual assets on the blockchain (NFT's). These assets were viewable in an immersive private environment.

The project required unique physical assets to create an equivalent virtual asset/token. It maintained a 1:1 relationship (i.e., a specific room in the physical world would be tied exclusively to its virtual/tokenized representation in the virtual world).
APRIL 2018 - PRESENT

Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Institute (PMI)

JANUARY 2015 - PRESENT

Certified Scrum Master

Scrum Alliance

JANUARY 2015 - PRESENT

Scrum Product Owner Certified (SPOC)

Scrum Alliance

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