A conversation with Jared Dolich — Journey | Anaplan Community Podcast
Join Dennis Lemoine, Sr. Program Manager of Community Events, for our second episode of Journey, an Anaplan Community podcast. This month we are excited to feature a name many of you know — one of our most helpful Community members — Jared Dolich!
Jared is a Certified Master Anaplanner, and partner and founder of Retailitix. Jared’s passion for retail traces back to his high school days when he sold cinnamon toothpicks to his classmates. After being introduced to retail planning solutions as a merchandise planning manager at Target stores, he’s been on a personal journey ever since to help planners reach their potential.
In this episode, Dennis and Jared chat about Jared’s passion for helping others, why he considers himself an agent of change, and the reasons and joy he finds in being a Certified Master Anaplanner.
“It's not the certification that was important. It was the people I met. It was the people I helped. It was the people that I collaborated with, and being invited into this community. And to me, that's what the journey is all about.” – Jared Dolich
Tune in and let us know what people and topics you would like to see in future episodes.
If you missed episode one featuring Prince Ayinde, Business Analytics Manager at LinkedIn and a Certified Master Anaplanner, view it here!
Dennis: Hi everyone! Welcome to another awesome conversation with my friend Jared. We’re going to have a little chat, talk a little bit about your history with Anaplan, your life, your story, and anything else you want to share. First, I think to set the table… both of us got the memo on wearing purple today, which I feel really good about. So thank you for that.
For those who might not know who you are in the Anaplan ecosystem — which would be insane — but if they don't know who you are, tell us a little bit about who you are, how you got started, and what you're doing these days.
Jared: Thanks! So, I think I'm a bit of an enigma. I think a lot of people, when they meet me, it's like, “So what exactly do you do, Jared?” And I tell you, I have some trouble sometimes explaining to them, but the big picture is that I've been in the retail industry my entire career. I started as a buyer at Target stores and I fell in love with this industry, never looked back, always been in the retail space. And in all of those years that I've been working in the retail space, I've come across a lot of planning tools, implemented many of them myself, administrated a lot of them, managed teams that administrated them… And when I got introduced to Anaplan, it was like, “Finally! We finally have a real tool that that retailers can use.” And I just latched on to that. Seven years ago, I got introduced to Anaplan at Ralph Lauren. And it's probably not the best thing to talk about, but when I first saw it, I wasn't all that impressed because they didn't really have the right calendar for retail. But as soon as I took the training, all of that was implemented and put into the tool and [I realized] this is a perfect marriage — retail and Anaplan.
In fact, I started a business. Called Retailitix, and that's all we do, which is marry retail the retail industry with Anaplan. Essentially my job is really just helping the account executives at Anaplan sell into this channel because in the retail channel there is less than 1% market share for Anaplan.
It is a huge, huge market. So part of my job is to even help global partners get interested and excited about Anaplan, and how to really interact with that retail industry. And the stated goal — two of them — with Retailitix is number one, let's get Anaplan some market share.
Dennis: We love that.
Jared: Got to get that!
Dennis: Thank you for that!
Jared: And secondly, because I have a love for (I guess this where I get my self-esteem from) really seeing people in the retail industry, especially the planners, really reach their potential and not waste their time data munching. I want them to be able to do planning. And when I see somebody surpass me, that's when I know I've done a good job.
And that is a blessing. That's like the most incredible thing to see. So that's a little bit about me. There's a lot that I will say and I will say this; most people that have really gotten to know me — is that I can be very controversial. I'm a change agent. And so one of the things that makes it really helpful to be a change agent in this space, is that when you talk to retailers about Anaplan, they don't get it.
It's not traditional. There are competitors that have been in this space much, much longer than Anaplan's even been around and they've defined what planning needs to look like in retail, and that's what people are used to. So when I go in and I talk to retailers, they're like, “What are you talking about?” And they'll ask me questions and I’m like, “Yep, that's because you're so used to seeing, planning a certain way.” Anaplan brings a different perspective.
So most of the conversations that I have, it's of that change agent nature. So it's a very controversial topic, but that's I guess that's what makes it fun and worthwhile.
Dennis: Well, it's funny you say that. You know, I worked in the automotive space for a while. And it's interesting you saying that about retail too, because in the automotive space, a lot of individuals who have their faces on a billboard and their name on the side of the building, and the thinking was very — I don't know how to even describe it — but just old.
And it sounds like maybe there's a little bit of that too, with retail. So for you to be out there being that change agent, and really explaining to them there's better ways to do things, easier ways, more efficient ways using Anaplan… that's huge.
One of the things I wanted to talk about with you, because when I started here at Anaplan about a year and a half ago, one of the first people that I saw via Community was Jared Dolich. And I was like, “Who is this guy? He's creating this world. He's got all kinds of [content], you had webinars going… You're so active in our Community. Talk to me about what it was like just entering the Anaplan Community for you and sort of some big learning lessons for you when you were joining first and where you are now after seven years.
Jared: So then I'll tell you this much. When I first met you [Dennis], it was like, this is perfect. This is a perfect person to be a leader in the Community space because you embody what I experienced at the very beginning, which is the passion, the energy, the excitement, and most importantly, the genuine interest and wanting to build people up.
If you go to any community site, especially in technology — any technology community site — it's divisive, it's caustic, it's like you almost don't want to ask a question because the answers will get will be trite or they'll try to marginalize the question, or you know, make it personal. But not on the Anaplan Community. It's one of the very few places you can go ask a question, and you will get an answer. And it's an answer that's going to be framed around building you up.
So you've done a terrific job organizing the community team. And I would say from my experience, going forward is that you just take it to a whole other level. And my wish for the community is that it is maintained; this interest in really wanting to build people up.
So… I do answer a lot of questions on the forum.
Dennis: Yeah, you do!
Jared: I love answering the questions, but I'll answer just about anything as long as — it's got to be rated G or PG. There's been some things and you know, we have to take them off the forum. But, but I think one of my most endearing questions was somebody posted a question, about what is the meaning of Anaplan? It was a philosophy question.
And so this conversation went on for weeks and before I knew it, there were like 30 people all chiming in on what is the meaning of an Anaplan, from a philosophical standpoint. We go all directions.
Dennis: I love that, and thank you for your wonderful compliments to the team. Coming into this organization and specifically this Community a year and a half ago, I'm a continuously blown away by how approachable everyone is. Just like you were saying — because you're right — there, especially in the tech space when you're looking at communities, it really is intense and almost as if people don't want to help you. But that's not been my experience here. Individuals like yourself, opening up those doors and those opportunities for other folks who are just starting their career, maybe a little bit behind you — that is what we're so proud of here with Anaplan and on this Community team, and in particular I think about you and so many individuals who have created that. We really just set the parameters and kind of just build it, but at the end of the day, it's all in your hands… where we go, how we treat each other, building that culture and keeping things moving.
I speak for everyone when I say thank you for saying that, because that's what we most are most proud of.
I want to transition and talk a little bit about the Certified Master Anaplanner program. Let's talk a little bit about your experience with that. Could you talk to me how long you've been one and what you enjoy about it the most?
Jared: I’m coming up on three years as a Certified Master Anaplanner. I wrote a rather lengthy, well, not lengthy, but I wrote a blog about this experience, and I related it to an experience I had when I lived in Minneapolis for 11 years. I was an outreach visitor. I visited a lot of elderly people just to visit them, take them out, go grocery shop, just to be a companion conversation, that kind of thing. One client that I that I got to know very well was a Holocaust survivor. And he had suffered a **** and was unable to say much of anything except his wife's first name, which was Helen, and David was his name. And one day David and I were walking back from the public library and we sat down at a bench and he shared his whole experience of what it was like to be in this concentration camp. Well, needless to say, it changed my life. I was never the same after that. And when I told Helen, his wife what had happened, she said he never told us the story. I was the first. So, my entire blog about becoming a Master Anaplanner was, what does it mean to be first?
It's not — some people might say, I want to be first or I want to be the best certified person you can be. I want to be the top of the line. I want to be the best Anaplan modeler. I want to be the best Anaplan leader. I want to be the CIO.
What I learned is being first has a different meaning for me. And what I learned was, all these experiences that you gain, and what it means to be first at something, you really can't get there without help. You have to have people willing to stretch out their arms and help you. And so when I went through the Master Anaplanner program, I remember reaching out to Beauram at that at that time. And it wasn't very long before people on the OEG team reached out (Rob Marshall), and David Smith. All of them helped me. All I had to do was ask and they were right there to help me on this journey.
And so relating these two things together, it's how I would say I feel like I'm first. I got there. And it's not the certification that was important. It was the people I met. It was the people I helped. It was the people that I collaborated with and being invited into this community. And to me, that's what the journey is all about.
The last thing I think I'll say about that is that whoever decides, and I hope a lot of people do (to become Master Anaplanners), know that it's going to be personal. It's a personal journey and it's different for everyone. Yes, there's an exam at the end, but the real true reward is the work that you build up, the family that you're introduced to, and the willingness and wanting to be part of all of that.
So that to me… it's a big story. Perhaps I made it bigger than it was meant to be. But at the same time, it was a very positive and rewarding experience for me.
Dennis: I love to hear that. And you are not the first person I've talked to who has said that. I've heard that so many times in my conversations over the last year and a half with folks. It's not just about that exam and about that certification. It really is about that journey and about that connection.
I think that's what we're always striving for with Community, and I'm just blown away by that. In this day and age, and especially after the last few years with what we are going through, community could not be more important. That outreach could not be more important. The ability to ask a question and to get an answer from someone, it's huge. It's worth an absolute lot.
Jared: Yes, and I like what you said. It's so needed right now.
Dennis: It is more than ever.
Jared: There is just so much division right now. And that's why I think all Master Anaplanners will pick their spot where they want to express their leadership. For me, it's the Community and that's why I contribute a lot on the Community site. I manage the retail [Community user] group. And for those of you that are listening — join! Join the retail group. We have all kinds of cool stuff going on here, not just retail.
Dennis: Amazing! Jared, I want to thank you so much for joining me. This was an awesome conversation and I've really enjoyed our time together over the last year and a half, meeting again in person, seeing you at Anaplan Live! in San Jose. Just awesome and I'm super excited about where the Community is going and just want to say thanks so much for joining us today.
Jared: Thank you, Dennis. Appreciate your interest.