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How A Startup Weekend Revived This CEO’s Desire For New Experiences And Products

Merger Match CEO Alese Stroud shares how a Startup Weekend rejuvenated her love for taking fresh ideas to consumers and avoiding corporate red tape.

How A Startup Weekend Revived This CEOs Desire For New Experiences And Products - Lioness MagazineAs a recipient of a National Merit Scholarship, Alese Stroud was the first in her family to attend college. Now her client list reads like a who’s who of the largest banks in the U.S. Stroud considers herself to be a marriage counselor for corporations and is passionate about the role her company plays in supporting successful mergers and acquisitions.

But Stroud is perhaps the last person you’d expect to meet in the world of high finance and big deals.  It was after college and Stroud was attempting to put her art degree to work when she discovered computers could make her life easier. Stroud was hooked. Her eagerness to know more led her to night school and a second degree, this time in programming.

Today Stroud is an expert in managing the risk of massive data conversions at a scale where a fraction of a percent error rate might impact hundreds of thousands of a bank’s customers.  She is also known for her expertise in analyzing financial data to assess banking customer profitability. She has over 30 years of experience with development and implementation of massive scale banking software systems. Early in her career, she was part of the Systematics (now FIS) banking software development team.

Stroud calls learning a core value. “But early in my career, I was working in a traditional banking environment and new ideas were largely suspect. Any changes to the way we did business required plans the size of ‘War and Peace.’ New products had to reach a stage of near perfection before a real user ever saw them,” Stroud said.

This would change as she was exposed to the startup community.

It was just a few years ago that Stroud got this exposure at a Startup Weekend.  “I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.”

“I was captivated by the energy in the room as people explored new ideas. Here was a crowd validating ideas with potential customers and talking about minimum viable products,” she said.

Stroud had always thought banking IT spoke its own language, but these budding entrepreneurs really had their own lexicon — betas, MVPs and more. Since that day she has been actively involved as a startup community organizer, as a mentor and as a startup founder.

In addition to her work as founder and CEO of Merger Match, Stroud provides executive leadership for both The Stroud Group Consulting and Purple Moon Properties.  Her consulting clients benefit from her expertise in large scale, high quality data conversions, as well as customer account analysis and profitability analysis.  “Today I am able to satisfy my desire to learn and engage in new experiences.”

She is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and an active part of the Arkansas startup community. Stroud often speaks about how startups are not the exclusive domain of 20-something hipster guys. Even 60-something women can do startups successfully.

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