Meet the FSFP team icon

Meet Spencer Forrest, Engagement Partner


For the next chapter of our Meet the Team series, we interviewed Spencer Forrest. Spencer joined our company in February 2022 as an Engagement Partner. His primary focus is ensuring client satisfaction and exemplary execution of our information management engagements.

Spencer’s experience in sales and client engagement spans more than 20 years. His enthusiasm for what we do and extensive industry knowledge are on display each day. Another thing we notice, working with Spencer each day: He’s always quick to give a shout-out to another team member who’s done something amazing for our clients or company.

Ready to learn some more about Spencer? You’re in the right place!

How would you describe your role?

As an Engagement Partner, my focus is threefold. First, I help execute client engagements to super-high standards and drive the outcomes clients are looking to achieve. Secondly, I look to expand and broaden current business by bringing new clients to FSFP. My third focus is developing the company, whether that’s new frameworks, new ways of thinking about how to market and sell our services or how we recruit and retain talent.

What do you most enjoy about what you do here?

It’s that I’m always learning. We have very experienced colleagues with a tremendous wealth of understanding and experience in metadata management, data governance, data quality and master data management — really, all the aspects we focus on here. We’re always considering how to think about these aspects and how we can help customers think about them. I learn from our clients and their wealth of experience, too.

I also enjoy how I focus on many things at once here and how I can move from a strategic level to more tactical work, such as executing a critical data element in Collibra. I like the range and versatility. It makes work fun and dynamic.

How did you learn about the job opening at FSFP?

I worked for a partner of FSFP and knew the company through its excellent work with clients. Over the years, I kept in touch with Gregg Loos. Over time, I was becoming less and less interested in narrow products and more interested in advisory discussions (the broader aperture that starts very high-level). I found the bigger picture client conversations more meaningful and, eventually, kept talking with Gregg, and then interviewed for the position here. It’s a great fit in my view!

Spencer Forrest from First San Francisco Partners

Spencer Forrest has more than 20 years of enterprise software, data, metadata and information management experience at a variety of mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies. Having previously lived in the UK for more than 10 years, Spencer built businesses and scaled teams in the US, UK/EMEA, Australia and APAC.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?

One of my early sales managers said there is no career in sales. Instead, there is a series of big years — hopefully in a row — so go have one, and then we can talk. I took this as make things happen, be present and in the moment. Focus.

What is some career advice you share with others?

Authentic curiosity is essential. “Tell me more about that” can be a great question to ask someone as they are sharing their challenges. Then, give the person you’re speaking with (a prospect, client or colleague) space and time to answer the question. The more sophisticated leaders can impart good ideas within an economy of words. They also create the space for the people they’re collaborating with to operate and come out of the woodwork. Effective communication isn’t one-way and outbound. Being interested in what you hear unlocks greater understanding.

Which FIRST value (focus, integrity, resourcefulness, skillfulness, teamwork) resonates the most and why?

Teamwork. Given the deep experience most of the folks have here, it’s great to see what people think and to let the teams be flexible in their roles. For example, when I’m working for the project manager or the data governance lead and they need me to do something during a leadership interview or “fill-in-the-blank” situation, I try to be always ready and willing. Teamwork means doing what needs to be done and when it’s needed, especially when our focus is delivering on and exceeding client expectations.

What’s the most enjoyable thing about working from home and the most difficult?

I get to enjoy less pressure-packed mornings. I’m on the east coast and often am a couple hours ahead of many of my work colleagues and clients.

The most challenging part is understanding what people mean and what matters most. When you’re with an executive, they could list five priorities — but you can tell what they care about the most by their body language and emphasis. On a Zoom call, you might have ready access to everyone, but the group dynamics are tougher to decipher. If you’re in a room with a whiteboard, it might take a little longer, but you could land on a more concrete place regarding what people care about the most and know how to guide them toward the most valuable action.

What’s a big-screen movie or streaming program you hope to watch soon?

I’m holding out screen time for Duke basketball whenever possible.

What’s one of the top issues facing many of FSFP’s clients today?

Some of our clients see themselves as product managers. They’re providing a product and a service to their internal customers, and they have customer orientation within their enterprise. These “product managers” are the kinds of data professionals we can help the most when we get them to see they provide a shared service to customers. They must solicit those customers, understand their needs and measure effectiveness the way you would with an external product.

I find this orientation fun to work with — and it’s core to what we do. Our mission is to make their data actionable, and in that process we have to convince people who haven’t experienced FSFP yet that they’ll be better off with us.

We hope you enjoyed the latest installment in our Meet the Team series. Check out our other interviews to learn more about the people who make FSFP tick.

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