We invite you to meet the core members of Highland Team.

Deborah Henken (Founder)

Deborah Henken

Deborah Henken has over 20 years of management and marketing experience with companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to non-profit and educational institutions to consulting.

Her industry expertise includes: computer hardware, engineering software, networking, e-marketing application software, call center, voice recognition and analytic areas, database and infrastructure software, and corporate and professional education and education administration.

Her consulting areas of focus include:

Marketing Strategy

  • Market segmentation and target market analysis
  • Positioning products and companies
  • Message development which resonates with target audiences

Channel Strategy and marketing

  • Identify best channels to meet target market buying needs and preferences
  • Develop channel programs and policies to bring speed channel partners time to revenue
  • Create co-marketing programs to build revenues for channel business

Branding, Customer Acquisition, Demand Generation, and Customer Retention Programs

  • Branding and thought leadership programs, demand generation programs including digital and direct marketing, social media, search, online advertising, events
  • Customer Retention and installed base programs
  • Metrics, KPIs and ROI Analysis

Her years of consulting experience includes working with large corporations such as Sun, Cisco and Symantec, to start-ups and non-profits. She has created strategic positioning and messaging, developed strategies, devised go-to-market plans and executed marketing programs for companies as diverse as wine industry manufacturing, database management, education technology, aviation content management and computer security firms.

As head of marketing and market development for Learning@Cisco, Deborah grew a global team from two people to twenty. The team launched over 30 products, developed marketing programs, partnerships, field marketing, social media and online marketing to create a lead funnel of over 2 million people to create demand and revenue, built an 800,000 person social learning community, increased the customer base by 80% and rolled out marketing campaigns and programs globally to increase revenues 110% in six years.

As Vice President of Marketing for IQ.COM, an online marketing software provider, Deborah led market segmentation, target market selection, product direction, and awareness and demand creation, increasing revenues 10X through pricing and product decisions.

As Vice President of Marketing for Blue Pumpkin Software, a call center software company, she contributed to increased revenues of 4X and grew customer base 300% in one year, while leading the company from niche start-up to market leader, culminating in Gartner Group naming the company one of the leaders in the workforce management space. She led the product development strategy, branding and lead generation programs as well as installed base customer retention programs to propel the company's success.

Selected as the first Director of Worldwide Partners and Alliance Marketing at BEA Systems, Deborah created the first channel organization, strategy and program for the company to manage strategic alliances, channel recruitment, development and co-sales and marketing efforts. Channels leveraged 20% of the company's $300 million in sales within the year.

As the Director of Channel Marketing at Informix, she built the first worldwide, integrated channel program for VARs, ISVs, distributors, hardware vendors and system integrators. Her team managed over 1200 partnerships and directly contributed 40% of the company's $700 million in sales while VARBusiness Magazine selected Informix as one of the Top 10 Partnering Companies of 1995. Under her leadership, the team created new strategies, policies and programs such as the first online communications with partners and first web-based partner solutions catalog.

Deborah served as President of Women in Consulting from 2004-2006, co-founded and served on the board of the Association of Strategic Alliance Partners-Silicon Valley, and served on the board of the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association. She is currently a Marketing Advisor with Kokko, a color technology company for mobile color shopping applications.

Contact Deborah HenkenContact Deborah Henken

Susan Henken-Thielen (Partner)

Susan Henken

Susan Henken-Thielen has more than 30 years of management, marketing and strategic planning experience with companies in a range of industries and maturities - from startups to Fortune 500 enterprises. Her experience spans consumer and industrial products and services, including consumer goods, medical devices/health care, education, and technology industries, and includes work in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

As Director, Product Development at Collegis Education, she led the effort to develop a new strategic data analytics focus for her organization. As Director of New Educational Products at Pearson, she led the development of product management, branding, traditional, direct and digital marketing strategies, business development and launch of new education businesses globally, growing revenues 28% year over year. As VP of Marketing at Slendertone Distribution, Inc. and Compex Technologies, Inc.' Henken developed the launch plan for the North American market for the first Electro-Muscle-Stimulation medical device cleared by the FDA for consumer sales. Sales grew to $40 Million in five years.

As the first director of the Marketing Resource Office at Minnesota Project Innovation, Inc., Susan designed the strategies, processes, procedures and tools to provide marketing assistance to small and midsize manufacturers. Clients received assistance in strategic planning, business plan/marketing plan development, SBIR and STTR commercialization plan development and implementing a marketing discipline within organizations.

Henken also has worked for Cigna, Novartis and Gold'n Plump Poultry, creating and introducing new products and services. During her three-year stint at Gold'n Plump Poultry, where she led the company into the packaged goods arena and implemented a formal new product development process, she was awarded the President's Eagle award for innovative leadership. While at Sandoz Nutrition, Inc., Susan managed the Featherweight®, Fiddle Faddle®, Screaming Yellow Zonkers® and Poppycock® brands, and introduced more than 40 new products and reversed a pattern of declining sales for the first time in five years.

In 2000, Henken was nominated for membership in Northwestern University's Council of 100, which recognizes high achieving women graduates. Grinnell College's Alumni Council nominated Susan to its select Grinnell Alumni Council, an alumni leadership organization, in 2009, and she became President thereafter. She received an Alumni Award from Grinnell in 2019. Henken earned her Masters of Management degree at J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Evanston, IL, with concentrations in Marketing, Strategy and Industrial Relations. She graduated from Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA with a B.A. in Psychology, and earned membership in the Grinnell and Mortar Board Honor Societies and Phi Beta Kappa.

Contact Susan Henken-ThielenContact Susan Henken-Thielen

Karen Henken (Partner)

Karen Henken helps companies, social enterprises and non-profits connect across the globe with new strategies, channels, partnerships and market opportunities to drive revenue, profits and growth. With 25+ years in high technology sales, marketing and business development, Karen has helped dozens of organizations establish a presence in new industries and geographies in the US and globally. Her experience ranges from work with early stage organizations across multiple sectors to Fortune 500 businesses, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue opportunities to these organizations.

Karen is also deeply focused on fostering social innovation and social impact through the power of collaboration with business and the social sector. She consults with and serves on boards of several organization fostering partnerships and social impact programs both locally and globally.

Karen serves as adjunct faculty at University of San Diego's Graduate School of Business and teaches as well as works with executive education programs at and faculty at University of California San Diego and leading institutions in Vietnam. Karen has focused on creating tools to enable students and executives alike to understand and implement strategies for entrepreneurship, innovation, social entrepreneurship and leveraging successful business models as a force for social good.

Her consulting areas of focus include:

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

How do innovative companies stay that way? How do entrepreneurial ventures take their products and services from idea to reality? How do larger companies ensure they can foster and retain a commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship?

  • Creating and sustaining a culture of innovation
  • The power of the business model canvas to transform ideas to reality
  • Design thinking to inspire innovation
  • Lean Startup and Lean Innovation for customer focused solutions
  • Creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Innovation and global markets
  • Fostering corporate intrapreneurship
  • New financing strategies for bringing products to market

Corporate Responsibility

Companies of all sizes must consider their role in ensuring a linkage between profitability, growth and corporate responsibility. As we are increasingly linked in a global economy, companies must take action to ensure they address the broadest interests in their economic, environmental and social impact in their corporate strategies, products and services.

  • The interconnection of people, planet and profit
  • The role of business in driving social good
  • Employee engagement for corporate impact
  • The sustainable business: lessons and opportunities
  • The role of millennials in reshaping corporate responsibility
  • Opportunities for public and private partnerships

Contact Karen HenkenContact Karen Henken

Phyllis Brock (Partner)

Phyllis Brock

Phyllis partners with Tanya Monsef for leadership development.

Phyllis is passionate about training leaders to create environments where people feel fully vital and produce unprecedented results. She is widely sought after for her leadership development and business acumen skills. Phyllis has a unique ability to empower people and companies to succeed.

She has been an Adjunct Professor at Santa Clara University for the past 8 years teaching MBA and Undergraduate classes on Leadership, Managing Transitions and Global Business.

For the past 18 years, Phyllis has been the Principal of Highland Team, a consulting firm that delivers leadership development and strategic marketing services globally.

Her clients include major companies such as:

  • Google
  • Cisco
  • Genentech/Roche
  • Netsuite
  • Oracle
  • Symantec
  • and many start ups.

Previously, Phyllis was Vice President of eBusiness for Nortel Networks when it was a $20 Billion company. She developed the vision for Nortel's e-commerce strategy. Phyllis shaped an innovative culture for its global organization, aligning 90,000 people to adopt the strategy. Her award winning accomplishments were written up in Business Week.

Prior to Nortel, Phyllis held senior leadership positions at Bay Networks, Sun Microsystems and started her career in sales at IBM Canada.

Phyllis is married with two wonderful adult children. She is an active volunteer and loves the outdoors. Phyllis is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Contact Phyllis BrockContact Phyllis Brock

Latest News & Events

News Archives

Latest Post

Blog Archives