Elizabeth Chowalsky CEO of HG Insights. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

A global leader in technology intelligence, HG Insights (formerly HG Data) recently hit a benchmark that CEO Elizabeth Cholawsky is justifiably excited about.

“We just topped 100 employees, which is fantastic,” she said. “We were half that about when I got here two and a half years ago, and about three-quarters of those employees are in Santa Barbara.”

The former CEO of Support.com and a VP at Citrix Online, Cholawsky jumped at the opportunity in 2018 to work at HG, which is known as a “data as a service,” or DaaS, company, in 2018. “It was way too good to pass up, because the company is just a growing blockbuster,” she said. “It’s really been fun.”

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One of her first moves was purchasing Pivotal iQ, a London-based partner that’s now home to much of her sales team.

“When we could travel, one of the things that I did was make sure there was a lot of back and forth, so that we could cross-pollinate,” Cholawsky explained. “People from Santa Barbara were thrilled to go spend a week or two in London. And for the London team, we keep one of the apartments at El Escorial, so we can house people coming over. We really encourage that to keep the bicoastal thing going. I do encourage my executive team to get out of what I call the four walls of Santa Barbara and make sure you get that influence from other things going on.”

She’s never felt “too disadvantaged” as a woman in the traditionally male-dominated tech industry, and she has seen increasing opportunities open for women to progress within organizations. “But I don’t think Santa Barbara is immune from the problems, or from the progress that we’re making,” she said.

She’s a fan of basing companies on the Central Coast, where the culture centers on enjoying the outdoors and natural beauty. “I’m not talking about taking time off to go surfing,” she said. “You have more time here. You don’t have the congestion and the traffic problems. And for your life, you just have more hours. That impacts the culture of companies because the stress level goes down and people have both more time to invest in themselves as well as in the company.”


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