“Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem.” It’s a standard interview question, and as Shelayne Clemmer sat across from the hiring manager, she was ready for it. She had once found a creative way to make sure employees were still paid in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
On that fateful Tuesday in 2001, Clemmer was leading supply chain technology, financial services, and e-commerce at Valero Energy Corp., where she oversaw a systems and tech budget of $30 million. The Fortune 50 company had about two thousand retail locations all across the nation.
Its thousands of employees expected to be paid on time, but with critical infrastructure down, Valero was unable to mail paper checks as usual. Clemmer, who ran Valero’s money order program, had an idea. She worked with its vendor and found a way to use money order machines to pay all retail employees at their preferred location.
Recounting the anecdote helped Clemmer make her case and land her first in-house job as corporate counsel. What was her takeaway from the experience at Valero? “There’s usually a tech solution to problems if you can creatively put all the right pieces together,” she says.
Now, Clemmer is putting the pieces of her long and varied career together to serve as senior vice president and chief compliance officer at Vericast, a savvy marketing solutions company that offers digital, print, and payment solutions to Fortune 500 companies and thousands of clients across twelve industries such as financial services, retail, grocery, and restaurant.
The native Texan was born in the western part of the Lone Star State and grew up working alongside her siblings in a family business. Although she set out to study architecture, Clemmer’s plans changed when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
Later, when it was time to resume her academic career, Clemmer sought something practical, steady, and reliable. She opened Angelo State University’s alphabetical course catalog, started in the As, and picked a new major: accounting.
After starting her career tracking cows for a rancher and breeder, Clemmer seized an opportunity to interview with a business located above the cattle company and suddenly found herself working for a software start-up. Ten years later, she was its senior vice president of operations.
Clemmer learned all aspects of accounting, inventory tracking systems, and point-of-sale technologies during that time. She transitioned to start a retail software division for a business partner, returned to her original company, and then joined Valero. When a colleague’s desire to continue his education inspired Clemmer to do the same, she enrolled at St. Mary’s University School of Law.
Clemmer completed a judicial clerkship for Texas’ Fourth Court of Appeals and then set out on a new career path that’s taken her through corporations, a litigation firm, and a cybersecurity company. She’s handled commercial issues, assisted on mergers and acquisitions, managed complex litigation, drafted agreements, built security and compliance programs, and provided a wide range of legal counsel. Much of Clemmer’s career was spent at a payment solutions company known as Harland Clarke.
Three years ago, Harland Clarke, NCH, QuickPivot, and Valassis came together under one new brand called Vericast. The integrated entity synergizes the capabilities of the four independent companies to bring clients a new level of data-driven solutions.
“We connect our clients with their customers, and we do it millions of times a day across multiple industries and verticals,” Clemmer says. “A harmonized strategy will help them offer a more powerful and personalized brand experience to those consumers.”
Since Vericast started, Clemmer has been busy creating a culture of compliance as various businesses come together under one name. Building a compliance department from scratch gave her the opportunity to tailor it to the organization’s structure and goals.
“Compliance departments can be different, and I was able to examine my background and experience to see where I could best influence and support the company based on who I am and what I’ve done,” Clemmer says, adding that the exercise helped her determine what aspects of compliance to prioritize.
The CCO worked behind the scenes to upgrade security protocols and privacy measures as Vericast moved towards the launch of Vericast’s new customer data marketing platform that “integrates first-party data management and marketing functionality in a single solution for at-scale targeting and omnichannel media delivery across print and digital channels.”
Vericast was already working on its unique platform when Google and other tech giants decided to remove third-party cookies from their browsers. Previously, advertisers used cookies to track users’ browsing history and deliver targeted ads. Now, they can use Vericast’s new platform to create highly customized experiences in a compliant way.
“We are helping our clients deliver effective, highly personalized ads to their consumers with a new solution that deeply respects the privacy of each consumer,” Clemmer explains.
Vericast solutions serve thousands of clients. Clemmer and her colleagues are giving those companies new ways to find and engage their customers in the fast-paced and fragmented world of marketing and advertising.