Former Salesforce executive brings platform product management and leadership development expertise to leading coaching platform.
SAN FRANCISCO, June 28, 2022 – Torch, a leading people development platform that harnesses the power of trusted relationships to fuel employee growth and success, today introduced Heather Conklin as its new Chief Operating Officer. Conklin, who brings more than a decade of leadership experience in talent development and product management, will oversee the strategy and operations of the company, including all aspects of product development and delivery at Torch.
Conklin most recently served as the SVP and GM for Trailhead at Salesforce, a free learning platform and community dedicated to upskilling learners in digital and soft skills, and connecting participants to career opportunities. Additionally, she founded and led the company’s Associate Product Manager Program where she helped develop new product manager talent through a 12-week internship and subsequent 2-year full-time program.
Leading organizations are increasingly looking to Torch to help them develop more resilient, agile leaders who help their teams thrive. Torch customers have seen a 38% higher talent retention rate than prior to implementing the people development platform. Additionally, employees working with Torch coaches are 15% more engaged compared to their uncoached colleagues.
“Our goal at Torch is to grow and lead in the leadership development space through continued platform innovation and the hiring of mission-driven executives,” said Cameron Yarborough, CEO and Co-Founder of Torch. “Heather checks both of these boxes. She has years of successful product development experience. More importantly, she is passionate about Torch’s mission to fuel professional growth through the power of trusted relationships.”
The global increase in demand for professional coaching has been evident in the increased engagement on Torch’s platform. Torch experienced a nearly 3x growth in coach and mentor meetings through the platform in 2021. As this demand rises, Conklin plans to invest in Torch’s community of coaches and mentors, as well as in platform functionality that people love using to transform their mindsets and behaviors so they can create more success for themselves, their teams, and their company.
“Coaching has exploded over the last several years,” said Conklin. “This idea that everyone can benefit from a coach is really powerful and we’re seeing many companies implement coaching in different ways. The great thing about the Torch platform bringing together humans, science and technology is that we can meet customers where they are in their journey. Whether companies are using our experts or bringing their own, looking for 1:1 or group coaching, mentoring or collaborative learning, Torch can deliver the benefits of trusted relationships at scale. I’m really excited to be part of this mission-driven team.”
Conklin is taking over COO responsibilities from Torch Co-Founder Keegan Walden, who held the position since the company’s inception in 2017. Walden will transition to Chief Science Officer, where he will focus on driving and measuring behavior change from the use of Torch’s offerings, in addition to culture-building.
“Heather’s expertise in both product management and developing talent makes her uniquely qualified to oversee the continued growth of the Torch platform,” said Walden. “Equally important to us at Torch is that beyond her deep well of product expertise, Heather is a clear, direct, warm, and empathic leader.”
Torch is the People Development Platform that fuels growth through the power of trusted relationships. By combining coaching, mentoring, and collaborative learning, Torch helps you design, manage, and measure programs that drive the success of your people—and your organization. Leading brands like Zendesk and Reddit use Torch to develop their employees, create stronger leaders, and improve business results.