You are currently viewing Garrett Gafke: Fighting Risk through Digital Identities
Garrett Gafke | CEO | IdentityMind

Garrett Gafke: Fighting Risk through Digital Identities

In an interview with Insights Success, Garrett Gafke, CEO of IdentityMind shares his journey and discusses his contribution through IdentityMind to the market using innovative digital identity technology. IdentityMind helps companies win the fight against fraud, money laundering, human trafficking, and terrorist financing. Garrett shares his thought process behind leading the organization effectively. He explains essential traits that exemplary CEOs should possess. He shares experiences and various lessons he learned in his journey. He discusses the strategies that help employees bridging the gap between idea and execution. He gives some insights into the future of IdentityMind, and he gives his advice to the young minds.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Garrett Gafke and Insights Success:
Give a brief overview of your background and your role in IdentityMind. 
I have been an entrepreneur, business leader for and investor for some time. I was President and CEO of Paymate and SteelEye; a senior executive for CyberSource (CYBS), Trintech (TTPA) and VeriFone; and Group Vice President and General Manager for Cardinal (CAH). Through my career, I have founded companies, taken companies public and executed M&A transactions.
At IdentityMind, I am the company’s CEO. My role is to take our innovative digital identity technology to market and grow the business to grab the tremendous opportunity in front of us.
How do you diversify your organization’s solutions that appeal to your target audience? 
IdentityMind is a SaaS platform that enables companies to reduce their transaction risk and fight financial crime, while lowering the cost of doing business and creating the best possible customer experience. We’ve built our platform centered on digital identities, a technology that enables companies to meet their risk and compliance needs far more effectively than any other method on the market. It’s also a technology for which we own many patents. In building out our platform, we stay focused on the market needs and in particular the key use cases and the segments to which they appeal. Use cases around KYC, Sanction Screening, Transaction Monitoring, Transaction Fraud and more. For each of these, we build the platform out so that we are addressing these use cases as our customers and prospects expect.
What is your thought process behind leading the organization effectively? 
Ultimately, I believe organizational effectiveness is based on selecting the right team, picking the right problem to solve and pointing the team at the right targets. I keep the company aligned by detailing the vision to reach those targets (product user and market targets) and tracking the team’s progress towards reaching them. I help my direct reports stay focused on their targets by progress against metrics.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every best performing CEO should possess. 
Every leader is different. Different from a style perspective and different from a skills perspective. But, if I were to distill a few things, first off, a leader needs to be able to envision the solution that he/ she is trying to build. That is, what is the problem being solved, why is it important to the user/ buyer/ etc., and what is needed to make it work. That leader then needs to be able to take that story and tell it to all his/ her constituents from funders, to product leaders, to sales, and ultimately the market. Communicate that story so that people inside and outside their company feel the excitement of that solution. Ultimately, the below are important to me:

  • Obsessive drive to win=passion and commitment
  • Empathy & Humility (these come with time & experience)
  • Ability to Listen and communicate (this is a basic but missing from many)
  • Be decisive with the information they have at that time Ÿ Resiliency & Grit—Critical

What are the experiences and lessons that you’ve learned across your journey? 
If you are not consistently working on learning, then you are not improving and if you are not improving you are ensuring failure.
Explain how your strategies are helping employees to bridge the gap between idea and execution. 
This gap usually exists when an idea is not widely understood, when skills applied may not be the right ones, and when the team is not fully motivated to get there. I don’t know that these are necessarily strategies, but the solutions to all of these things are: communication, team and incentives. Communication is about making sure that everyone understands the job at hand and what is at stake. Team is about bringing the right skillset to the project. And, incentives are about motivating the team to put in their best effort.
Where does IdentityMind sees itself in the near future and how do you plan to sustain its competency? 
Our overall vision of bringing integrity and trust to the digital world continues to guide us. The centerpiece of that will remain digital identities and deeper than this are trusted digital identities. In between, we will continue to drive towards great accuracy. We are already the leader in this regard with the highest accuracy for identifying good and bad users ultimately trust. Having higher rates in these areas has a measurable effect on your revenue (more good customers) and expense (less fraud, and less cost to find it). Improving here is key. We also look to make the system even easier to use. This means a variety of things including integrating it a customer’s key systems, workflow that is configurable to match their process, and a UI that allows our users to more quickly use the systems. We will continue to lead the world in building trusted digital identities.
What advice would you like to give to the young minds? 
Learn, be humble, work hard, ask lots of questions, and have a sense of urgency.