Case Study


Ancestry Charges Ahead with Silicon Valley Specialties

Ancestry, a global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records, and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives.

As the Sr. Executive Assistant to the company’s Chief Product / Chief Technology Officer, Vi Yun is no stranger to the concept of “making the trains run on time.” In addition to managing all the operations and logistics for her executive management, she’s become an expert at resolving process inefficiencies while continually boosting her own productivity.

So when the time came to plan for Ancestry’s annual gift for the company’s employees, Vi and her colleagues had no time to waste.

The theme for that year’s gift: Action, Product, and Technology.

“It’s not always about the hottest or trendiest idea. It’s about what’s the most relevant for our project, our goals, our objectives. Susan understands what we’re trying to accomplish and gives us fabulous ideas that meet those needs. That’s why I continue to refer Susan to colleagues both inside and outside the company!”

Vi Yun

Sr. Executive Assistant, Ancestry

The DNA Of An Idea

The Ancestry team initially went to a different promotional marketing vendor with their event theme. However the ideas the company provided missed the mark. The team was now under pressure to get new ideas as they needed to present their top 3 choices to the management team the following Monday.

Vi’s next call was to Susan, whom she worked with at previous companies. She gave Susan the same brief as the first company: three relevant ideas based on the provided event theme.

Despite getting the assignment only the Friday afternoon before it was due the following Monday, Susan was up for the challenge. Based on Ancestry’s keywords, “Action, Product, and Technology”, Susan recommended the Qi charging pad with built in power bank, which was at this time new to the promotional world.

But Susan didn’t stop there. She came up with four more ideas. “I’ve always known Susan to go above and beyond. I love that in less than 24 hours, Susan came up with five brilliant ideas—any one of which our employees would be crazy about,” shares Vi. “Susan listens, and then comes back to me with ideas that are not just interesting—they’re relevant.”

A Wrinkle In Time

As often happens, the company’s decision process took longer than expected, and the artwork was switched out in the final hour. But event dates don’t change, leaving just 9 business days from the day Vi placed the order to the event.

And there was another wrinkle: you cannot ship QI chargers by air. First, there’s a hazardous materials surcharge, and second, through years of experience, Susan’s learned the hard way that (1) the carriers will only put these items on certain types of planes, and (2) they will only carry a certain amount of that type of hazardous content on any given flight. So even expedited shipping won’t guarantee delivery.

Susan worked out a split shipping arrangement with the manufacturer to make sure every charger was delivered on time. Vi shared, “Susan stayed on top of our order—through changes and challenges—from the moment we hit ‘go’ until the chargers arrived.”

Branching Out to New Connections

Because of the success of this and other projects she and Susan have collaborated on, Vi’s constantly asked who she works with. “There’s no better compliment to the services and creativity Susan provides, than having my colleagues ask me, ‘Who are you working with?’ I always them know that I’m a huge fan of Susan and Silicon Valley Specialties. I refer her to everyone, and now many of my colleagues work with her too!”

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