Jessica Christenson: Reshaping Digital Transformation


Jessica Christenson is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for NovaFori. The firm NovaFori is an enterprise software provider headquartered in London, specializing in online auctions and digital trading platforms. With a foundation in 2011, the company has maintained a leading position in digital transformation for over a decade. NovaFori offers a modular, industry-agnostic solution aimed at streamlining the price discovery process through auction based technology. This empowers organizations to optimize pricing strategies and harness valuable data generated from digital transactions. The platform also ensures transparency and compliance within the marketplace.

Journey from International MBA to Sales VP at NovaFori

Having completed an international MBA in Austria, Jessica started her career in the USA and then moved to Australia, Germany, and the UK. She then switched to retail technology in the middle of her career, which led her to explore the world and join the fast-growing marketplace industry. Jessica is now in charge of the global sales and marketing teams at NovaFori.

Discovering True Interest and Pleasure

Jessica was the first person in her family to graduate from university and pursue an MBA. It was only possible due to academic scholarships and fellowships, so academic achievement has been a huge enabler in her journey. It took some time for her to find her niche in the right industry. She accidentally fell into software and it has become her passion. Jessica recommends that it’s never too late to “pivot” and try something new because what makes you happy could sit in a whole different industry. She advocates for embracing impulsiveness, citing her own experience of landing in Sydney from Chicago after just three Skype interviews, eventually leading to opportunities in London and Berlin. Stay open-minded, as it often leads to the most rewarding adventures.

Breaking Stereotypes

When asked about primal stereotype challenges she shared that “looking young” can be a double-edged sword, because society puts pressure on women to look polished and perfect, but don’t reward that with leadership responsibility. She spent the first 15 years of her career trying to dress to “look older” to be taken more seriously, and still sees this happening to young women in her career. Jessica emphasizes the importance of recognizing the broader context, including the person’s education and experience, advising all to refrain from making snap judgments based on appearances during interviews or when individuals join a company. She stresses the significance of getting to know people beyond their outward presentation.

She acknowledges a tendency of not actively seeking promotions or recognition when deserved, not unlike many women. She preferred working hard, keeping her head down, and thinking someone would notice. She realized that articulating one’s contributions explicitly and making specific requests for deserved opportunities is often necessary, despite any discomfort it may entail. Jessica advises to be proactive in advocating for oneself. Additionally, as a female leader, one should also be watching for this behavior in the team to help empower them as well.

Nurturing Excellence Through Feedback, Inclusivity, and Integrity

In the realm of effective leadership, providing feedback should not be confined to an annual review; rather, a leader should consistently communicate with their team members, ensuring they are well informed about their performance, developmental areas, and the collaborative efforts directed towards advancing their careers. Transparency and openness foster a constructive working environment.

Valuing the team is paramount. Integrating their perspectives into the overarching business strategies, processes, and decision-making processes establishes a sense of inclusion and ownership among the team members. Recognizing the diverse ideas stemming from varying experiences, particularly in younger team members, catalyzes innovation and fortifies organizational strength.

Integrity is foundational. A leader’s commitment to unwavering values, especially during challenging times, establishes a reputation for reliability. Upholding what is ethically right for both the company and its personnel cultivates trust and fosters a culture of integrity within the organization.

Revolutionizing Auctions and Trading Platforms

The company commenced its operations with a focus on tailoring solutions for individual clients. After an extensive period of customizing services, the realization emerged that the fundamental set of requirements remained consistent across various projects. This insight prompted the strategic development of an out-of-the-box (OOTB) auction and trading platform. This platform has been designed to cater to the common needs of diverse industry verticals, offering a standardized yet adaptable solution. This shift enables the company to not only streamline its operations but also facilitates the incorporation of more advanced and expansive features into the NovaFori platform, benefiting all client companies associated with it.

Exhibiting Leadership in the Face of Crisis

The pandemic laid bare numerous weaknesses in the long-term strategies of companies, prompting a reconsideration of entrenched practices amongst a variety of businesses. This challenging period catalyzed enterprises to explore the adoption of disruptive and non-traditional innovative technologies. Contemporary leaders, who largely hail from a generation accustomed to rapid technological advancements throughout their lifetimes, exhibit a growing willingness to embrace risk. This contrasts with the risk-averse tendencies of their predecessors.

Rising Wave of Auction and Trading Technology

A discernible trend is emerging across businesses, as they contemplate strategies to instill transparency within their operations, particularly in sectors where pricing traditionally lacks clarity. A notable shift is observed towards the incorporation of auction and trading technology to introduce elements of price discovery and disrupt conventional verticals. In contrast to the saturated fixed-price marketplace segment, the auction and trading model finds greater compatibility in markets characterized by dynamic price fluctuations or challenges in aligning supply with demand. This software product proves to be a more fitting solution across a spectrum of global verticals, including but not limited to: Agriculture, Fine Art, Fashion, Commodities, and Automotive industries.

Expert Advice for Aspiring Women Leaders

Jessica recommends embracing one’s femininity and acknowledging the inherent differences from male counterparts. Statistical insights reveal that women exhibit superior listening skills, particularly in a people-oriented context. Harvard Business Review corroborates that women excel in taking initiative, demonstrating resilience, prioritizing self-development, achieving results, and upholding high levels of integrity and honesty. However, it is crucial to recognize that male coworkers contribute equally to a harmonious workplace by bringing a complementary set of unique characteristics. Men, too, possess a distinctive array of qualities that add balance to the professional environment, fostering a collaborative atmosphere where the strengths of each individual, regardless of gender, are valued.  


Rapid consolidation within the software industry and copycat companies, coupled with AI, mean competitors can bring an MVP product live faster than ever. The days of committing to, and staying with one software for decades are gone. Replatforming is happening everywhere, even in sectors where the incumbent thought they were irreplaceable.

Management: Jessica Christenson


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