Cindy Heller

Director of Business Strategy & Marketing
NEXT

Cindy Heller is the Director of Business Strategy and Marketing, NEXT Data & Insights for Penton Information Services. Ms. Heller leads business strategy for large CPG clients and implements the digital, print, event marketing and brand development for the NEXT™ solution suite (NEXTKnows.com: NEXT Innovation Essentials, NEXT Trend, NEXT Accelerator, NEXT Forecast, and NEXTY) which helps consumer packaged goods manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, distributors, and investors identify natural products trends and successfully innovate at the front-end of innovation by leveraging New Hope Natural Media’s 35 years of natural products expertise and exclusive research and market intelligence. Ms. Heller won 6 nationally recognized awards for the launch of NEXTTrend.com: 2014 Hermes Creative Award (B2B Web Site, Video for the Web), 2014 Internet Advertising Award (Outstanding Website), 2014 Web Award (Website Excellence), 2015 Gold Ava Digital Award (Video Production/Product Marketing), and a 2015 American Business Awards’ Silver Stevie (Video: Sales Technology).. Her outbound, follow-up, re-marketing, and content news campaigns have fostered an engaged front-end innovation community for early and later stage businesses. While at Penton, she’s helped increase NEXT annual sales by $1.0M+; expanded the NEXT audience by 270k contacts, and increased both NEXT Accelerator membership and service providers by 200%+. Ms. Heller served for 10 years as President of The Heller Group, a business advisory firm that offered: interim executive management; business and brand development; turnaround management; capital raising and exit strategy consultation; operational planning; financial and cost management; change and business process management; positioning and key message creation; mass and direct marketing program implementation; and sales material development. Ms. Heller’s clients included: Active Interest Media, AlloSource, aWhere, Classic Sport Company, Inc., COBiz, Covidien, Dore Achievement Centers, General Mills, Inc., LeGrand-Hart Public Relations, Mad Dogg Athletics, Magswitch Technology, Natural Solutions, Orange Glo International, Oster Jewelers, Peak Pilates, Rocky Mountain Lustre, Slingger, Inc., The Weitz Company, Xero Shoes and numerous start-ups.
 
Prior to forming The Heller Group in 2003, Ms. Heller was Vice President of Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer for Gaiam, Inc., a $110M publicly traded, multi-channel lifestyle company. Through public relations, print advertising, strategic partnerships and packaging, she evolved the Gaiam brand into an inspirational authority in healthy living, personal development and renewable energy. During her tenure, she increased profits by over $4M through the development of new customer retention programs and category management insights for major mass-market retailers. Ms. Heller joined Gaiam in 2002 and had responsibility for direct and retail marketing efforts. From 1999 to 2002, Ms. Heller led global brand and marketing efforts (e.g. DRTV) for the OxiClean, Orange Clean and Orange Glo brands. During her tenure as Director of Marketing, she grew the Orange Glo International business from $8M to $300M+ through brand repositioning, package redesigns, price adjustments, new advertising and public relations campaigns, sampling, strategic third party relationships, distribution drives, line extensions and new brands. Ms. Heller also oversaw the international research and launch of brands into Japan, United Kingdom, Germany and France. In 2001, Ms. Heller was awarded Top 100 Marketers in the United States by Advertising Age for the launch of OxiClean. Orange Glo International was also awarded Inc. Magazine’s Top 10 fastest growing, privately held companies for the years 2000 through 2002. During the first 11 years of her career, Ms. Heller led brand development for brands including Hewlett Packard (e.g. HP CapShare 910), Boston Market, Quaker Oats (e.g. Quaker Oatmeal Cereals, Quaker Bagged Cereals, Cap’n Crunch, and Life Cereal), and General Mills (e.g. SuperMoist Cakes).  As the Hewlett Packard Account Director for the Sterling-Rice Group, she led all marketing aspects of the HP CapShare 910 international product launch.

As Marketing Director for Boston Market, she led new product development efforts for the expansion of desserts and seasonal side dishes, in addition to the introduction of beef products. While Senior Brand Manager for Quaker Bagged Cereals, she managed all brand development aspects of a $72M brand, increasing annual sales and pre-tax profits by 49% and 62% through new products, advertising, public relations campaigns and packaging redesigns. Ms. Heller also led sales for the $750M Quaker Oatmeal Equity (QOE) portfolio. During her tenure as QOE Product Group Customer Marketing Manager, she was accountable for an annual budget of $130M and shared responsibility for delivering $190M in annual pre-tax profit. While Assistant Brand Manager for Cap’n Crunch Cereals, Ms. Heller increased profits by 11% for a $96M annual pre-tax profit. Ms. Heller began her career in brand management at General Mills. In addition to her brand management experience, Ms. Heller led 1 of 5 core capability re-engineering task forces while at Quaker Oats. She re-engineered the promotions innovation process from concept to market, resulting in annual direct cost reductions of $2M. This process re-engineering achieved record turns and an 87% reduction in cycle time, exceeding the industry gold standard of 12 weeks to market. This re-engineering scope included the identification of strategic capabilities, enabling skills, behaviors, information systems, incentives, structures, as well as benchmarking of 10 best in class corporations. Ms. Heller also served on the executive team responsible for creating and defining the company-wide human resource competencies, skills inventory, and proficiency levels for each role in the company. Ms. Heller holds a B.A. with honors from Bowdoin College. While at Bowdoin, she was awarded the Haldane Cup for outstanding leadership and character and the Fessenden Prize for excellence in government studies.

Ms. Heller lives in Boulder, CO. She is a Blue Sage Advisory Resource Collaborative Member and serves on the Live by Living and Education Innovation Summit Boards. In her free time she enjoys cycling, hiking, tennis, gardening, gourmet cooking, classical guitar, and Celtic violin.