How Relentless Optimism Fuels Success for Hilary Schneider, CEO of Shutterfly

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Hilary Schneider has a long-standing track record for driving growth and sparking creative innovation at large consumer technology companies. As a five-time CEO, Schneider has successfully led companies through a significant transformation, guided by her commitment to empathetic leadership, relentless optimism, and an ever-present athletic stance.

But it wasn’t always that way for Schneider.

In fact, she credits two simple words with helping her take on new opportunities with gusto: why not?

“Early in my career, when I was an investment banker at Drexel Burnham, I took on a role within Corporate Development,” said Schneider. “Not long after, I was offered an opportunity in an operating role for which I had zero experience.”

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Schneider added: “I’ll admit, I didn’t know if I could do it! And it would have been easy to stay in my existing role with a narrow remit. But I said to myself, ‘why not?’ The worst case is I fail, and I learn something. So, I accepted the role and never looked back. Those two little words – why not – have been guideposts for pushing myself out of my comfort zone ever since.”

Moving towards positive action and embracing change has been a hallmark of Schneider’s career and, most recently, during her time at Shutterfly where she has served as CEO since January 2020.

“As a long-time customer, I’ve always known that this was an incredible organization with two powerful brands in Lifetouch and Shutterfly, and that it had a strong culture and values ​​perfectly aligned with my own,” said Schneider. also knew that these powerful assets could be evolved to serve the changing needs of consumers and to create more value for employees and shareholders alike.”

As CEO, she now had oversight of the Lifetouch, Shutterfly and Snapfish brands, as well as its vertically integrated manufacturing across six production and fulfillment facilities. The Shutterfly infrastructure is purpose-built for the complexities of custom design which allows its family of brands to deliver personalized items to customers at a rapid pace.

Schneider stepped into her CEO role at Shutterfly just weeks before the pandemic began. She quickly halted her in-person listening tours, meet-and-greets with employees and visits to production facilities and instead pivoted to a 24/7 war room with her leadership team.

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Not only did Schneider need to keep the company’s manufacturing sites operational and mitigate the pandemic’s impact on school photography, but she also had to meet an incredible surge in demand within its consumer business. The rapid pace of change and the need for trusted communications required transparent and deeply hands-on leadership.

Schneider kicked off what would become the company’s now highly regarded Snapshot series, a live, weekly 30-minute broadcast where any employee has the ability to ask any question that the executive team will answer in real-time. It’s become her signature leadership vehicle for helping teams navigate change and stay connected to the long-term vision of helping people create products and capture moments that reflect who they uniquely are.

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