Ilene Kaminsky

San Jose, CA, United States

About Ilene


Nearly 20 years ago someone came to me and asked if I'd do PR for a small start up telecom company in Miami. Apparently an English degree from University of Florida and a knack for writing provided enough expertise to launch a very unlikely and rewarding career. Several startups later, I found myself at Cisco Systems working in their internal consulting division heading "emerging" service providers by assisting them with their go-to-market strategies before and after the bubble burst around 2000. Four years and several success stories later at Cisco, I reached my goal of becoming a CEO by the age of 45 (at the age of 37). A few old colleagues asked if I'd run an off-shore contact center company with over 2400 employees. Our team of mercenaries and ex-pats grew the company via several key enterprise customer acquisitions and raising few rounds of private and venture funds, along with overseeing the build out of Philippine call centers. I decided that one year of incessant global travel that coming out to Northern California and consulting for several start ups in the US and Canada of course provided a natural next choice. Now, after spending four years at speech technology company Nuance, running customer experience programs and strategy for new markets, I am at the precipice of another turning point...

I'm passionate about

Freedom from ignorance via the global diaspora of information and the democratization of commerce through ubiquitous, multilingual, right-priced communication channels.

Comments & conversations

Ilene Kaminsky
Posted about 4 years ago
Rethink the human-centered airline experience. *A TEDActive Travel Project*
For passengers air travel begins and ends with human events: meetings, vacations, weddings, funerals. However, airlines that throughout the processes that lead us to our final destinations treat us no better than a herd of cattle. Although some cattle are treated more auspiciously than others (e.g. Cathay Pacific and Singapore Air.) Our US experiences remain anonymous, unremarkable, or worse - just plain bad. Our low expectations meet the airlines' low standards. Word of mouth these days is like yelling through a bullhorn in a packed stadium, there's a welcome public dialogue for complaints (and for accolades). However, from the moment travelers enter the airline customer lifecycle, we don't expect delightful experiences, and definitely not social experiences. Social = personal, which implies that I am treated as a human being. At the very least airlines should aspire to reach the second level of Maslow's hierarchy (most airlines don't get past the first level.) Generally service demands are placed on the passenger: we wait on phone lines, navigate inconsistent web tools, chat with online automatons, use airport kiosks that work some of the time, stand in lines that lead to a person who doesn't seem to mean it when they ask if they can help us, glower at fight attendants who sit idly by as we all die of dehydration, and sometimes even serve food that might pass for something that was dug up from Love Canal or near Chernobyl. I recall the infamous letter to Richard Branson regarding meal service on Virgin Atlantic a number of years ago - But Branson heard that one voice and changed the meal service even for coach passengers. VIrgin America won my loyalty as the only airline IMHO in the US market that raised my expectations and raised the bar on standards. Get the basics right, treat me as an individual, personalize my experience just a bit, and don't make me do your work for you, passengers have enough to worry about.