FAQ

The Guild

The Operators Guild (formerly Bay Area Operators) was founded in 2014 by Casey Woo and Jamie Ceglarz. The spirit and intent then is the same as it is now: creating a welcoming and safe space where operators can be discovered, connected and empowered professionally. We also like to have a good laugh and be around good people, because, as operators know all too well, life is too short and our tours of duty are not for the faint of heart. Companies come and go, but it’s the relationships, the learnings and the journey that make what we do worth it in the end.

We are built by operators, for operators only.  We have no affiliation or biases to any investor group, vendor or sponsor.  Our culture is one centered heavily around contribution — for our Circles, if you do not ‘show up’, ‘attend’ or ‘contribute’, you are removed to make room for those who want to.  We stay true to what is ‘operator approved’. We do not promote or share ideas, solutions or services that we cannot vouch for ourselves.  In short, our values our centered around optimizing for quality of events, engagement and people not quantity, size or “good press”.

Membership

Our members benefit from OG in many ways.  The diversity of offerings mirrors the diversity of our members.  If you have a great idea for an offering, program or initiative, we’d love to hear from you (hello@operators-guild.com)

On-demand answers – Braintrust of over 10,000+ years of collective operator experience in the “palm of your hand”.  Think “megaphone” or “bat signal”

Network – Home to more than 500 elite operators at the world’s leading and fastest growing companies 

Therapy – Whether you’re faking it until you make it or a gray-haired seasoned executive, we’re here for you. No judgement.  Come vent about your crazy CEO or let us know you’re looking for the next gig. Trust us, we’ve been there.

Talent and Jobs – Battle-tested, member approved referrals/candidates for your team (we are hiring managers) or for amazing operator roles for you (we commonly look for opportunities – average operator tenure is 18-24 months)

Master Classes – Due to the concentration and talent-level of our operator group, we are able to attract experts in nearly every topic and field of operations to share and teach us — at nowhere near the price tag they charge privately.  

Focus Groups – Given the diversity of our group, there are topics from time to time (i.e. SaaS metrics, strategic planning, how to manage the Board, compensation leveling) that warrant a deep dive – we create the event, set the venue and invite all those interested.

Mentorship Program – Our members are at different stages of their careers and all have different strengths/areas of improvement. We’ve got a rotation program to support one another and attract “gray-haired” mentors who are looking to give back to the next generation (still us, for now 😉 )

Fun Events – We have amazing sponsors and event leads who together… put together some amazing and fun events where you get to meet fellow operators and get away from the crazy. 

Member Discounts – Given our size, we’ve got a few partnerships in place. Who doesn’t like saving money.

“Operator-Approved” Solutions & Trusted Partners – We all use different vendors and consultants, and we have all had positive and negative experiences. Aside from getting immediate feedback on tools/vendors your considering, it’s great to have access to a list of those that have already been upvoted by other members

To be a member you must be actively ‘operating’ in one of the following roles/functions: finance, strategy and/or business operations.  Given the number of groups that exist already for People Operations/HR and legal, we do not focus in this area.

What about consultants? Consultants have great exposure to both problems and solutions across their (often numerous) client bases. We get it. We have consultants in our group that are hugely valuable & contributing members of the OG. We have also removed a few for ‘selling’ their services both on the email forum as well as in 1:1 conversations online/offline. With consultants we have a 1 strike and your out policy when it comes to self-promotion



While we love our investors and service partners, a fundamental pillar of the OG is “operators only”.  No investors allowed — this is to allow for a safe space to discuss and share difficult issues about your boss, your board, your team, your business and you. No vendors allowed — operators are constantly bombarded by new products and services, the OG promises a place free of unsolicited “noise” — focusing solely on the problems, issues and solutions our members care about.

If you are between jobs or consult in an operator function (see: “Who qualifies for membership?” above), you qualify.

Yes. As the group has grown, both in the number of members as well as robustness of the events/programs that members have access to, costs have increased as well. Member dues allow the group to continue to thrive.

Yes, however, we discourage more than one member on the same team at the same company.  Example: Head of Finance and their Director.

Absolutely.  Write to: hello@operators-guild.com and we’d be happy to pair you up with members open to sharing their experience.

Engagement

There are two main ways to engage with the OG Community

ONLINE

  • OG_Live: our all-member live q&a forum where you get unfiltered, unbiased, real-time and on-demand answers to your questions. Problems… solved.
  • Newsletter + Blog: Through our newsletter and blog you have the opportunity to share your wealth of knowledge and leadership with the community.

IN-PERSON 

  • Join a Circle: At least once a quarter, members of your circle host 1-2 hours get-togethers where you get to help others solve their latest challenges or have the undivided attention of 10 of your peers to solve yours. Circle members also get discounted and first dibs at OG events.
  • Attend an Event: 
    • MasterClasses – Expert teach-ins (think “Ted talks” with no stage)
    • Focus Groups – Working sessions and breakout gatherings on topics that matter most to the group at any point in time
    • Networking – from holiday parties to the much-requested Operators Conference, all members are invited

Absolutely.  We have an online forum agnostic to where you reside/work.  Once a member, you can raise your hand to build an OG Circle where you reside.  If you’ve applied and are interested in being a Circle lead, just write to hello@operators-guild.com and let us know.

Attend our events and masterclasses, you’ll learn new things and meet other industry professionals. You can also apply to join a circle and meet monthly with a smaller/more intimate and in-person group of ops execs? Email hello@operators-guild.com to be added!

Events

We are in the Bay Area (San Francisco, Peninsula and East Bay), Los Angeles and New York.  We are opening: Vancouver, Austin, Denver and Washington D.C. soon! Reach out to us if you want to bring OG to your city!

  • MasterClasses – Expert teach-ins (think “Ted talks” with no stage)
  • Focus Groups – Deeper dive, focused working sessions and breakout gatherings on specific hot topics of members at any point in time
  • Networking – from holiday parties to the much-anticipated Operators Conference, all members are invited

Vendors/Service Providers

We’d love to hear from you but make it a point to keep the member forum and events as “promotion/solicitation-free” as possible.  If you’d like to discuss how you can become a sponsor of one of our events or get the word out as a “Solutions We Love”, write to us at: hello@operators-guild.com.

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