Andy Sernovitz

Helping mission-driven leaders rally support with remarkable brand stories, word of mouth, and fan communities.

Bio

Andy is a social-impact entrepreneur, advisor, and investor obsessed with helping mission-driven leaders rally support with remarkable brand stories, word of mouth, and fan communities.

Why? Because organizations that earn the respect and recommendation of their customers are more open, honest, and kind. Because companies that make people happy are more successful.

  • Community: Andy builds organizations to help people help each other. He created pioneering peer-to-peer communities for mission-driven leaders (in corporate social responsibility, DEI, talent, and healthcare) and cutting-edge tech (in social media, ecommerce, online marketing, word of mouth, and data science).
  • Word of Mouth Marketing: He wrote the best-selling book Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking to help you tell the story of your business, art, or cause.
  • Brand Strategy: He has advised 100+ companies on creating remarkable cultures, messages, and stories.

He taught word of mouth marketing at Northwestern and internet entrepreneurship at Wharton. (And he’s a rabid purist on the topic of marketing ethics.)

Current Projects

Mostly on sabbatical after selling Board.org, but I’m spending my time…

  1. Supporting non-profits via the Interplanetary Help Desk, a 501c3 non-profit
  2. Various business ventures via Better Industries
  3. Founded the Loneliness Institute to find solutions for the loneliness epidemic, which I believe is driving political extremism (and needs to be solved for lots of other reasons).
    • Launching a new company to help make it easier to meet in real life (co-founders and CTOs – let’s talk).
    • Founding/funding a non-profit to work on the same issues
  4. Helping investigative journalism find new fundraising models.
  5. Coaching assorted startups and non-profits.
Founder
  • Osage Communications (interactive TV, 1992-1994)
  • Association for Interactive Marketing (non-profit, sold, 1994-1998)
  • GasPedal 1 (gen 1 startup incubator/accelerator, 1999-2001)
  • GasPedal 2 (email strategy, sold, 2002-2004)
  • Word of Mouth Marketing Association (non-profit, sold, 2004-2006)
  • SocialMedia.org & SocialMedia.org Health (became Board.org, 2007-2015)
  • Board.org: Peer-to-peer executive communities, including DEI Board, CSR Board, Data Board, Talent Marketing Board (sold, 2015-2021, resold for $103M in 2024)
  • Trash Mountain Ranch (88-acre office and event space, sold, 2014-2022)
  • Global Worldwide International (real estate, 2014-present)
  • Loneliness Institute (non-profit, 2022-present)
  • Interplanetary Help Desk (non-profit incubator/umbrella, 2022-present)
  • Better Industries (startup studio, 2022-present)

Investor/Advisor
  • Sustainable Media Center (trustee)
  • Data.World (advisor)
  • WP Engine (advisor)
  • Austin Beerworks
  • Mayo Clinic Social Media Network (advisor)
  • Advisor and/or investor in various startups
  • Assorted real estate
  • Assorted venture funds

Consultant & Speaker

Hundreds of keynotes and consulting projects focused on tech entrepreneurship, tech innovation, ethics, brand strategy, social media, email, and word of mouth marketing.

Non-profit and Political
  • Campaign staff – Mayor, US House, US Senate
  • Political direct mail, fundraising, and digital
  • Non-profit fundraising
  • Lobbyist

Teaching
  • University of Pennsylvania / Wharton – taught Internet Entrepreneurship
  • Northwestern / Medill – taught Word of Mouth Marketing
Personal Interests
  • Family time — raising happy, strong nerds
  • Bouldering
  • Playing with power tools, chainsaws, and making things out of wood
  • Funkadelic, Frank Zappa, and The Grateful Dead