FAST COMPANY: How do you know when it's time to leave?
ANN HAND: I look at my 20s and it was all about track record. How do I just prove that I'm worthy, that I can put my head down and work hard, and I think my 30s was when I started to pepper in bringing my whole self to work, what do I stand for, how do I differentiate myself? So I kind of was approaching 40 frankly and I thought, OK, 20 years, it's that right moment on the CV where you've kind of figured out that secret sauce of what makes you unique and you've got all the track record to apply it, so frankly now it's kind of like now or never, 10 more years and I might be stale. I'm sure you wouldn't be stale at 50, I wouldn't either, but I just felt like I just had the right ingredients to go.
How do you know when it's time to leave?
"It's like a high-quality Ikea building in a kit, but it's hurricane strength," says Ann Hand, CEO of Project Frog, a technology-meets-high-design startup. The firm creates low-energy prefab buildings that reduce both cost and waste while optimizing performance for the users inside. Hand -- who spent 20 years at BP, most recently as SVP of global brand marketing and innovation -- says that the VC -- backed Frog approaches buildings as tech platforms: a structure composed of "smart" parts that can be optimized depending on size, use, and location. And because all the parts arrive flat-packed and ready for assembly, what once took two years to build can now go up in less than a month. Hand has helped expand the potential for "Frogs" from schools and parks to the health-care industry and retail structures. She is determined to revolutionize the entire $400 billion U.S. -- commercial-building market. "I won't rest," she says, "until we shake up the industry and attach some guilt to wasteful construction."