After graduating in 2008, Seattle-born Nathan Peterson was shocked to find that, due to the recession, he was unable to get a job despite having earned a degree in business and marketing. A friend creating a website for the commercial scuba diving community asked him to help with marketing. Building on his college experience creating business plans, Peterson made the new website profitable in only four months.

Peterson went on to consult with several groups at Microsoft on marketing, branding, product launches, and social media. This was back when many businesses were only beginning to realize the power of social media to help drive sales, and Peterson was head-hunted by T-Mobile. “This is a big corporation, but it’s a lot faster and more agile compared to most other corporations I’ve worked with,” Peterson says. That experience drove him into Seattle’s thriving startup scene, where he worked as an executive leader and consultant to a slew of companies such as Privateer Holdings, Leafly, Area360, Nextio, and eventually, Tagboard, a company specializing in searching, collecting, and displaying social media content that can help companies connect audiences across their online presence.

Peterson landed the role of senior vice president at Tagboard, where he runs the revenue side of the business: sales, marketing, and business development all fall under his domain. “Tagboard helps our customers hone and refine their social media activity by giving them an insight into what’s going on within the various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), based on hashtags used by people as well as other filters. For example, a company that ran an advertising campaign for a product called Carpeteer can use Tagboard to pipe posts that have a hashtag for that word as well as filter them using parameters such as geographic location.”

Peterson was also surprised to land in the Jewish community. Judaism hadn’t played a major role in his life, but a former classmate convinced him to sign up for Birthright in 2006. “I was somewhat reluctant to take the trip, but it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” he says. When he came back, he joined AIPAC, a Jewish professional network, and even a Jewish softball league. Through the softball league he met his future wife, Rachel. After they started dating, Rachel signed up for Birthright herself, and on the last day of her trip Peterson showed up and caught her off-guard in Jaffa, where he proposed. They now live in Issaquah with their 14-month-old daughter, Sawyer. “Out of the 40,000 people who do the Birthright heritage trips every year,” Peterson says, “I feel Rachel and I are the luckiest.”

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