Vanessa Ogle and her company-fronted band, GEM, played shows at Hank’s in McKinney. Jonathan Zizzo

Music

Vanessa Ogle Is the Rock ‘n’ Roll CEO

She takes center stage with her Richardson-based tech company, Enseo. Literally.

Next time you see Enseo’s CEO and founder Vanessa Ogle, you might want to ask for an autograph. Not only is the tech luminary redefining in-room entertainment in the hospitality industry, but she also has been known to shred a few licks on her custom-built electric guitar.

Partnering with a local nonprofit, Ogle and her employee-fronted band, GEM, have rocked a sold-out benefit show at each of the past four Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conferences. Along with Ogle and her husband on guitar, Chief Cultural Officer Peyton Wimmer plays rhythm guitar. Meanwhile, Director of Engineering Craig Smith is on bass, and Director of Sales Jeffrey Smith handles backup guitar. Enseo’s Chief Commercial Officer Brand Bush is keyboardist. Finally, Director of Network Products Alex Ocampo brings it home on drums. Along with several guest cameos from other musically inclined Enseo employees, GEM is set to make its fifth straight appearance at HITEC in San Antonio later this year.

“It has gotten to the point where we are recognized more for our music than anything,” Ogle jokes. “The CEO of Live Nation’s wife recognized me not as Vanessa, the CEO of Enseo, but as the woman with that killer band—and I think that’s awesome.”

“It’s gotten to the point where we are recognized more for our music than anything. … and I think that’s awesome.”

For Ogle, rock ‘n’ roll runs in her family. Her husband, Paul, is CEO of Bullock Guitars. (The guitar Ogle most often plays on stage these days is a custom-built creation of his. “It’s just this work of art,” she says.) Bullock is also the guitarist for Infinite Journey, a Dallas-based Journey tribute band. Ogle and Bullock met at, you guessed it, a concert.

When asked about her musical influences, Ogle names Dolly Parton, Joan Jett, and the Indigo Girls. “There are so many incredible female musicians who paved the way,” she says. “Having a woman as a lead guitar player? That was not a thing. You could sing in the background, do the doo-wops and harmonies, and, you know, shake around in a little, tight dress on stage. But that was about it.”

Just like her icons, Ogle pioneers as a female leader in tech. Her Richardson-based firm earned its third consecutive placement on Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing private companies list in 2019. Reaching more than 84 million people annually, Enseo’s technology lets guests watch Netflix and other streaming services in their hotel rooms; beyond that, it provides high-speed internet, integrated HVAC and room controls, and includes MadeSafe. The wearable alert button was developed to keep housekeepers safe, but has more recently been adopted by school districts nationally to keep students safe.

This year will be Enseo’s 20th anniversary—and Ogle says its band has booked several local gigs around town. “Honestly, I didn’t think that it would go this well when we started the band,” she says. “And I certainly underestimated the amount of passion that it would bring out in the entire team.”

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