6 min read

People of Anaplan: Meet Hanyul Lee


The platform for orchestrating performance.

Anaplan Strategic Account Executive Hanyul Lee loves making lists. Whether it’s a music playlist for a party, a list of tasks for the week ahead, or a list of fun places to take his daughter Maya, his life is ruled by lists. Fortunately, he found a spot on his to-do list—somewhere after “run a half marathon” and “get married”—to introduce himself for the People of Anaplan series.

What hobbies or activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I enjoy running and exercising, and recently completed the Brooklyn half marathon. I feel fortunate whenever I run in New York City, a place that people travel from around the world to visit. My normal running path takes me to the lower half of Manhattan and under famous bridges, with views of the Statue of Liberty on one side and One World Trade Center on the other. 

My wife and I also like finding that yet-to-be discovered spot in NYC where we can grab a great meal with solid wine and cocktails. 

Hanyul Lee and his wife Christine were all smiles at their recent wedding.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up a Korean kid in suburban Minnesota, I was immersed in a very homogeneous environment. I spent most of my childhood trying to blend in as much as possible. In kindergarten, we were asked to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I peered over at my best friend’s picture, and copied his idea of “school principal”—but I actually aspired to be President of the United States. Suffice it to say, my Asian mother was not thrilled with either choice—for her, it was doctor or bust. Sorry (not sorry), mom! 

Have you always been interested in technology? If not, how did you become interested?

There were general misgivings about technology companies when I graduated college during the dot-com collapse, so most of my peers and I found our first full-time jobs in finance or consulting. Even in the mid-2000s when I started working at Hyperion—and soon after when I left to help start an implementation company—I would introduce myself as a “consultant advising finance clients,” not “someone implementing technology.” In hindsight, I can see that I placed finance and consulting above technology because of my own pride and ignorance. I didn’t fully embrace technology at the start of my career.

I think maturing as an individual has helped me move from blindly assuming things to challenging what drives my personal and professional motivations. Objectively viewing the technology industry has allowed me to recognize its massive reach and scale, and this has inspired me to jump in with both feet—first at a small startup, and now with Anaplan. 

What’s your role at Anaplan, and how does your work impact Anaplan users?

My title at Anaplan is Strategic Account Executive. Ultimately, my sales colleagues and I are tasked with creating revenue for Anaplan, but how we each go about achieving that is individual and subjective. I see my role as twofold: 

  1. Bringing mid- to large-cap firms in New York through a journey from knowing about Anaplan to becoming a customer; and
  2. Advising these customers on how to maximize the value of our platform through connecting planning activities across their enterprises.

Why did you decide to join Anaplan?

In December 2014, a former colleague who was working at Anaplan reached out to me, informing me that the company was growing its East Coast practice and encouraging me to look into the organization. Knowing that Anaplan was in a state of hyper-growth, I sought to understand the underlying drivers fueling that growth—was it the people, the processes, or the technology? I left the Hyperion ecosystem in part because I didn’t feel comfortable positioning a technology stack I lacked faith in, so I told myself I would only join Anaplan if I strongly believed in the platform.

Learning about Michael Gould’s story, hearing customer success stories, and seeing how Anaplan’s technology was disrupting the stale planning and analytics environment inspired me to contact Anaplan leadership. I officially started in February 2015. 

Tell us about a time when you realized that your Anaplan experience was special. Perhaps your Anaplan “A-ha!” moment or an “Anaplan is growing” experience.

My “A-ha!” moment came when two of my initial customers selected Anaplan to enhance their FP&A processes. Both firms are large-cap, marquee organizations; one decided on Anaplan over SAP, the other chose Anaplan over Oracle. When my team and I were able to work with these clients to take what I had initially seen with Anaplan technology and make it a reality, I got excited. When I considered how massive the market opportunity was for Anaplan within New York City, I realized I had landed somewhere special.

I genuinely believe the stars have aligned, and the opportunity in front of us at Anaplan is once-in-a-lifetime—especially those of us in the New York market. 

What is your favorite part of working with your team and/or at Anaplan?

First, my favorite part is simply having one-on-one conversations with our co-founder Doug Smith. I love learning, and I have never come away from a conversation with Doug not gleaning new insights or perspectives, both personally and professionally. 

I also appreciate when a collaborative group effort reveals the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. I experience this working with our executive team, presales, and partners on deals. I feel it stepping into the New York office every morning. It also manifests itself in the everyday knowledge we share as colleagues (with some banter sprinkled in) via group texts or Slack. It is a unique experience being able to marry sales and collaboration at Anaplan. 

What is your favorite thing to plan?

I am fanatical about lists. Professionally, I love Monday mornings when I write my list of to-dos for the week, bucketed into four categories: “Sales,” “Install Base,” “Operations,” and “Personal.” 

On a personal level, my daughter lives in the U.K. and our time together is very precious to me, so I have a great time planning the trips we take and the activities we do together. 

Finally, in the spirit of lists, I have an unabashed obsession curating the perfect Spotify playlist for anything: a mundane Saturday night dinner with friends at home or the wedding reception playlist I labored over when my wife and I were married a few weeks back. I am a firm believer that background music really enhances an experience and, most of the time, we don’t even know it!

Hanyul and his daughter Maya enjoy a carriage ride in Florence, Italy, last December.

Anything else we should know that makes you special or different?

One of my old work colleagues, Josh King—who’s now an implementation partner at Twelve Consulting Group—and I often talk about “being a multiplier”; that is, being well-connected while having a positive and meaningful influence over those connections. I admired Josh’s ability to execute on this philosophy when building and scaling Anaplan’s presales organization (before he left to be a partner at Twelve), and now he’s doing the same thing there. I had the opportunity to experience being a multiplier in past roles and am excited to further hone that ability here at Anaplan. It’s one of my core contributions to our organization’s next season of rapid growth. 

Interested a career at Anaplan? Check out our Careers page for current job openings.

Curious about the people behind the Anaplan logo? Presenting the People of Anaplan series, which shines a spotlight on our employees around the world. Learn about their interests and hobbies, what makes them tick, and how they help Anaplan drive a new age of connected planning.