Our story.

How we got our start, serving 50,000+ leaders over the past decade.

Hi, I’m Claire, CEO of Canopy.

I used to hate my job.

I was an employee at a start-up. I enjoyed what I was working on, I adored my coworkers—but I dreaded going to work each day.

Why? My boss wasn’t a good leader.

That’s a hard sentence for me to write, because as a CEO today (and having started two companies previously!) I know how hard it is to be a leader. It’s quite hard.

Not only is being a leader hard, there’s no clear way to get better.

“How do you become a better leader?”

At the time, I remember asking myself, “How do you become a better leader?” I searched high and low—and I couldn’t find a good answer.

I’d even studied leadership in college, having majored in Learning and Organizational Change. But it’d been mainly theory, and very little practice.

I’d also previously founded and led a company, too. But I mainly learned by making mistakes firsthand, with no guidance for what was truly a “best practice.”

This question, “How do you become a better leader?” stuck with me.

So in 2012, I decided to quit my job, and devote my life’s work to helping leaders become better. I thought, if leaders are better, everyone’s happier.

Helping CEOs, one-on-one

I started a consulting practice, working directly with CEOs to help them uncover their blindspots and get to know their companies better.

My first client was a company called 37signals—makers of one of the world’s most popular project management tools, Basecamp. With employees all over the world, their founders wanted folks on the team to feel connected. They wanted to make sure they were being good leaders.

Around the same time, Basecamp built a software tool to help solve this problem: They called it Know Your Company. Originally it was a prototype they used internally. But Know Your Company worked so well, they started selling it to customers… and it took off. So much so, that toward the end of 2013, they approached me with an idea: What if I took over Know Your Company, not as a product, but as a company.

We struck a deal, and in 2014, Know Your Company spun-off, and in 2014, Know Your Company spun-off from Basecamp, and I became the CEO.

Helping leaders get to know their teams

As Know Your Company, we started working with teams more than we did companies. And so we rebranded the company to “Know Your Team.” As Know Your Team (KYT), we served over 15,000 people in 25+ countries at companies like Airbnb, Kickstarter and Medium. In fact, 94% of employees who used Know Your Team said that it helps them feel more connected to their coworkers. And, 85% of CEOs who used Know Your Team said it positively impacted their company culture.

We ran events for leadership teams and employees across the world. We created an online leadership community with almost 1,000 managers. We shared our perspective on leadership on our blog, and were published in Harvard Business Review, Inc, Fast Company, Forbes, Business Insider, among others.

Learning something new

Through all of this, we helped a lot of people. But we also learned something important: While Know Your Team was useful to business owners and their teams, the folks who needed our help the most were managers. Whether it was through our online community or in our events, the pain that managers felt was pressing, urgent, calling out to us loudly.

We realized we still hadn’t solved the problem for my former boss, a decade ago. We still hadn’t answered the question, “How do you become a better leader?”

Becoming Canopy

So, we spent years reimagining Know Your Team to not only be software for leaders to get to know their teams better — but software for better leadership. Based on our research over the past decade, we developed a method for how to be a better leader, and created a leadership improvement app to support it. We call our new product, “Canopy.”

During that time, we’ve trained 30,000+ leaders at companies like Doximity, Sprout Social, Stripe, and Wikipedia.

In April 2024, we changed the company name, too. Know Your Team is now Canopy —where leaders go to feel supported and grow.

Canopy is what I wish had existed over a decade ago.

Is Canopy for you?

If you’ve spent late nights googling things like, “how to be a good manager” or “how to run a team meeting” or “how to delegate well — Canopy is for you.

If you’ve bought carts of leadership books on Amazon, desperate to avoid beginner manager mistakes — Canopy is for you.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I have no idea what I’m doing as a manager”— Canopy is for you.

You don’t have to learn about leadership the hard way. We’ve done research and had hundreds of conversations with CEOs, executives, and managers for you. Make things easier on yourself, and give Canopy a shot.

And, if there is anything else—truly anything—I can do to help you become the leader you always wished you worked for, I’m here. Feel free to email me at claire@canopy.is or ping me on Linkedin, or on X. I’m here to help.

Look forward to hearing what you think of what we built. I hope we answer “How do I become a better leader?” for you.

On the journey with you,

Claire Lew
CEO at Canopy

Claire Lew is the CEO of Canopy, a place for leaders to grow and feel supported. Over the past decade, Canopy has trained over 30,000 managers at companies such as Airbnb, Netflix, Pixar, and Shopify. Claire’s mission in life is to help people become happier at work. She gives keynotes and leadership trainings internationally and her writing has been published in Harvard Business Review, CNBC, Inc, Fortune, among others. Claire is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at her alma mater, Northwestern University. Connect with Claire on X at @clairejlew or find her on LinkedIn.