Prior to his current adventures, Jeff served in a variety of roles at Vertex, Inc., ultimately as CEO and then Chair of the Board. He was instrumental in helping grow Vertex into a global leader in tax software, serving Fortune 500 companies like Apple and Starbucks. As he worked to transform the tax technology industry, guiding Vertex to 10-fold growth during his 20-year tenure, he devoted himself to encouraging a values-based collaborative culture, recognized by numerous ‘Best Places to Work’ awards. Vertex went public on the Nasdaq exchange in July 2020 and Jeff retired from the Board of Directors in 2021, having served the company for 33 years.
Integral with his career, Jeff began his own personal journey of discovery. His experiences and learnings at Vertex, combined with his lived experiences at home and in the community, instilled in Jeff a desire to help advance institutional transformation founded upon the primacy of intrinsic meaning. He seeks to serve this vision in three areas about which he has applied experience and about which he is deeply passionate: business, education/equity and autism.
Jeff’s new ventures, MeaningSphere and Mosaic, are born from his own journey of collaborative discovery at work and in his children’s learning experience. Mosaic seeks to enable the acceleration of experiential, collaborative learning that is meaningful to the learner; and MeaningSphere supports people seeking to create, develop and pursue deeper meaning in their work, whatever that work might be.
Jeff has also spent recent years co-executive producing the documentary film Unschooled, which explores intrinsic meaning-based learning methods. Jeff’s wife Jenifer founded Wavelength Productions, an independent film company, which together with Greenwich Productions released Let Me Be Me on February 25, 2022. Let Me Be Me is a multi-awarded, feature documentary film about the relationship-based, intrinsic meaning-centered approach their family undertook to support their son Kyle’s journey through autism.
Jeff’s passion for experiential learning also comes to life in his work with Dr. Fredricka Reisman, where together with colleagues within the Drexel School of Education, they have created the Drexel University Reisman Center for Translational Research in Creativity and Motivation. Dr. Reisman joined a group of a half dozen educational experts to author an article that has been accepted in the International Journal of Progressive Education, reviewing a major study of the learning preferences of American parents and teens, a program envisioned by Jeff and underwritten by the Westphal’s philanthropy.
Jeff is a recipient of the American Creativity Association (ACA) Champion of Creativity Award and in 2014, he served as a panelist for the ACA World Conference, Creativity in Action, sponsored by the Drexel/Torrance Center for Creativity and the Innovation Lecture Series entitled Creativity as a Bridge Between Education and Corporation. He is collaborating with Dr. Reisman, Dean Penny Hammrich (School of Education) and others on a new book to be published by Cambridge Publishing in 2023.
Jeff’s first book, The Matrix of Meaning@Work ™, focuses on the potential for anyone to create a more meaningful career, and is scheduled for publication in early 2023 along with public availability of the MeaningSphere platform.
Exploring the world
Jeff is passionate about travel with his family. Some of his travel photography is featured below and you can learn more about his family here.