Good times, good vibes: 4 Austin tech teams share what makes their celebrations unique

by Kelly O'Halloran
June 27, 2018
celebrate
photo via shutterstock

We live for the celebration, and that’s no different at the workplace. But there are differences from company to company in what leads to celebrations and how they make the celebrations their own. Maybe it’s celebrating the failures as opposed to just the wins, like at Square Root, or maybe it’s replacing a team-wide happy hour with a volunteer opportunity like at Blackbaud. We asked four Austin tech companies to share what makes their celebrations unique.

 

blackbaud austin
photo provided by blackbaud

In addition to building digital solutions that support nonprofits, Blackbaud also uplifts charitable organizations with its celebrations. John Mesta, a technical recruiter for Blackbaud’s Austin office, filled us on a few of the nonprofits in the Austin community that they link up with for team-wide service days and more.

It’s especially satisfying when we can celebrate a cause that resonates across the entire company.”

What did your team’s most recent celebration entail?

In May, Blackbaud partnered with the Entrepreneurs Foundation and the Central Texas Food Bank to highlight food sustainability and help tackle hunger in our area. There were events all week long but the highlight was our official “Spring Service Day 2018.” More than 90 Blackbaud employees spent their day at the Central Texas Food Bank and helped to provide over 10,250 meals for two USDA Child Nutrition Meal Programs.

 

What’s your favorite company celebration to date?

Blackbaud celebrates wins of all forms, but with an organization of this size, it’s especially satisfying when we can celebrate a cause that resonates across the entire company. Our service days this past year on May 22 and May 25 presented a great opportunity for various teams throughout our Austin campus to unite in celebration of the major impact we made on our local community.  

 

How are Blackbaud’s celebrations unique to Blackbaud?

While many organizations tend to celebrate specific positive changes such as new clients, major milestones or industry recognition, we emphasize celebrating the changes we’re driving in social good. Gaming parties, happy hours and catered food are all greatly appreciated, but we also celebrate through giving back. We affect change by partnering with groups like the Livestrong Foundation, the Austin Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Central Texas Food Bank and Austin Humane Society. We also give back through matching gifts, volunteering for vacation days and grants.

 

brightpearl austin
photo provided by brightpearl

Before heading out for a team outing, Brightpearl’s U.S. team makes sure to recognize the recent wins across the office to remind one another of what the celebration is for. Nicole Herrera, operations manager of their U.S. office, said this is just one way Brightpearl’s celebrations stand out.

It’s a great feeling to see your hard work pay off and for your colleagues to be happy for your success.”

What did your team’s most recent celebration entail?

We have a happy hour the first week of every month to celebrate the previous month’s wins. We do this to remind everyone that all of our small wins add up, and that we are all pushing our business forward. It’s a great feeling to see your hard work pay off and for your colleagues to be happy for your success.

 

What’s your favorite company celebration to date?

Definitely our Christmas party. We had a bus drive us around downtown, stopping at all the classic Austin-y spots. We played a round of trivia, did some blind beer tasting and made our own donuts. This is my favorite celebration because it was the first Christmas party we’ve hosted in town, and it gave us the chance to meet our colleagues’ significant others and establish Austin as our U.S. HQ.

 

How are Brightpearl’s celebrations unique to Brightpearl?

The secret sauce to our celebrations is that before we go out, we acknowledge each team’s wins. So once we’re at the happy hour, there’s a lot of pride and satisfaction in a job well done.

 

square root
photo provided by square root 

Failures deserve celebrating — at least that’s the case at Square Root. Grace Langston, the company’s people operations intern, shared what their employees gain by celebrating employee failures through recognition and cake.

We think failure is essential to the innovation process.”

What did your team’s most recent celebration entail?

Last Friday, we held a bridal tea party for one of our technical program managers, Casey. We decorated our living room with streamers and signs and joined together for delicious scones, fruit, tea and cake. It’s unique and special that Square Root takes time to not only celebrate company victories but also recognize essential milestones in our individual lives. We enjoy celebrating each other.

 

What’s been your favorite celebration to date?

I’m currently planning the Square Root holiday party. Each winter, all the Radicals and their guests join together for a fun night at a big costume party. The theme is always top secret, so I can’t tell you what is in the works. In the past, we’ve hosted a 70s prom and a masquerade ball, and most recently the theme was Clue. Our team goes all out with its costumes, and I’m excited to see their creativity with this year’s theme. It’s going to be a rockin’ party (hint hint).

 

How are Square Root’s celebrations unique to Square Root?

We think failure is essential to the innovation process. We celebrate that process with what we call, “Fail, Learn, Cake!” Each month, a Radical will share a recent failure with the team and the lessons they gained from the experience. The Radical discusses the obstacles they encountered on their way to failure but also the victory they ultimately found in the lessons learned. It’s all about reframing our perspective on failure and emphasizing the importance of exploration and persistence on the journey to success. Plus, we get to eat cake.

 

scalefactor
photo provided by scalefactor

Amy Furr, a senior marketing associate for fintech startup ScaleFactor, said her favorite celebration was one that wasn’t even planned. This spontaneity and the company’s daily recognition of wins are what Furr says makes ScaleFactor’s celebrations distinct from other organizations.

We love to recognize our team, celebrate our accomplishments and have a great time together — especially at the spur of the moment.”

What did your team’s most recent celebration entail?

We treated our team, family and friends to a fun evening to kick off the summer, celebrate our latest milestones and honor the people who make it possible for us to rise and grind every single day. Our summer bash was at Irene’s, filled with great food, fun superlatives, typewriter poets and a large-scale coloring book muralist.

 

What’s been your favorite celebration to date?

One of the celebrations that stands out the most is one we didn’t plan. The day we were named as one of Austin’s Best Places to Work, we stepped away from our desks for the afternoon to celebrate together. Spontaneity can be rare in the workplace, but we collectively decided to shut down and celebrate this exciting win. We love to recognize our team, celebrate our accomplishments and have a great time together — especially at the spur of the moment. This is still one of our favorite stories for the new ScaleFolks.

Coming in at a close second, and a company favorite, is our annual ScaleFactor Friendsgiving. We have a potluck at our picnic tables to take a break, feast on delicious food and spend time together. It’s always a great time!

 

How are ScaleFactor’s celebrations unique to ScaleFactor?

We celebrate our wins daily. When we’re not sharing our accomplishments on our Slack “Wins” channel or ringing the custom SF Sales Gong (it’s cool, we promise), we bring our wins to the floor on Friday afternoons for our weekly “Wins meeting.” This long-standing tradition brings our entire group together to discuss and celebrate our individual wins. It’s a great way to check in and get a glimpse into the different projects and happenings in our lives.

 

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