What Keeps These Local Leaders Connected to Their Roles?

The right alignment of company values and personal goals led them to join, and inspires them to stay.
Written by Remy Merritt
September 1, 2021Updated: September 1, 2021

In both the personal and professional realms, feeling valued is an important influence on the longevity of any relationship. When it comes to company culture, this takes different forms, depending on how individuals define their own goals and expectations. 

For Celeste Hylton-James, designer at AppSumo, that value comes from the opportunity to support new businesses in their growth. As entrepreneurship continues to redefine workplace culture, creative pursuits in concert with AppSumo’s clients keep Hylton-James inspired. “It’s unique in the sense that no one has dealt with these particular challenges before, and the accessibility to be a part of that shift is what will define this cultural moment,” she said.

For Alex Speed, sales manager at SamCart, finding a role that challenges and invigorates is paramount. In his experience, SamCart has offered a fast-paced setting where each employee is equipped and encouraged to meet their own highest expectations. “It just feels good to see my input not only heard but implemented in real-time. This is an environment where the best idea wins, and that makes me really excited for the future,” he said.

While individual values differ, one key connection shared by fulfilled employees is an alignment between their goals and what their company can offer them. We met with five local professionals to learn more about what drew them to join their team, why they’ve stayed, and where their company is headed.

 

Alex Speed
Sales Manager // SamCart

In Alex Speed’s role with SamCart, transparency, paired with the drive to succeed, makes for a dynamic, fulfilling professional experience.

 

As a tenured employee, what has been the biggest reason you’ve stayed at your company so long? 

The thing that keeps me at SamCart is, without a doubt, the transparency on all levels of the business. This transparency presents itself in multiple positive aspects of my day-to-day job: the ability to go to anyone with any question and expect an answer absent of ego or ulterior motive, the comfort of knowing I can lean not just on my boss but on my team as well, and knowing that we as a company are all on the same page in any situation. There is no feeling of knowledge or information being siphoned, just one big team tackling the same project head-on with equal resources and responsibility.

 

Looking to the future, what excites you most about where your company is headed or, more specifically, the work you’ll do to help your company get there?

I have always said that what I am looking for in a company is the ability to grow with it. SamCart is exactly that. In just the time that I’ve been here we have seen tremendous growth from a headcount and a revenue perspective. We have assembled an amazing team that allows us quick, nimble, NASCAR-esque pit improvements, and being able to tangibly play a part in that is thrilling.

I’ve been tasked with starting and training a new sales development representative program, as well as building out and managing the segment of our small and medium-sized business account executives. It sounds stressful and overwhelming when put in those terms, but I feel fully supported and prepared to obliterate our goals for the upcoming year. 

 

 

Marni Burger
Vice President of Marketing // RapidDeploy

Drawn to RapidDeploy for its mission, Marni Burger found a similar sentiment among her team. Collective alignment and excitement over a mutual cause keeps her driven and fulfilled.

 

What was the deciding factor for you when you accepted your job at your current company, and why?

RapidDeploy has a powerful mission: to reduce emergency response times and improve public safety for telecommunications professionals and first responders. Collectively, our team has more than 500 years in public safety experience, so everyone at the company understands the importance of the mission and is driven, often by personal values, to see the company succeed.

Interviewing with RapidDeploy, I could clearly see the passion of the team and the opportunity that stands in front of the company. I am excited to be part of the solution to modernize 911 with a truly cloud-native solution, driven by data and designed to simplify workflow. Not many companies give you an opportunity to make a significant difference to your community and country. Of course, there are other things like generous compensation, benefits, vacation and an emphasis on diversity, but the mission and drive of the company was my deciding factor.

 

Looking to the future, what excites you most about where your company is headed or, more specifically, the work you’ll do to help your company get there?

RapidDeploy is working to fundamentally change technology in public safety, reimagining the entire 911 workflow. This involves modernizing every 911 communications center, regardless of size, budget or location. This cannot be done with the outdated technology on the market today. Public safety needs integrated native-cloud solutions with a diverse, connected tech ecosystem to help solve today’s challenges. RapidDeploy’s ecosystem enables real-time updates of what is happening at and on the way to the scene, providing situational awareness and faster response times. And of course, the cloud enables faster deployment of solutions and flexible systems that work from anywhere. While I don’t have the numerous years of public safety experience that so many other employees do here, I have years of experience in software and SaaS. I am excited to help RapidDeploy educate emergency communications centers on the value of the cloud, and how it is a game-changer for them and the communities they serve.

 

 

Himali Tadwalkar
Head of Partner Marketing // Miro

Being part of a company’s initial growth can foster a deep sense of connection, particularly when that growth is almost sevenfold. Himali Tadwalkar’s experience with Miro throughout its rapid expansion has reinforced that, regardless of size, the entire team values an underlying company culture of care.

 

As a tenured employee, what has been the biggest reason you've stayed at your company so long? 

My experience with Miro began as a power user and it fundamentally changed the way I communicate my thinking. The opportunity to be part of a company that enables new ways to collaborate was a mission I knew I had to join. My employee journey started when there were fewer than 150 people companywide — for context, there are now nearly a thousand — and during my time here, I’ve seen so much growth in both myself and in Miro. I’ve built programs from scratch and seen them flourish, and am pushed to iterate my approach to the work every day as the market shifts.

From my direct teammates to the most senior leaders, everyone at Miro sees opportunities to get ahead in the market by focusing on high-impact work. Even more importantly, employees at Miro care deeply about each other — it’s built into the culture but mostly, it’s innate and starts with every individual. This translates to huge potential for growth and success for everyone at the company, and my team is directly contributing to it. This is going to be a hallmark point in my career and I feel fortunate to work with this team.

 

Looking to the future, what excites you most about where your company is headed or, more specifically, the work you’ll do to help your company get there?

Miro is on the fast track to success and there’s no sign of us slowing down. Our product is unique because our culture is unique — when you focus on empathy, iteration and playing as a team, you can create something beautifully designed and centered around user experience. Industries and functions are adopting new ways of working that stretch their creativity, collaboration and productivity, and as the market leader in our space, it is so exciting to see how Miro plays a role in that story. We’re seeing the future of work being made right before us, and Miro gets to be in the driver’s seat.

Sitting on the partner marketing team, my teammates and I have a unique opportunity to work with the best companies in the industry and craft narratives together with the brightest minds in and outside of Miro. It’s our mission to make our platform available to everyone and help customers redefine team collaboration using the tools that they love. The potential to extend our reach, expand our product use cases and empower millions of users is limitless. 

 

Celeste Hylton-James
Designer // AppSumo

AppSumo supported behemoths like Dropbox and Mailchimp in their earliest days of growth; with that history in mind, the opportunity to set new businesses up for success keeps Celeste Hylton-James motivated and connected to her role.

 

As a tenured employee, what has been the biggest reason you’ve stayed at your company so long?

One of the primary reasons I stay at AppSumo is the transparency of communication we have as a team. As a creative professional, it’s easy for others to misunderstand the process of creating beneficial collateral. In return, it’s easy for me to overlook how my work impacts those responsible for other areas of the project. Our departments are not isolated islands. We actively communicate our pain points. I also have many opportunities to work on portfolio-worthy projects, which is a must for me.

 

Looking to the future, what excites you most about where your company is headed or, more specifically, the work you’ll do to help your company get there?

We are at a crossroads that is crucial to our society’s forward progress. It’s unique in the sense that no one has dealt with these particular challenges before, and the accessibility to be a part of that shift is what will define this cultural moment. AppSumo was already a part of that cultural moment before the pandemic, redefining how we work. Our products are intangible reflections of how we deal with change in entrepreneurship. 

Helping companies access culture through communication graphics and their brand identity has been so rewarding. Branding projects are my North Star.

 

 

 

Bianca Polk
Associate Backend Engineer // Shipwell

For Bianca Polk, interviewing with Shipwell allowed her to identify an immediate alignment between her core values and the company’s. Furthermore, its emphasis on employee well-being makes for an environment she can thrive in.

 

What was the deciding factor for you when you accepted your job at your current company, and why?

When I interviewed with Shipwell, it just felt like the right fit. I loved that there was considerable alignment with my values and the company’s core behaviors. I was most impressed with the emphasis the interview panel placed on people, culture and teamwork. Working at a company that fosters career growth, and a culture that values the well-being of employees is refreshing.

 

Looking to the future, what excites you most about where your company is headed or, more specifically, the work you’ll do to help your company get there?

Shipwell is building the future of the shipping and logistics industry. To be able to work for a company that helps to ease and optimize communication and connections between logistics services is very exciting. Most of all, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from a group of brilliant people, develop my skills further and contribute to functional solutions that could help drive innovation.

 

 

 

LoudCrowd is working to help brands ignite an audience and turn customers into influencers. These two team leaders share energy, drive and enthusiasm for the brand and its growth — influencers themselves, and reinforcing a hallmark of LoudCrowd’s company culture.

Lacey Miller
Head of Marketing

 

What was the deciding factor for you when you accepted your job at your current company, and why?

Following my experiences with growing a previous company from its early stages to exit, I knew I could use my background to help LoudCrowd navigate not just marketing, but also hiring, company culture and product growth. It’s why I joined LoudCrowd at the seed stage: to lead marketing strategy as we build brand awareness and take on a new category. There is nothing more exciting than the work that needs to be done and the rapid pace of growth at this early stage. We’ve seen the kind of early success all startups strive for, which speaks to the foundational team our executives put together.
 

Rita Rush
Strategy and Operations Manager

As a tenured employee, what has been the biggest reason you’ve stayed at your company so long? 

Rather than one reason, it’s a combination of unique pairings that makes LoudCrowd so special. The team is incredibly driven and fun to work with, and we’re empowered to have so much autonomy in our work. The resulting impact we can have on our work stream and the business as a whole is really motivating! We celebrate the wins and motivate each other amid the obstacles. Lastly, the leadership actively and consciously creates this culture every day. These pillars of our culture are analyzed, discussed and made high-priority amid the more typical business key performance indicators. That is why I’m so proud to be at LoudCrowd.

 

 

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