How 5 Boston Companies Foster Professional Development for Employees

At these companies, promises of professional development are fulfilled through programs and opportunities focused on growth and mentorship.

Written by Lucas Dean
Published on Feb. 21, 2023
How 5 Boston Companies Foster Professional Development for Employees
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Where are you now? Where do you want to be?

Cumulatively, this ten-word line of questioning drives how we live our daily lives and plan for our futures. While the initial question is relatively simple to answer, the follow-up can shift where we live and work, who we surround ourselves with and what we can achieve in the future.

At a time when unemployment is at its lowest point since 1969 and avenues for career changes are numerous, professional development opportunities are a determining factor in what job seekers desire — while a lack of growth is driving many to split from their current companies.

According to a global survey conducted by McKinsey, for respondents who quit their jobs between April 2021 and April 2022, a lack of career development and advancement ranked first as their reason for leaving.

Insufficient career advancement may be a leading cause of attrition. Conversely, companies that provide team members with meaningful growth opportunities and professional development programs can attract top talent.

At five Boston companies, employees are developing noteworthy skills with the help of leaders who are genuinely invested in unlocking their potential and accessing untapped reservoirs of creativity.

 

Courtney Bogad
Global Account Manager, Enterprise • Bullhorn

Bullhorn is an applicant tracking system used by staffing agencies to centralize the recruitment and applicant management process.

 

What are some of the coolest professional development opportunities Bullhorn offers?

Bullhorn is always finding new ways to connect employees with similar career trajectories with the goal of building valuable mentorship opportunities. During my five years here, I have seen these initiatives evolve significantly. I have been engaged in peer mentorship between individual contributors and senior leadership, which has helped to propel my career aspirations and allow me to share my perspective internally.

I was offered the incredible opportunity to participate in our mentorship program, which placed me as a mentor to women within the sales organization. Another initiative that I loved being a part of was Breaking Silos; this engagement connected individuals across Bullhorn with colleagues who reside in different locations and departments.

 

Walk us through your professional development journey at Bullhorn, so far. How has your company played a role in supporting and nurturing your career growth?

I joined Bullhorn around five and a half years ago, and I can honestly say that I am a very different professional than I was on my first day. My role began as an account manager for our SMB team and has evolved into my current role as a global account manager, working with our largest and most strategic customers.

My professional development through these two titles spanned five different roles, with the focus of my growth being on strategic thinking, executive engagement and peer mentorship. What I have appreciated most about Bullhorn through this development is that there’s been consistent support and engagement from leadership to provide a runway for career growth. I’ve also appreciated their openness to new ideas and their adaptability to what our customers need in the form of account management development.

My professional development through these two titles spanned five different roles, with the focus of my growth being around strategic thinking, executive engagement and peer mentorship.”

 

Looking ahead, what new skills or competencies are you hoping to develop? And how will your company help you achieve those goals?

I look forward to gaining more experience and skills around formal customer success and revenue management, as well as eventual moves into people leadership. I have a passion for account management and client retention, and I am actively working to define a more formal customer success strategy for the clients I work with. As I look to expand my expertise, it has been incredibly beneficial to have colleagues with whom I’ve been paired to ramp up my knowledge. Additionally, having a supportive leadership team that encourages career development — and the exercises and coaching to achieve those goals — provides me with the personal comfort of knowing that others are rooting for and investing in my success.

 

 

Ricky Egge
Director of Sales Engineering • Tufin

Tufin manages and automates security changes across next-gen firewalls and network devices.

 

What are some of the coolest professional development opportunities Tufin offers?

I think one of the greatest things Tufin does is our software engineering summits. It’s been a great opportunity to get together with peers from all over the world to break bread, share experiences and learn from our top-notch talent. Beyond that, I’ve had great opportunities to work with some of the largest companies in the world, understand what their challenges are and work with them on their security journey. It’s rewarding when you have a client on the back end who’s willing to reach out and talk with others because of the success they’ve achieved.

 

Walk us through your professional development journey at Tufin, so far. How has your company played a role in supporting and nurturing your career growth?

Throughout my time at Tufin, I’ve covered a few roles. I started as a software engineer four years ago and have progressed through being a software engineering team lead to moving to product management for a brief stint and now to being the director of software engineers for the Americas.

Throughout this, Tufin has done a great job of empowering me to be successful by respecting new ideas and providing guidance on what to work on, which has allowed me to focus on the things that interest me. Today it’s training on conscious leadership that’s helping me understand where I am mentally so I can be a better leader and co-worker.

Tufin has done a great job of empowering me to be successful by respecting new ideas and providing guidance on what to work on, which has allowed me to focus on the things that interest me.”

 

Looking ahead, what new skills or competencies are you hoping to develop? And how will your company help you achieve those goals?

I’m hoping to continue on the conscious leadership path, as I see the value in it from a personal and professional level. From there, I’m striving to grow my sales skills, and I’ll use our 2023 sales kickoff as an example. I learned from our training and group sessions that I need to be better at uncovering metrics and setting traps for competition. To that end, I think Tufin has done a fantastic job of putting materials in our hands to get the juices flowing on ideas for questions to ask and traps to set. It’ll be on me to work on my execution of those and ensure I’m baking that knowledge into my day-to-day work.

 

 

Endpoint Clinical team members at a conference.
endpoint Clinical

 

Elizabeth Sawyer
Senior Director, Human Resources • Endpoint Clinical

Healthtech company Endpoint Clinical provides interactive response technology systems and solutions to life sciences professionals.

 

What are some of the coolest professional development opportunities endpoint Clinical offers?

Depending on your role in the organization, Endpoint Clinical offers employees opportunities to attend external conferences and workshops, receive certifications and leverage training libraries such as LinkedIn Learning to further develop their personal and professional skills. 

Additionally, new employees attend Endpoint Academy, a structured onboarding program tailored to our industry and the skills needed for employees to be successful in their roles. Our managers participate in a program called Coach to LEAD, which is a series of training modules, workshops and articles geared toward enabling our leadership to be successful coaches.

Our managers participate in a series of training modules, workshops and articles geared towards enabling our leadership to be successful coaches.”

 

Walk us through your professional development journey at Endpoint Clinical, so far. How has your company played a role in supporting and nurturing your career growth?

Endpoint has been extremely supportive of my professional development, whether it has been supporting travel to engage with employees across our geographies, attending HR conferences or working with consultants that are experts in leadership development.

 

Looking ahead, what new skills or competencies are you hoping to develop? And how will your company help you achieve those goals?

For 2023, we have launched a new performance management framework that highlights key competencies for our employees’ success. Additionally, every employee is tasked to create an Individual Development Plan where short- and long-term goals are identified. Every employee will review their IDP regularly with their manager and reflect on the achievement of their goals or newly learned skills or knowledge.

Within our HR team, I would like to focus on the competency of “Getting Results,” by defining metrics for success and ensuring deliverables and accountabilities across our organization are clear. We have implemented a number of new tools that will help us look at data as well as enable us to improve and streamline processes. 

 

 

Brian Fuerst
Senior Technical Project Manager • Forward Financing

Fintech company Forward Financing provides small businesses with fast, flexible funding. 

 

What are some of the coolest professional development opportunities Forward Financing offers?

Forward provides several professional development opportunities to employees. From day one, every employee has access to a yearly professional development allowance. This is viewed as an important investment in employees’ careers and the organization’s future and is intended to drive a culture of ongoing learning and development.

Outside of formal professional development opportunities, the foundational structure at Forward Financing encourages professional growth on a daily basis. Many departments work cross-functionally, which enables team members to gain better insights and exercise communication skills, and provides opportunities for peers to lead projects, gain leadership experience and develop confidence. 

Outside of formal professional development opportunities, the foundational structure at Forward Financing encourages professional growth on a daily basis.”

 

Forward also provides space for team members to develop leadership skills in areas outside of their job descriptions by coordinating volunteer opportunities with teammates and encouraging people to present on a non-work related topic as part of our bi-weekly, all-company meetings. These opportunities foster a welcoming environment where caring is cool and helping is the norm.

 

Walk us through your professional development journey at Forward Financing, so far. How has your company played a role in supporting and nurturing your career growth?

I joined Forward Financing in September 2021 as a senior technical project manager and the inaugural member of tech’s project management team. I’ve had the opportunity to grow with the company from a department of one to a built-out team of project managers — picking up leadership skills and confidence along the way. Something I appreciate about Forward is the established career ladder for the project management role, which has given me direction on the skills I need to continue to build and refine as I look toward moving to the next level.

Not only are the pathways made clear but the fast-moving environment provides opportunities to sharpen those skills in my daily responsibilities. I’ve played a critical role in several complex, high-risk projects where I’ve built project plans, facilitated decision-making conversations between stakeholders and the technology team, and coordinated deployment plans to ensure smooth production launches. I’ve demonstrated the value a project manager can add to a technology department and have built strong relationships with business stakeholders and within the department.

 

Looking ahead, what new skills or competencies are you hoping to develop? And how will your company help you achieve those goals?

In the next year, I’m looking forward to working with my team to continue developing our department. I plan to create structures aimed at streamlining communication between the technology team and leadership, refine role expectations for project managers, extend relationships with business stakeholders and create an environment where my team and peers are comfortable in regularly assessing and iterating on their deliverables.

Additionally, I have goals of continuing to provide excellence in project execution and developing my own style as a people manager. I plan to use my professional development allowance to strengthen my people management skills. Being able to combine training opportunities with real-world experiences is a big plus in helping me become a more effective leader within Forward Financing.

Joining Forward was a great career decision for me and has provided avenues to work with a great team focused on an important mission. I look forward to what challenges and opportunities lie ahead of me in 2023, knowing that I’ve been put in a position to succeed and that I have the support from leadership and my manager to always shoot for the very best.

 

 

A Nuance team member presents in a conference room.
Nuance

 

Lissandra Lopez
Senior Principal Talent & Organizational Development Manager • Nuance

Nuance is pioneering conversational AI by creating solutions that enable greater communicative understanding and analysis.

 

What are some of the coolest professional development opportunities Nuance offers?

Nuance offers a variety of professional development opportunities for all employees. It starts with our culture, which encourages a growth mindset. We understand and respect that how people learn is very different — for this reason, it is important to offer diverse ways to learn, grow and develop. 

The hackathons are a fun, hands-on way to foster a culture of innovation and provide opportunities for employees to think, act and build outside of their day-to-day work. Since we are a Microsoft company, this year we were invited to participate in their global hackathon, which brings employees together from different backgrounds and experiences to “hack” on ideas that inspire them. 

Our global mentoring program helps employees build their diverse network, learn more about different parts of the organization and strengthen their leadership, cross-cultural and relationship management skills as they develop in their careers. 

Our DevelopMEnt month program encourages collective learning sessions facilitated by both internal and external subject matter experts. Topics range from learning about internal products, growth mindset, business agility and other exciting topics.

 

Walk us through your professional development journey at Nuance, so far. How has your company played a role in supporting and nurturing your career growth?

I have been at Nuance for a little over three years, and in my role, I focus on career, professional and technical development programs for all employees. My goal is to make employees aware of learning and development resources, help them discover their passions and understand that everyone’s career journey is unique and different.  

I am a life-long learner who sees opportunities for growth and development in everything I do. Nuance’s values — specifically our “Stay curious,” “Talk about it” and “Fail fast forward” values — resonate with me and align with my values. Because of this, Nuance has given me the opportunity to follow my curiosities and be bold and innovative. My ideas are welcomed, my voice is heard and my opinions matter. When organizations support and nurture employees and allow them to be their true authentic selves, growth happens.

When organizations support and nurture employees and allow them to be their true authentic selves, growth happens.”

 

Looking ahead, what new skills or competencies are you hoping to develop? And how will your company help you achieve those goals?

As someone with intellectual curiosity, I believe that learning never stops. In 2023, I am working toward attaining the Associate Certified Coach credential through the International Coach Federation. I am also looking to return to school to earn a doctoral degree in learning and leadership. Nuance is an organization that supports continuous development and encourages employees to explore development opportunities with an emphasis on learning in the flow of work. They also offer tuition reimbursement to provide financial assistance for those seeking to continue their education.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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