Factors That Keep These Locals Connected to Their Companies

The right alignment of company values and personal goals led them to join, and inspires them to stay.

Written by Remy Merritt
Published on Sep. 02, 2021
Factors That Keep These Locals Connected to Their Companies
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It may be too early to say that stuffy, impersonal cubicle culture is gone — there are certainly still offices around the country that haven’t quite made it to a 2021-friendly environment. That said, there is no doubt that millennials — currently making up the majority of the workforce — have had a weighty influence on this evolution.

Happy employees attract new talent, as Faustina Owusu experienced while interviewing with EverQuote, an online marketplace for car insurance. “During my interview, you could tell how much the employees loved the work they were doing and the company they were working for,” she said. The opportunity to work alongside enthusiastic peers in a supportive environment made her decision an easy one. 

People also love a good cause. For Michele Pratusevich, director of autonomous systems at AppHarvest, the mission she’s drawn to at work is improving global food supply. “Reducing food waste by automating tomato harvesting is a big motivator, together with the possibility of seeing my work in farms across the country in a matter of a few years,” she said. A holistic relationship to her work and the values it represents keeps her motivated to press for solutions.

Timothy Trodden found similar inspiration at Butterfly Network. Healthcare, with all its complexities and room for improvement, needs enthusiastic talent to solve deep-rooted challenges — and as Butterfly Network’s chief human resources officer and senior vice president, Trodden is invested in that development. “The exciting part about that is ensuring we have the right talent, leadership and culture in place to build a company that can meet our patients’ and customers’ needs,” he said.

In choosing a role, there are many factors to consider, each of which can have a significant impact on retention and motivation. These local leaders shared what led them to join their teams, what keeps them inspired in their roles and where their companies are headed.

 

Michele Pratusevich
Director, Autonomous Systems • AppHarvest

Rallying behind a mission to improve global food supply, Pratusevich finds value in her work with AppHarvest. The potential to solve complex global problems with data-driven solutions keeps her motivated and inspired.

 

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

At the point at which AppHarvest acquired RootAI, I had spent three years at RootAI working on an autonomous harvesting robot to pick grape and cherry tomatoes. The work is unique in the robotics space; it is an application of highly sophisticated mechanical, electrical, algorithmic and software techniques working together toward a positive environmental impact, and I’m thrilled that AppHarvest sees the value in that work.

As a technologist, it’s motivating to see the output of my work out in the world, and AppHarvest is a vehicle for that. I am excited to be applying my knowledge of computer vision and machine learning into a tangible robotic application every day. Reducing food waste by automating tomato harvesting is a big motivator, together with the possibility of seeing my work in farms across the country in a matter of a few years. UN studies say we need to produce 70 percent more food by 2050, and our current agricultural methods can’t handle that. It’s the mission to produce far more food with far fewer resources, and to do it sustainably, that unites us.

 

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?

What excites me most about the future of AppHarvest is the potential to offer scalable solutions to solve global problems. AppHarvest is using technology to change the way we feed the world by creating a network of sustainable, climate-resilient indoor farms, and I’m proud that my work will contribute to that. My work involves coordinating between many different disciplines, both within and outside of software, to develop algorithms for an autonomous robotic harvester that collects data to help optimize farm operations — from enhancing the greenhouse environment to improving overall plant health. I am excited to apply my knowledge in computer vision and machine learning to an application that will increase the robustness and sustainability of our food supply. AppHarvest values data-driven thinking, and I am looking forward to seeing that type of thinking scale as AppHarvest grows.

 

 

 

Faustina Owusu
Software Engineer • EverQuote

Happiness is contagious, and meeting enthusiastic employees can be the inspiration for joining a team. For Faustina Owusu, seeing her future colleagues’ passion for their work and the company sealed the deal.

 

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

The deciding factor for me was EverQuote’s company culture. I’ve never experienced a company that had such a welcoming and friendly environment. During my interview, you could tell how much the employees loved the work they were doing and the company they were working for. As I was doing my research and looking at the company’s goal, I knew that this was the place 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?

What excites me most is EverQuote’s growth. We are offering more services, we are hiring more people, and overall, we are gaining more customers. This shows that the work we are doing is paying off. This also means that, as time goes on, the work will become more complex and challenging as we will now be offering services on a larger scale. The complexity ahead is motivating — if it helps someone find the best insurance quote, then I am more than ready to take on that challenge.

 

 

 

Timothy Trodden
Chief Human Resources Officer & Senior VP • Butterfly Network, Inc.

With a behemoth like healthcare, there are ample challenges to solve — and in the process, opportunities to positively impact patients’ lives. Timothy Trodden was drawn to Butterfly Network for its potential to shape the future of the industry.

 

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

A number of different factors came into play. I loved the product and mission “to democratize health.” I loved that the culture was resonant of a startup, though the company is public. I am also excited to be at Butterfly Network in the early stages of a new CEO, having the ability to build strategy but also make changes very quickly with a hands-on approach.

The deciding factor was to be able to be part of a company that can shape the way healthcare is practiced, aiming to help people live better, more productive lives. I’ve worked in healthcare for a long time and it is very complex. It also definitely needs to be improved. I am excited by the opportunity to enhance clinical outcomes for patients with better information and earlier intervention for clinicians, which would lower healthcare costs overall.

 

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?

Butterfly has so much opportunity to grow and shape healthcare. The exciting part about that is ensuring we have the right talent, leadership and culture in place to build a company that can meet our patients’ and customers’ needs. HR thrives here, and it is such a business driver when we get those things right.

 

 

 

Dana Fallon
Director of Sales (Emerging Products) • Rapid7

While interviewing at Rapid7, Dana Fallon experienced firsthand the energy and ambitious culture that drives the entire organization. That shared enthusiasm led him to join, and continues to inspire him today. 

 

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

When I was considering Rapid7 almost two years ago, one intangible that stood out to me was the sense of shared mission around a common goal. It wasn’t just a ubiquitous belief, but an energy that seemed to permeate across the organization. It spoke to the culture that Rapid7 had built, which I recognized as a key piece to achieving its stated growth ambitions. It has also proven to be critical in the wake of the pandemic, given all the associated challenges.

 

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?

As Rapid7 continues its evolution from a predominantly single-product company to that of a multi-product and -platform solution, I’ve never felt more energized about the role my team is playing to bolster the company’s overall value proposition and to help customers close the security achievement gap. It’s clear that companies are looking for a holistic solution, and my team’s focus on our emerging products has, and will continue to play a pivotal role in their success.

 

 

 

Sam Olukotun
Senior Solutions Engineer • CircleCI

For some, a key component of job satisfaction is a relationship with the product itself. Sam Olukotun enjoyed using CircleCI’s product, and saw the opportunity to grow with and learn from his future team.

 

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

The deciding factors for me when I accepted my job at CircleCI were the product’s impact and the company culture. These were important factors for me because, first, I wanted to work on a product that I enjoyed using. As a former full-stack engineer who had experienced, firsthand, how tedious and cumbersome it could be to implement continuous integration, I was happy with my experience implementing CircleCI. Second, during the interview process, the empathy and demeanor of the HR team as well as the interview panel — which consisted of some of my potential teammates — convinced me that this was a team I would not only enjoy working with, but could also learn from and grow with. For these reasons, joining CircleCI was an easy choice 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?

I am most excited about what CircleCI could accomplish with our acquisition of Vamp. I see an opportunity for us to expand our domain of excellence beyond continuous integration into the realm of change validation. Growing in this direction means we can empower engineering teams to create and ship value to their customers at all stages of the software development lifecycle.

As a solutions engineer, I am excited about the opportunity to engage engineers, engineering managers and CTOs in discussions around how they can accomplish more with their limited resources by partnering with CircleCI.

 

 

Jackson Howell
Full Stack Engineer • Piaggio Fast Forward

For Jackson Howell, the opportunity to take the lead on an important project — leveraging his existing skills and also developing them with challenging work — was the deciding factor in joining Piaggio Fast Forward

 

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

It was an opportunity to take ownership of an important project. I was interviewing to take the lead on a specific internal tool that would leverage both my software and design skills. This was a rare opportunity, allowing me practically free rein when it came to decision-making, in terms of design and tech stack. I also enjoyed spending time with the people who interviewed me and the newly renovated office space.  

The work is interesting, challenging and often on the cutting-edge. Robots have a certain appeal in general and bring with them several additional layers of complexity, compared to a traditional software environment. 

 

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?

When I began, I had an opportunity to take ownership of an important project. Now that this project is operational, I have begun branching out in several different directions. This is key since it keeps my work interesting, and I feel like I am constantly learning and growing as a developer. Personally, I am looking ahead to the development of fleet management initiatives and the challenges that arise when scaling. It may present an opportunity to package some of the internal tools I have been working on into client-facing software by developing a business-oriented app for operating our Gita robots, which is exciting.

 

 

Antonio Martinez
Design Director, Product Design • Rightpoint

When a role aligns with personal and professional interests, it’s a winning match. Rightpoint’s process for design and product innovation resonated with Antonio Martinez, and the opportunity to drive its vision keeps him motivated in his role.

 

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

I’ve always been about design and product innovation. When I researched the design leadership at Rightpoint and the product innovation model that combines agile practices, design thinking and lean UX, I was immediately interested in the company. At Rightpoint, product teams are a triad of product manager, design lead and tech lead, who collaborate closely to effectively integrate the competencies and roles throughout the engagement. This interdependent trio enhances the team’s efficacy, velocity and overall product quality. In this business, that’s how you get things done.

 

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?

My passions lie within design strategy and innovation initiatives. Being one of Rightpoint's digital product subject matter experts, our group explores provocative ideas, new technologies and innovative working methods. I’ve always liked to push the edge and explore possibilities. We use our comprehensive team of industry experts, design thought leaders and technology specialists to engage business innovation opportunities using design thinking and customer-centric design methods. Rightpoint is one of those companies that isn’t afraid to push boundaries and has seen incredible growth as a result. It pays off to invest in people who have a vision and aren’t afraid to do the work to make it a reality.

 

 

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

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