Head Due North: Chart the Course of Your Next Role Through a Company’s Values

Like a compass, a solid company mission will guide a team toward its vision.

Written by Kim Conway
Published on Oct. 27, 2021
Head Due North: Chart the Course of Your Next Role Through a Company’s Values
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You’ve heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve — but what about following your heart like a compass?

The heart is where we carry our hopes, dreams and goals, and where they flourish and change with time as we try to attain them. It’s where our fears are held and our values bloom. The heart is the root of human connection and compassion. If a compass can guide you through rough seas and along uncertain paths — all the while, pointing you toward your North Star — with heart, you’ll always be headed in the right direction. 

For Chris McMahon, the connection is closer to literal: “Often seen in the clinical world, ‘cor’ is the Latin word for ‘heart.’ Our core values are the heart of what we do — both for our customers and our teammates.” As the senior vice president of people at Kyruus, a data-driven patient access healthcare platform, McMahon ensures these core values are more than just words on a page — they’re what guide the company through everything from hiring and onboarding to performance measurement and team celebrations.

Sherri Kottmann, chief people officer at application development platform Quickbase, sees convictions in even the smallest of actions. “Values are what you believe and how you behave. They are expressed through thousands of small decisions every day, both within a team and when no one is watching.”

Values, while unique to each person who holds them close, have a common goal: to bring a vision to life. We met with seven local tech professionals to ask them about their values, and the insight they have to offer is inspiring. Across every industry highlighted here, these leaders passionately shared how their company values not only better their teams, but also act as a compass to bring their visions to fruition.


Rob Waldron
Chief Executive Officer • Curriculum Associates


What are your company values and why did you choose them in particular?

At Curriculum Associates, we hold ourselves to high standards with six simple, powerful values guiding every decision and interaction.


Curriculum Associates’ Values

  1. We measure ourselves by the impact we have on teachers and students, not by the size of our pocketbooks.
  2. The quality of our service is as important as the quality of our products.
  3. We embrace all and are committed to building an inclusive, diverse culture.
  4. We lead with integrity in everything we do.
  5. We say it like it is, with grace.
  6. We are high in confidence, but we keep our egos low.


Our values not only fuel our growth, but they also inform product development and define our culture. We chose and committed to these values to ensure our team focuses on what matters most: supporting educators and driving meaningful gains for students across the United States.


How does your team live out your values? 

The pandemic put our commitment to supporting the ever-changing needs of classrooms to the test. We were honored to be the trusted partner schools and districts called on for help to ensure educators and students continued teaching and learning. In response to school closures, our team developed hundreds of free reading and math activity packs to support at-home learning. We also expanded access to our digital i-Ready Instruction program to nearly 2 million additional students.

Internally, we are working to ensure the value of “embracing all” is felt by current and prospective team members. As part of our focus on creating a workplace environment that promotes diversity and inclusion at all levels, our recruiting team has made hiring more equitable. To welcome more diverse candidates, we include gender-neutral language on job descriptions, partnered with new organizations, offer more remote roles, and reflect race and gender diversity in our interview panels. Our efforts are paying off — we’re trending toward achieving our goal of 50 percent of our new hires being people of color this year.


What is your company vision? How do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Since the company’s founding more than 50 years ago, we have been united around a common purpose to make classrooms better places for teachers and students. We’re driven by this vision, constantly improving our products to give every student the chance to succeed. We believe teachers are the essential force needed to connect our programs with improved outcomes, so we strive to empower them with the very best resources and supports to accelerate student growth. Together with educators, we aim to make equitable learning programs a reality — raising the bar and making it reachable for all. 

Our values inspire and guide our larger vision. Our commitment to measuring success by our impact on student achievement shows up in everything we do, from the materials we create to maximize engagement by ensuring all students see themselves in their learning to the high investment in product development that verifies our programs are of the highest quality. 

A shared vision of a world in which every educator and student has the support and resources they need to succeed is our team’s North Star. At the end of the day, we believe the truest measure of our success is our impact on classrooms.



Marian Spurrier
Chief People Officer • Teikametrics


What are your company values, and why did your team choose them in particular?

Our core values are our fundamental beliefs that align us. They support our growing and scalable system by allowing employees to speak the same language, build a cohesive team and move toward our milestones together.


Teikametrics’ Company Values

  • Customer obsession
  • Think big
  • We are all owners
  • Always learn and improve
  • Work together
  • Innovate, move quickly and simplify
  • We set goals and deliver results


We chose these very deliberately as a team. Having learned from past experiences and employee feedback, we determined our business strategy and clarified who we are and who we want to be. It was also extremely important throughout this process that our CEO and founder, Alasdair Mclean-Foreman, play a pivotal role in shaping, testing, evolving and refining them so that they will withstand the road ahead of us. 

To add more context to a few of these values: Customer obsession is incredibly critical in SaaS and e-commerce. Teikametrics is pushing the limits, but transparently, we have also made mistakes. Reflecting on what we’ve learned, we realize it all comes back to obsessing over our customers. Keeping them at the core of what we do will help guide us in the right direction. Additionally, it’s really important that we are ambitious. If we think small, we will get small results. 

Furthermore, wherever you come from, you can continue to learn, improve and better yourself. This value requires an open mind in order to grow. Our team is composed of people from all different backgrounds. We are curious and open to the diversity of what these perspectives bring because we know they will help us continually improve. 

Finally, being a data-driven company, it is essential for us to hold ourselves accountable to our goals. The most crucial component is our impact and what we are doing to raise the bar.


How does your team live out those values?

Recently, our research and development team accomplished a major milestone with our product, and it took everyone rowing in the same direction for us to hit this goal. On the morning of the launch, the team discovered a bug, and because they were open to innovating, moving quickly and simplifying, the issue was resolved rapidly. This product could not have launched without us working together seamlessly as a team.

Our sales team also has done an incredible job, with business development representatives sourcing opportunities and collaborating with our account executives to close new business. This also calls back to customer obsession, as the team develops customer trust at the outset and forges long-term relationships. The teamwork here is critical alongside our core value of setting goals and delivering results. 


What is your company vision? How do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Our vision is to be the world’s leading marketplace optimization platform used by every seller and brand owner, powering the future of e-commerce.

The most important part of our core values is putting them into action. We must practice them consistently to grow our talent and scale our culture. We believe this ultimately propels Teikametrics’ business. By weaving these values into everything we do and using them to execute on our mission and vision, we will be helping every seller in the world with our platform.

Each week, we have an organization-wide all-hands meeting where we focus on a value in action. We recently highlighted setting goals and delivering results, as our sales team had a record-setting month. It was a valuable moment to review the metrics, transparently dig into performance together and celebrate, of course. Most importantly, it highlighted the potential of each of us practicing our values. In this case, we saw that when we do manage what we measure, we will achieve and exceed our goals together. We concluded the meeting with an open Q&A and experienced the most engagement ever in our town hall-style conversation. This kind of consistent practicing of our values continues to propel us, rallying together to see our mission and vision succeed.



Chris McMahon
SVP, People • Kyruus Health


How does your team live out the company’s values? 

Our core values are more than words we put on our careers page and talk about at team meetings — they’re infused into every aspect of the employee experience, including our hiring process, onboarding program, performance measurement and career development framework.

We also have Kyruus Ku:udos, which is a peer-recognition program designed to celebrate Kyruuvians who are exemplifying outstanding behaviors while also championing our CORE values.


Kyruus’ Core Values

  • Caring: We care about doing the right thing, in the right way, every time.
  • Ownership: We own both our successes and our mistakes, taking responsibility and always learning how to be better.
  • Respect: We respect and celebrate the individual traits that enable each of us — our customers, our providers and our patients — to be the best that we can be.
  • Empowerment: We embrace a culture that supports everyone’s ability to contribute and lead.


What is your company vision? How do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Kyruus’ vision is to make healthcare work better for everyone by connecting people to the care they need. Our values help us to drive toward our mission by guiding the decisions we make, goals we set and frameworks for how we hold ourselves accountable against those goals. In particular, our values ground us to achieve our goals in the right way. Our goal attainment is beyond metrics, quota attainment or hitting release milestones — it’s about caring, respecting and empowering each other along the way.



Mark Barrocas
President • SharkNinja


What are your company values, and why did your team choose them in particular?

Our purpose — positively impacting people’s lives every day in every home around the world — isn’t just words; it guides every decision that we make within the company.

SharkNinja has seen extraordinary growth in the last decade, and these core characteristics have been the main driver of our success. In the early days when a few hundred of us huddled in a small office, it was this mindset that empowered us — an industry newcomer — to create category-disrupting products that our consumers would love. 

Keeping these values as our organization grew to more than 2,500 global associates in eight countries was no easy feat, but this mindset is exactly what sets SharkNinja apart.


SharkNinja’s Core Values

  • Rarely satisfied
  • Progress over perfection
  • Details make the difference
  • Winning is a team sport
  • Communicating for impact


What is your company vision? How do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

We aspire to become the world’s most admired small home appliance company by positively impacting people’s lives every day in every home around the world. 

Our values are the bedrock of our product development process: We are rarely satisfied and seek out enormous amounts of consumer feedback to continue improving the product lifecycle experience. We value progress over perfection by addressing one issue at a time in our product development process. We read and take every negative customer review seriously because details make the difference. We have weekly cross-functional product reviews with the executive team, because winning is a team sport. We communicate for impact to achieve all of the above — by constantly iterating and sharing feedback, we identify issues immediately, mobilize to address them and stay aligned despite all the constant change. 

This mindset allows us to build winning products and obsessively focus on delivering for our consumers.


How does your team live out your values?

One of our most exciting launches this year is the Shark HyperAIR hairdryer. Our team was new to the personal care appliance category and quickly deployed our “rarely satisfied” and “progress over perfection” mindsets into the development of the product. For months at the height of the project, the team spent nearly half of their workweeks in hair salons watching and studying testers using our prototype. The constant flow of insights we received led to the exceptional product we now have on the market. Nothing is too small to ignore, and no development stage is too late for changes. We don’t stop learning and iterating when other companies may call it “good enough.”



Amy Dwyer
Senior Director of HR • 3Play Media


What are your company values, and why did the company choose them in particular?

3Play Media’s leadership team chose our core values based on the fact that they truly embody our culture. Our clients, partners and contractors are critical to our business and we want to ensure that they are proud of the work we do. Innovation, continuous learning and sharing our knowledge will continue to help us grow. We love and support our community and believe that embracing individuals with unique qualities and differences will lead to success.


3Play Media’s 6 Core Values:

  1. Delight our customers
  2. Be accountable and act with integrity
  3. Seek improvement
  4. Teach and learn
  5. Pursue, respect and celebrate diversity
  6. Take pride in our community


What is your company vision? How do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

3Play’s vision is to make web video widely accessible, using technology and human expertise to deliver high-quality video accessibility services at a fair cost and unlimited scale.

Seeking improvement through innovation and new products allows us to continue on our accessibility journey and evolve as technologies and the needs of our customers change. As new platforms and modalities emerge for video and online gatherings, and customers seek out innovative ways to deliver information, we will continue to work hard to ensure that we can provide appropriate and affordable accessibility services. Our live captioning goals and offerings are a great example of our values supporting our vision to continue to scale and grow our accessibility products and services.

Pursuing, respecting and celebrating diversity enables us to have a wider array of perspectives, ideas and experiences within our organization. We are better equipped to understand the needs of our customers and deliver exceptional products and services.


How does your team live out your values? 

On Oct. 3, we celebrated and took pride in our community by participating in the Walk4Hearing. 3Play was an official sponsor and provided captioning services for the event. Several 3Players signed up to raise money, donate and walk in the event, and one of our account executives, Dustin Feldman, served as the official emcee. 

This year, 3Player Elisa Lewis introduced and began hosting Allied, a podcast about the latest trends and news on accessibility. Elisa leads conversations with experts in the field to help promote awareness and provide opportunities to learn more about accessibility challenges and best practices.



Sherri Kottmann
Chief People Officer • Quickbase


What are your company’s values and how do they relate to your mission?

We believe there are three values that best deliver a culture of high trust, high performance, belonging, inclusion and growth. These values are only real when we operate with them at our collective core. When that occurs, we can confidently deliver on our vision of unlocking potential through our platform.


Quickbase’s Company Values

  • We win together: We focus on team results, championing each other’s success with respect and candor. 
  • We take ownership: We are accountable to each other, taking initiative and following through. 
  • We improve every day: We are curious problem solvers, embracing change, iterating and always getting better. 


How does the people team that you lead live out the company’s values?

The people team has nearly tripled in size this year to align with our growth plans as an organization, and I am truly excited to be a part of it. Our main goal is to be an active steward of an exemplary employee experience rooted in an authentic and consistent expression of our values. 

In response to incredible market intensity, all hiring practices are under scrutiny. With Quickbase’s commitment to become the most inclusive software company in the market, it became imperative for us to evolve our hiring practices and improve every day to hire more diverse candidates from new talent pools at high velocity. This has involved a fierce commitment to equitable and fair representation practices, as well as offering diversity and inclusion hiring workshops to managers and hiring teams. Through our strong hiring practices and relentless focus on a world-class candidate experience, we ensure that applicants and employees feel represented on either side of the interview. We are dedicated to the mission of diversifying the perspectives of our teams and have made strides to embrace change and consistently improve our hiring process.


What is your company vision? How do your values help support that vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

Quickbase unlocks organizations’ potential to adapt and innovate at speed. Our values are the core behaviors that we believe will help us accomplish this vision. To that end, they’re ingrained in every major talent process: hiring, onboarding, performance reviews and incremental recognition programs. 

The most important word in any of our value statements is “we.” At this moment in our growth, it is imperative that we operate as an integrated group of highly-connected, collaborative and customer-oriented teams working together toward a shared goal. This means every person needs to feel safe to bring their best self to work, use their voice, and stretch and grow. Unlocking the potential that lives within our employees and our customers is core to the Quickbase vision. 

We believe that living out these three simple value statements will stitch us together as a community to help us achieve our vision of inclusion, belonging and growth — both for our employees and customers.



Bridget Garsh
Co-Founder & COO • NeighborSchools


Tell us about your company’s values. What do they mean to you and your work?

At NeighborSchools, we put our caregiver community first. In pursuing our mission, we empower incredible women — 99.5 percent of caregivers working with us are women — to create high-quality, affordable child care options for working parents and earn enough money to support their own families. 


NeighborSchools’ seeks to empower and support child care professionals’ ambitions to:

  • go independent
  • become micro-entrepreneurs
  • open small, independent home daycares


Independent caregivers are the unheralded heroes of our communities. Press coverage of child care focuses on big centers, and many of the well-intentioned child care regulations create enormous barriers and headaches for the independent small-business owner. 

But with a little help, and a strong community supporting them, these caregivers have the potential to reshape child care in our country, one neighborhood at a time. In our first three years, we’ve seen this model succeed across Massachusetts, and we know that if we keep putting the caregivers first, anything is possible.


How does your team live out your values? 

On Fridays we do a team-wide retrospective where we share progress updates and submit shout-outs for teammates who went above and beyond that week. Based on those submissions, one member of the team takes home the coveted “Party Parrot” in recognition of their efforts. For the following week, their slack picture is temporarily replaced with a photo of a parrot — a constant reminder of the values we embrace and the stories of customers we support. 

Some recent examples of our Party Parrot recipients include: Megan on the success team for helping a caregiver launch a daycare in New York in record time, Cedric in engineering for building a new “freemium” version of our app to help prospective caregivers, and Kelsey in marketing for streamlining our internal workflows and allowing recruiters and the success team to work faster.


How do your values help support your company’s vision and set your team up to achieve its goals?

We’re on a mission to rebuild a better, more equitable and human child care model — one that puts people first and is better for caregivers, parents and children. Our vision is to launch a million small, independent daycares — each run by an experienced and licensed professional — bringing high-quality, affordable child care to every neighborhood in America. It’s still early days here at NeighborSchools, but our success gives us confidence that, if we continue to put our caregivers first and support them at every step, the results can be transformative. 

We’re a mission-driven startup and we’ve attracted teammates who believe in that mission. As we start to scale up, we’re always looking to meet talented, dedicated professionals to help us take NeighborSchools to the next level.



Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by respective companies and Shutterstock.

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