“Love People!?! I love it!”
That’s what I heard yelled out as my “Welcome to IAI” document was being read in the kitchen by my family.
What’s love got to do (got to do) with it you ask? Let’s get to that in just a second.
4 days in February was all it took for me to leave a career in the not-for-profit sector and join this start-up called integrate.ai. It all started with a conversation with Megan, our VP of Go to Market.
You know those conversations where you immediately click with the person, you are aligned with what they are saying and the time flies by way too fast?
That was one of them.
Over the next 4 days, I met with 5 other team members and felt that same connection with every one of them.
Oh, interview tip here…one of the people you will meet is our Founder and CEO Steve.
Don’t worry, super smart guy and a pleasure to talk to (shameless I know), but if you need some help getting over the CEO interview jitters, he gave a talk a few years ago where he tells the audience his favorite interview questions…he still uses some of them!
But I digress…late on the 4th day I had accepted an offer to join the team! To say I was excited would have been an understatement.
Excitement almost immediately turned to nervousness. What was working at a start-up going to be like? They talked a lot about culture and values, do they live them?
All of the nervousness went away my first day. I was met in the lobby of the building by Megan and we grabbed a coffee before heading up to the office.
Little did I know there was an amazing surprise waiting for me…I don’t want to spoil it for future hires but all I can say is…I was astounded!
I finally got to my desk and it was covered in integrate.ai gear, even the customary start-up hoodie!
This brings us back to our opening question…What does Love have to do with it?
Love People, one of our 5 core values was prominently on display during my first few hours at integrate.ai.
At integrate.ai, we relentlessly pursue a collaborative, supportive culture where we empower everyone to reach their full potential.
The first step is making sure all of our team members know exactly what we value as an organization. Our core values are evident throughout the interview process (including 2 dedicated values interviews) and were featured throughout onboarding.
What are the rest? Great question, here they are!
There were a couple more highlights from my first day. Next was definitely “IAI Jumpstart” by Danielle, our Sr. People Experience Specialist. All things integrate.ai were covered by Danielle, but also her love for Mariah and all things diva!
Seriously though, as I’m sure you have guessed, most of this conversation focused not on payroll or vacation (although that was covered) but on our culture and values.
At integrate.ai, we don’t look to written codes for clues about how to behave…we look to each other.
We are all culture co-founders. We are role models and we set high standards for each other.
Culture co-founder, I love (there’s that word again) that concept. To me, being a culture co-founder means I am accountable for living our values in an authentic way. That our culture at integrate.ai is everyone’s responsibility.
Next up was a one-on-one with Steve where we discussed our purpose and culture. He also compared working at integrate.ai to ultimate running. If you are not familiar with ultimate running, it's when a marathon is too easy so you have to run further. A lot further.
Essentially this means that in the moment, while you are in the thick of things, what you are doing will be really hard and probably painful but when you have accomplished your goal, you will look back proudly and say it was fun.
This is affectionately known as “level 3 fun” at integrate.ai.
I left inspired to take up ultimate running and I am not a runner!
Lunch and meetings with my new teammates rounded out a perfect first day.
Day 2 begins and reality sets in. The office vibe certainly is different at home. For starters, the snacks aren’t as good…or as free!
It was time to see what this was really going to be like. It was time to see if all this value and culture talk extended past the stand-up desk and hoodie.
10:00 on my second day, my first cross-team meeting. Lots of pressure as we work to close a big customer.
The meeting was hard. But we do hard things.
I saw it all. All of the values displayed authentically.
Everyone was dialed in. There were honest conversations. There was conflict. There were several checks on alignment with our purpose.
This was a group that trusted each other and was working towards a common goal.
I don’t want to mislead you, not all meetings at integrate.ai are difficult and challenging. We do have several opportunities to celebrate success, goal set and review.
So what can we conclude after 10 days at integrate.ai?
I joined a team of individuals who share a common passion for what we do and are committed to abiding by a core set of values.
We know what success looks like and we know how each team member will contribute to that success.
And if we don’t, we ask questions, engage in conflict (the good kind) and we seek clarity until we find it.
Oh, and I almost forgot!
The technology we are developing is groundbreaking!
We are delivering leading edge privacy enhancing technologies that are going to help answer the world's most important questions without risking the most important data.
Sound like fun? Then you should definitely check out our careers page.
Or give one of us a shout. You never know, you may just start the clock on your 4 days!