The Moment These New Hires Realized They Made the Right Career Call

Nine new arrivals share the exact moment they realized their new company was the perfect place for them and what they love about their work.
Written by Michael Hines
April 18, 2022Updated: April 18, 2022

Next to buying a house, accepting a job offer is one of the biggest decisions someone will ever have to make. That may sound like an exaggeration, but think about all that joining a new company entails.

For some, it means leaving an old employer behind, one that may offer stability and familiarity. For those making a complete career change, accepting an offer means having to both prove themselves to their new company and prove to themselves that they can master their new profession. Even those who are completely sure of their decision still face the daunting task of establishing friendships, partnerships and networks from the ground up at their new company.

Accepting a new job is no small decision, and those best equipped to help candidates make that choice are a company’s newest hires. These recent arrivals know all about the questions and concerns candidates have, along with how rewarding taking the leap into the unknown can be. We recently spoke with several of them about the moment they realized they made the right choice along with what they love most about their work and companies so far.

 

Stephen Vellanoweth
Account Executive, Cyber Threat Intelligence

 

Stephen Vellanoweth did his homework before joining Dataminr, whose AI-powered software analyzes public information sources to detect emergency events and threats around the world. Vellanoweth told Built In that after researching companies in this niche industry, joining Dataminr was a “no brainer.” Here’s why. 

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

My decision didn’t rest on one moment. It was a collection of cyber events with an impact on B2B, like the SolarWinds hack, Log4j vulnerabilities and more recently the emergence of geopolitical turmoil where cybersecurity has become the tip of the spear. Real-time intelligence has become an imperative for managing these occurrences, and I saw real potential for the effect it can have on the future of threat investigations. 

When I started reviewing the space, there was a short list of key players who helped provide real-time information and contextual data that fusion centers could take action on. However, one had the largest scope of public sources and was consistently accurate and constantly praised for the speed of their real-time information alerts: Dataminr. It’s truly an unmatched leader in correlating data across surface, deep and dark web activity.

It’s hard to find companies that are successful, well-established and continue to remain vigilant in how they address opportunity.”

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve had the opportunity to work on so far?

Helping to bring our enhanced cyber topics to market. I was lucky to join Dataminr early enough to work with product, marketing and sales on how we see this piece of our portfolio moving the needle on threat investigations. During this process we’ve already had amazing one-on-one feedback sessions with some of the largest and most innovative companies in the United States, and it’s exciting to see how quickly the team can expedite product roadmaps. I’ve worked in corporate and startup environments alike, and it’s hard to find companies that are successful, well-established and continue to remain vigilant in how they address opportunity. 

 

What do you love most about the culture of Dataminr?

It’s interesting how the word “culture” has morphed over the years from in-office ping pong tables and barista bars to unlimited PTO and remote-first roles. In my opinion, a great culture comes down to working with individuals with a thirst to know “why” and the willingness to roll up their sleeves to find the answer. That combination is harder to find than you think, and I love that Dataminr embraces this spirit. It fosters the need for cross-collaboration and drives a strong relationship between sales and marketing to truly align on strategies. 

Beyond that, I have had countless one-on-one sessions over the past three months with individuals at various levels across multiple departments, including senior management, VPs, directors, managers. Everyone wants to have an impact and does so together.

 

 

Jawayne Paisley
Sales Development Representative

 

If asked, few tech workers will say that team meetings are the best part of the day, to put it lightly. Not Jawayne Paisley. Paisley recently joined business review platform Trustpilot as a sales development representative and said it’s his team’s weekly meetings that fully solidified the feeling that he made the right choice with his career.

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

There are many instances where I have felt like I made the right choice, but that feeling really resonates with me during our weekly team meetings. On Thursdays before lunch, we have a team meeting where we talk about both what we learned during the week and our plans for the weekend. I like that the meetings aren’t solely centered around work-related topics and that we can speak on stuff we have going on outside of work.

I like that team meetings aren’t solely centered around work topics.

 

What do you love most about the culture of your team?

I love the fact that all my team members are around the same age as me. It’s easy to relate to them because most have similar interests and it makes our Slack channels interesting.

 

 

Katie Cullen
Solutions Engineer

 

Yotpo is an e-commerce marketing platform that helps brands like Allbirds, Chubbies and Steve Madden build loyalty programs, launch SMS marketing, drive customer reviews and more. Katie Cullen recently joined Yotpo as a solutions engineer and said the most exciting aspect of her new role is seeing the impact her work makes on these recognizable brands.

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

I’m not sure of the exact moment but I had been working at my previous company for seven years and was ready to switch things up. My goal was to get outside of my comfort zone, work in a fast-paced environment and find an opportunity for exponential growth. My desire for these things has been met by making the move to Yotpo.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve had the opportunity to work on so far?

The coolest projects I’ve worked on have been incredibly complex. In my role, I partner with and support strategic brands and their initiatives. My favorite part is after a customer launches because I love going to their website and seeing the work we’ve done. What excites me most is the ability to see my efforts make an immediate impact, which hasn’t always been the case with my past work. Our team is also extremely supportive, whether it’s being super agile in responding to a customer request or making me feel valued and appreciated.

 

What do you love most about the culture of your team? 

The culture of our team is very-tight knit and supportive, and we work cohesively together. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I feel comfortable speaking up and asking for help. We are a no-ego group that enjoys problem-solving and meeting our customer’s needs.

 

 

Rehal Massoud
Director of Engineering

 

Rehal Massoud had a long list of criteria when it came to what company she would take her talents to next. Massoud said Petal, a fintech company whose credit cards are issued based on a person’s banking history and not their credit score, checked all of her boxes. Although it’s still early, Petal’s new director of engineering said there has been plenty about the company’s culture and projects in flight that have excited her.

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

When deciding on my next career adventure, I took a lot of time to think about the type of company I wanted to work for and what I really needed for growth and fulfillment. A few criteria were top of mind for me: Will I have the opportunity to learn and grow? Are the people supportive, talented, fun and collaborative? Do the company values speak to me, and will I be proud to work there? When I interviewed at Petal, it was a resounding yes for each of these questions at every step of the way!

From the interviews to onboarding, my first months have been overwhelmingly positive. At Petal, we focus on people first and foremost, which creates a culture that encourages openness, innovation and respect and allows us to advance our mission. From the very first conversation I had with our talent team I could tell that there was something special about Petal, and I haven’t been disappointed.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve had the opportunity to work on so far?

I haven’t had the opportunity to work on a project end to end, but I have had the chance to see some exciting projects in flight and learn a lot about what has made Petal successful so far. One recent project will allow us to widen the accessibility of our products to a broader member base by enhancing our enrollment processes. Leveraging new technology, we’ll be able to extend our capabilities while maintaining financial safety for our customers. I was proud to see how aligned this work was with our mission of financial inclusion for all, and it is yet another step toward keeping our focus on one of our most essential values: do right by the customer.

I have also had an opportunity to learn about the exciting path ahead. It’s been an inspiring time to join the team as we enable the next phase of our rapid growth and establish the models that will sustain and grow our business and keep our customers top of mind going forward.

 

What do you love most about the culture of Petal? 

One of the best things about Petal is the culture of collaboration and continuous learning. Everyone is always looking for opportunities to improve how we work, and collaboration is the cornerstone of Petal’s culture. We may disagree on an approach, but our blameless culture allows people the space to make quick decisions and then learn from them and iterate. It creates a welcoming environment that allows everyone to be themselves; respecting and celebrating diversity of opinion has helped us build such a strong team.

An excellent example of collaboration in action is our commitment across the engineering and product teams to work weekly with the talent acquisition team to review our hiring processes and the candidate experience. Together, we examine what works well and where we need to improve to create a stellar experience for our candidates.

 

 

AlphaSights team members watching a presentation in a meeting room
AlphaSights

 

Ronier Zalnieriunas
Senior Product Manager

 

Ronier Zalnieriunas knew exactly what he wanted out of his next role: ambitious teammates. Zalnieriunas is a senior product manager at AlphaSights, whose platform helps business and investment leaders make better decisions by connecting them to relevant industry experts. Zalnieriunas attended a team offsite before accepting his offer and told Built In the event convinced him that his new teammates had the drive and passion he was looking for.

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

It was within my first week. Despite joining off-cycle, the professional development team prepared a thorough onboarding plan that included a series of introductions to the wider team. As I worked my way through individually meeting product managers, designers, engineers and strategists, I could see the passion and drive in my new colleagues and began to envision my place within the team. Surrounding myself with ambitious people is the reason I chose AlphaSights, and I immediately saw this quality in my new teammates.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve had the opportunity to work on so far?

I’m currently working on creating a new offering and bringing it to market. It’s been exciting to work with a wide group of highly engaged stakeholders, run workshops, discover user needs, build a vision and move toward validating and building the product. While all of that is engaging in and of itself, the thing that really energizes me is the future. This project showed me that AlphaSights understands that you have to constantly innovate and improve to win in the market, and everyone gets behind that idea.

Since joining I’ve had the pleasure of seeing how smart, insightful and keen to help everyone is.”

 

What do you love most about the culture of your team?

Before accepting my offer, I wanted to meet some of the team to get to know them better. As luck would have it, the London team had an event coming up and were kind enough to invite me along. Over the course of the evening, I made sure to speak with as many members of the team as I could to get a sense of the culture. The people I met were friendly, passionate about their work and driven to perform well. It is exactly the fun, positive and high-performance environment that I was looking for to continue my journey of growth.

Since joining I’ve had the pleasure of seeing how smart, insightful and keen to help everyone is. For example, I can ask someone about a topic that is barely adjacent to their area and they will take time and put in the effort to challenge and extend my ideas or show me other directions I haven’t considered yet.

 

 

Lev team members at an outdoor gathering
Lev

 

Danielle Gutman
Product Manager

 

Returning to the office after more than a year of working from home is hard enough, but it becomes especially stressful when the office you’re returning to belongs to a company you just joined. That was the situation Danielle Gutman found herself in when she joined Lev, a fintech company that helps commercial real estate investors secure financing. Despite the initial jitters, Gutman said she quickly felt welcomed by the Lev team and was immediately given the opportunity to make an impact.

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

It was day one for me. I was returning to the office after a year and a half of WFH, and it was my first job switch since graduating college. My anxiety was immediately relieved after stepping foot in the office. Every person I passed introduced themselves or said hello to me just because they saw I was a new face. I felt comfortable right away to speak up in meetings, and my contributions were welcomed and I felt that I was adding value off the bat. I left that first day feeling like I had already worked there for a few weeks and extremely excited to build something new.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve had the opportunity to work on so far?

My team and I recently launched Lev’s new lender identification product. Despite starting only a few months ago, I had full ownership of the project from ideation to implementation. Over the duration of the project, I was able to interview several members of the team and learn about the ins and outs of our industry. Despite being a young company with fewer existing lender relationships than our institutional competitors, Lev’s matching engine allows our team to use thousands of data points to bring our deals to the right lenders. Our process and platform allows us to quickly get better terms for our clients while enabling our internal teams to identify the right lenders. 

The leadership team really trusts your ability to deliver and add value to the company.”

 

What do you love most about the culture of Lev?

You hit the ground running here. You’re hired because the leadership team really trusts your ability to deliver and add value to the company, and this trust quickly translates to ownership of high-impact projects. I was given a project to lead within my first two weeks, and in just three sprints — one-and-a-half months — the feature was live. We are encouraged to fail fast, iterate and deliver as soon as there is incremental value to either the customers or internal users. 

From a personal perspective, one of the reasons I wanted to switch roles was to find more community at work. In just five months my coworkers have quickly become close friends. They care about what’s going on in my personal life and always check in on me. Outside the office, we go to workouts, walk to work and attend dinners together. Many people at Lev are involved with charitable organizations, and we can always count on each other’s support for our causes. Despite Lev growing quickly and new people joining weekly, all are quickly welcomed into this tight-knit community. 

 

 

AB Tasty team members wearing matching shirts posing for a group photo at the beach
AB Tasty

 

Brendan Lorentz
Senior Strategic & Alliances Manager

 

Brendan Lorentz is a senior strategic and alliances manager at customer experience optimization software company AB Tasty. Even though he is a new hire, Lorentz has already gotten to work on an important project and said he has already seen the company walk the walk when it comes to living up to its “kindness” core value.

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

I knew that I made the right choice during the team gathering at the Miami Summit where I met our CEO. The summit was all about imparting wisdom and sharing our values across the organization. During the trip, we held our own Olympic Games and split into four teams of six people each. I got the chance to get to know people I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with yet. We played different games that helped cultivate our team spirit. Everyone was so supportive and it was such a great experience!

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve had the opportunity to work on so far?

The launch of Flagship in the Amazon marketplace, our feature management and experimentation platform. This project provided me an opportunity to gain experience and learn new things. Teamwork is really important at AB Tasty, and launching Flagship helped me realize that. We all work hand in hand toward the same goal, and the energy every member brings to a project is special and magical. When the project is delivered, you can feel the excitement on our team, and it radiates throughout the office.

Everyone is genuinely interested in contributing to the success of projects, the people they work with and AB Tasty.”

 

What do you love most about the culture of AB Tasty? 

One of our values I love the most is “kindness.” Given the pandemic, I find myself under a lot of stress, but I realize that everything at AB Tasty is decided based on employee feedback. I don’t know how, but every time a decision has to be made and people don’t feel the same way about it, AB Tasty ends up finding a solution that makes everyone happy. For example, our Miami trip was organized in a way that made those fearful of the pandemic feel safe.

Moreover, it was encouraging to find that everyone is genuinely interested in contributing to the success of the projects they are working on, the people they work with and the success of AB Tasty. The best example of this is during the partnership part of the Flagship project, I encountered some barriers and Thomas, our accounting director, quickly understood my needs and jumped in to help me.

 

 

Simon Data team members
Simon Data

 

Lauren Crupnick
Senior Manager of Corporate Communications

 

Lauren Crupnick is a senior manager of corporate communications at enterprise customer data platform Simon Data, and one of her responsibilities is to produce the company’s podcast, hosted by the company’s CEO. Even though she had no podcasting experience, Crupnick dove headfirst into the challenge and said she’s found success thanks to the support of her team.

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

I had a positive experience throughout the recruitment process. My hiring manager, recruiting manager and everyone in between were honest, on time and just plain nice. Sometimes we take these things for granted, but I had such a great experience before joining and felt like I was set up for success.

I immediately knew I made the right decision because of a channel we have on Slack, “#g-wins.” On my first day a new client signed on and the deal was announced there. The camaraderie was unparalleled; individual shoutouts and recognition were coupled with gratitude and pride. It’s not just new deals, either: it’s clients who have re-signed, engineering upgrades, product launches and big moments that deserve the spotlight. This helps everyone know what is going on within the business and positively impacts morale.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve had the opportunity to work on so far?

I knew coming into this role that I would be in charge of producing a podcast, something I very candidly admitted I had no experience with in interviews. I was excited about the opportunity because I knew I’d be working closely with our CEO, Jason Davis, who I also met while interviewing. Jason is the host of “Data Unlocked,” where he interviews martech leaders to discuss how they’re using customer data to execute deeply personalized experiences. 

While having no podcasting background has presented many challenges, it has given me a chance to learn about a different marketing channel. I have met a lot of really cool thought leaders too, and my team has been supportive through the process of pivoting our strategy, finding a new production agency and engaging with content. It’s been an excellent avenue for others within Simon to amplify our brand with more casual content.

I have learned so much from my team, which I made clear while interviewing is what is crucial for me in a new role.”

 

What do you love most about the culture of your team? 

I know I’ve already mentioned wins in a companywide capacity, but the marketing team celebrates wins every week. We start our team meetings by going round robin and sharing our wins from the week, our focus and if we need help. We don’t always need to be able to answer these three questions, but it is helpful to have such an open dialogue with one another. About 95 percent of the time we all have a win, big or small, and sharing these allows us to shout out those we work hard with on projects.

While we all have different roles, the team all works together. Being a comms person, I have become the unofficial proofreader. I go to our senior operations manager with WordPress questions quite often, and when I need content to be edited I can rely on our content manager to be honest and detailed. I have learned so much from my team, which I made clear while interviewing is what is crucial for me in a new role.

 

 

Casey Fortney
Sales Development Manager

 

Casey Fortney has made quite an impact since joining Bluecore, a company whose AI-powered marketing platform is designed to deliver personalized customer communication and product recommendations at scale. Fortney manages sales development representatives, and her team has doubled in size since she joined and helped drive the growth of the sales team’s new business arm.

 

Making the leap to a new company can always feel like a bit of a gamble. Tell us about the moment when you knew you made the right choice.

I applied to Bluecore because I wanted to be part of a team that was strategically positioned to be thought leaders in their space. I also wanted to be a part of a company creating a meaningful product that makes a true difference in people’s lives, and Bluecore does both. We host bimonthly forums with influential, global voices to create new approaches for operating in an all-direct-to-consumer world and help actively shape the trajectory of the retail industry. These insights are published and shared with the industry to provoke organizational, technological and strategic change that drives business growth. 

I can truly say I have the ability to learn and develop on an almost hourly basis.”

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve had the opportunity to work on so far?

The most exciting part of my job is the opportunity to build out the sales development program. I can truly say I have the ability to learn and develop on an almost hourly basis. Being part of the building process makes me feel that much more inspired to execute as I feel I am part of something much larger than myself. Since joining, the team has doubled in size and continues to be the driving force behind the growth of our new business sales organization. None of this would be possible without consistent empowerment from leadership, support from my peers and my team’s dedication to achieving our goals.

 

What do you love most about the culture of Bluecore?

Of all our values, “onebluecore” resonates with me the most and was the biggest breath of fresh air after coming from a very large corporation where siloing seemed inevitable. Collaboration is something I hold near and dear to my heart and is what I love most about our culture. We talk the talk and walk the walk. On an individual, team, cross-functional and leadership level, everyone is constantly leaning in to help support each other’s success as well as achieve overarching company goals. Hardly a day goes by without achievement shoutouts, Slack brainstorming threads, strategy sessions and more. You can truly find your home here.

 

 

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