Adopting A Global Mindset At Solstice
Below is an article originally written by Sachin Modak, an Analyst at PowerToFly Partner Solstice, and published on June 17, 2018. Go to Solstice's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
When you work at the forefront of technology, you can't be complacent.
At Solstice, we have a history of attracting individuals looking for a challenge — those willing to push themselves out of their comfort zones and into a fast-paced, high-energy environment.
In the last five years, we've more than doubled our number of employees and show no signs of slowing down. With our new offices in New York City and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the acquisition by the St Ives Group in 2015, we've expanded from a boutique agency to an international digital innovation firm. Like many emerging, global companies, we've experienced what it's like to build a cohesive team — with clearly stated values and beliefs — that can move quickly to iterate even in different time zones and cultural nuances.
With this expansion comes a new realm of opportunity for our employees.
Just as we built our Chicago team from the ground up, Solsties have worked to seed the culture of our Buenos Aires and New York City offices and foster relationships with our new sister companies in the U.K. Together, we've built and defined how we work together in a meaningful way, as well as developed a global mindset and lasting transcontinental friendships.
Every experience is unique, but each has been life changing for the employee and made Solstice stronger for it.
Here are some of their stories:
Ceci Alvaro, Sr. UX Consultant
Home office: Buenos Aires 🇦🇷
Offices visited: Chicago, London
What was your favorite part about visiting another office?
My favorite part was definitely the people. The chance to meet each other and share moments outside of our everyday meetings made me feel much more connected to my Chicago teammates, who I usually just interact with over Slack or video calls. It was amazing to learn more about their work culture while also having the chance to share mine with them. Plus, it's always entertaining seeing them drink mate or attempt to speak Spanish.
How did this experience help your professional/career development?
The best thing about this experience was developing relationships with people from other offices. It helped me understand them and feel empathy. I think being open and sensitive to others is very important to my team's success. I've expanded my knowledge and skills by working with professionals in the same discipline, but we come from totally different backgrounds and personal experiences.
Brian Anderson, Technical Principal
Home office: Chicago 🇺🇸
Offices visited: Buenos Aires
What were some of the highlights of working in Buenos Aires?
From the moment you arrive at the Buenos Aires office, you immediately feel at home — not only because of the artwork around the office, but because our Argentine counterparts demonstrate our Solstice culture day in and day out and go above and beyond to make you feel welcome. Whether it's enjoying facturas (croissants) in the morning, sitting out on the terrace in the afternoon, or even playing fútbol in the evening, work relationships in Buenos Aires are not confined to our project teams. Everyone in the office takes it upon themselves to lift everyone else up and to make each other a better version of themselves — inside and outside of Solstice. It has been amazing to see the office grow and develop its own multifaceted culture and identity.
How did this experience change the way you work with remote teammates and clients?
When the Argentina office first opened, the Chicago office struggled with how we could preserve our coveted culture while being so far apart. Adopting Slack and video conferencing was a good start to building more personal relationships. However, more than anything, empathy had to be something we not only preached but also practiced. It's not always easy to put yourself in someone else's shoes, but even the little things — like understanding when each office eats lunch, knowing that a 5 p.m. Chicago meeting really falls at 7 or 8 p.m. in Argentina (depending on the time of year) or being conscious of our conference call etiquette by repeating questions so everyone can hear and allowing everyone to share their thoughts — build trust and friendships across the team. It's this concept of empathy that helps build relationships with our global coworkers and translates to client work and personal relationships.
Lucy Viereckl, Talent Acquisition Manager
Home office: Chicago 🇺🇸
Offices visited: New York, London
What was your favorite experience while in London?
My favorite — or favourite — part of spending two months at TAB (Solstice's sister company in London) was the team. Everyone was smart, driven, welcoming, and also a lot of fun. As a part of operations, it was interesting to navigate the similarities and differences in how our organizations work, as well as how we refer to our teams in the office (e.g., the sales team is the "commercial team" at TAB, and QAs are "testers"). Being able to suggest changes and share stories in how we've scaled was also rewarding.
How did this experience help your professional/career development?
As someone who's been at Solstice for nearly six years, it's been a long time since I've been the new kid. I know who we are and how we work, so it has been an invaluable opportunity to take a step back and transition to a whole new role without actually leaving the company. Being the one asking questions and figuring things out as I went along was humbling, but it was awesome to be able to hire TABbers and make an impact on the team in those two months. I returned to Solstice with a fresh perspective and a sense of accomplishment.
Steve Bowker, Sr. Product Consultant
Home office: New York 🇺🇸
Offices visited: Chicago, Buenos Aires
What was your favorite part about helping build the Buenos Aires and New York offices?
My favorite part was seeing each office grow and form its own unique brand of the Solstice experience. Each new hire brings their own personality and experience into the office culture. Having been in Buenos Aires and New York in stages, I loved seeing the culture grow and mature as more people joined, got to know one another, and made the office their own.
How did these experiences help you work with colleagues across different offices?
I think spending time in multiple locations — each with its own culture, challenges, and strengths — taught me a lot about empathy. It's easy to forget what it's like being on the remote end of the phone. Hopefully, by having these experiences, I can better facilitate cross-office collaboration regardless of location.
International opportunities at Solstice are not just limited to a certain role. From engineering, design, research, product, sales, operations, and employee experience, Solsties across functions travel between our global offices to not only help build the future of our company, but to broaden their own perspectives. And this year, we were even honored as one of Crain's best places to work.
As the world becomes more open and connected, consultants with international experience are becoming invaluable advisors to clients, who are oftentimes global players themselves.
Interested in being a part of the Solstice global team? Check out opportunities by visiting our PowerToFly page.
For the boss you loved, the coworker you hated, and everyone in between
Two things are inevitable when someone leaves your team at work: there will be an abundance of sweet treats (I'm partial to those giant cookie cakes from the mall) and there will be a card passed around for everyone to scrawl the professional version of sweet nothings in. Depending on the "importance" of the person, you may get the bonus activities of farewell gifts and/or an all-team champagne toast.
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