Attune Insurance: Offering a Fresh Take on an Age-Old Industry
People Operations Lead, Katherine Klui, on the Collaborative Culture at Attune
The insurance industry is booming. Not only does it employ 115 times as many people as Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Yahoo combined, but there are a plethora of emerging startups taking advantage of the idea that "the insurance industry is in need of a makeover" - and the makeover starts with technology.
That's where our partner, Attune Insurance comes in. Named one of Crain's Best Places to Work in NYC, Attune Insurance is an emerging startup that's taking the industry by storm with their revolutionary take on an age-old service. Their team is utilizing advanced technologies and data science to reinvent how small business owners get the insurance they need, hassle-free.
We recently got the chance to chat with Katherine Klui, People Ops Lead at Attune, who shared more about the collaborative culture (and the people) pushing the company forward.
"Everyone here is incredibly smart and passionate about their roles. The company fosters a culture of belonging and collaboration, so there is a lot of shared knowledge and cross-functional projects; it really helps you to develop important skills and gain exposure to areas you otherwise wouldn't have any access to."
This emphasis on belonging and collaboration extends to the company's diversity and inclusion efforts. As Katherine explained, "We are very intentional with developing a culture of inclusivity, and our approach is completely driven and supported by leadership. Our differences are essential to the success of the company. Everyone on the team, regardless of seniority, is encouraged to share their perspectives and opinions. Our culture of belonging is the backbone to our business."
Given the importance of teamwork at Attune Insurance, Katherine says they prioritize drive to learn, leadership potential, and problem-solving ability in new team members. They assess these traits throughout the interview process, which begins with a phone screen that "dives deep into Attune and what we're doing, while also testing the necessary competencies of the role." If a candidate successfully completes the phone screen, they'll be invited for a set of onsite interview with key members of the team, after which, a decision is made.
So what can you do to make sure you make it past the phone screen? "Come prepared with specific examples of your successes at previous roles. And practice interviewing. It's a very different skill-set, so the more comfortable you are, the more likely you'll have a clear mind to answer questions well."
Interviewing is always a bit intimidating, but take heart in the fact that at Attune, you're being evaluated for you. "In the past, we've had very engaging conversations with candidates that didn't necessarily fit an existing open position- but we knew they would be a valuable addition to our team. We have hired several people this way, and we anticipate it will happen again!"
Want to be a part of the collaborative culture at Attune? Click here to see all of the available opportunities with Attune Insurance on PowerToFly, and don't forget to click 'Follow'!
Supply and demand… we all know that as job seekers, high demand and low supply work in our favor. It's a booming job market already, but even more so for data analysts.
The Dated, Everyday Tech Stifling Women's Voices Shows the Importance of Diversity in Tech
"You're not like other girls. You're so...chill."
I've gotten that "compliment" from multiple guys in multiple contexts — and I'm ashamed to admit that until a few years ago, I took it as one.
Occasionally I'd wonder why. After all, anyone who knows me well knows I am the Anti-Chill: a tightly wound stress ball, ready to explode into tears at any given moment.
So what was giving these guys the wrong impression? As it turns out, it was my voice. My cool, unnaturally-deep-for-a-woman, never-shrill voice.
And if I'm honest, I always prided myself on not sounding 'like other girls.' No uptalk or high-pitched squeals of glee from me. I thought I sounded smarter and more serious. Talk about internalized misogyny.
This isn't just me though. There is a societal double bind that forces women to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the right pitch and tone for each situation.
Just consider the advice that Democratic-debate coach Christine Jahnke gave female candidates to avoid being labeled as shrill: "… go slow and low. Very purposefully slow your pace and lower the tone a bit, because that will add meaning or gravitas to whatever it is you're talking about."
In a nutshell: try and sound chill, not shrill.
What I didn't know, until recently, is how this bias against women's natural voices is being reinforced and amplified by century-old technology. (Just one of many examples of how technology designed by and for men ends up hurting women in the long-run.)
Author Tina Tallon explains this little-known fact in her recent New Yorker article, summarized below:
How 20th Century Tech Is Holding 21st Century Women Back
With the rise of commercial broadcast radio in the 1920s, women's voices began getting critiqued. As Tallon explains, station directors asserted that "women sounded 'shrill,' 'nasal,' and 'distorted.'" So when industry standards were set, directors didn't take women's voices into account.
When Congress limited the bandwidth available to each radio station in 1927, station directors set a bandwidth that would provide the minimum amount of information necessary to understand "human" speech.
They used lower voices as their benchmark, so the higher frequency components of women's speech necessary to understand certain consonants were cut, making women's voices less intelligible.
- Researcher J.C. Steinberg asserted that, "nature has so designed woman's speech that it is always most effective when it is of soft and well-modulated tone." He explained that if a woman raised her voice on air, it would exceed the limitations of the equipment. As Tallon says, "He viewed this as a personal and biological failing on women's part, not a technical one on his."
Why You Should Care
Women have always been told to lower their voices, but this 20th century approach to sound frequencies is still accepted as the standard, literally forcing women to lower their voices if they want to be heard.
- To this day, many algorithms and speakers distort women's speech by limiting higher frequencies, causing women's voices to lose definition and clarity.
Tallon sums it up well:
"Consequently, women are still receiving the same advice that they were given in the nineteen-twenties: lower the pitch of your voice, and don't show too much emotion. By following that advice, women expose themselves to another set of criticisms, which also have a long history: they lack personality, or they sound 'forced' and 'unnatural.'"
So as we continue to grapple with implicit biases against women, from what it means to be "presidential" to who's considered an "innovative leader," let's remember the importance of diversity in tech.
Had a woman been involved in researching/setting the standards for radio frequencies, she might've been able to steer the industry towards a voiceband that would allow men and women to be heard equally well. And perhaps had a more impartial voiceband been established, I'd have heard a more diverse range of female speakers growing up, and internalized fewer biases myself.
That's why we care so much at PowerToFly about making sure cutting-edge companies have diverse teams.
Times were different then, sure, but the fact that Depression Era standards are still impacting how we hear (or don't hear) women's voices is a vital reminder that what we do today impacts our world for centuries to come.
- Network with top executives even if you aren't looking for a new role
- First look at flexible, work-from-home, in-office roles
- Join live chats led by expert women in your field and beyond
It goes without saying that at some point in your career, you'll come down with a cold or virus that will require you to stay home from work, drink excessive amounts of tea, and make good use of that gravity blanket you impulse-bought off of Amazon.
A Thought-Provoking Conversation on How the Firm Empowers Their Associates
We all need something to motivate us to show up to work each day – to have a purpose, to feel engaged and fulfilled. For some, it's our coworkers. For others, it's our clients. It might even be our company's mission.