How to Keep Culture Alive in a Distributed Workforce: Insight from Procore’s Jessica Rosch
Jessica Rosch knows the secret to a successful distributed workforce.
It has nothing to do with productivity apps, perks, or flexible schedules — and everything to do with how engaged remote employees feel at work. And, she says, that engagement is driven by company culture sustained by management across remote teams.
“Engaged employees will do good work regardless of where they are. Disengaged employees will not. Location doesn’t matter; engagement does. That engagement is determined by company culture, which is very much in management’s control,” says the VP of Cloud Systems Engineering at Procore, who knows firsthand about crafting company culture that transcends the walls of the office.
We sat down with Jessica to hear more about how leaders can build a thriving company culture among a distributed workforce, as well as how her career path brought her to Procore and how she knew that Procore was the right fit for her.
From Musical Notation to Coding Languages
When she started college, Jessica planned on being a professional musician. But several years into a music performance major, she realized that she didn’t want to pursue music as a career.
She had liked taking computers apart and putting them back together as a kid, so she got a job in desktop support while in school. She liked it enough to change her degree to computer engineering, and went on to work full-time as an engineer after graduation.
“Many people actually pivot from music to some sort of STEM field,” reflects Jessica, mentioning their shared focus on structure and language.
Finding Cloud — and Procore
After working for several companies, from big-name multinationals to smaller startups, Jessica figured out what her computer science niche was: cloud computing.
“I'd always been attracted to internal customer-focused roles. That's where your infrastructure teams and your cloud-focused teams become relevant, because it’s more about building tools that other engineers can use than it is about building things for an external customer,” explains Jessica. “I like that internal feedback. I find it interesting, compelling, and satisfying to work on things that make a positive impact on productivity.”
When Procore reached out to Jessica, she was ready for a change. '"I wanted a balance between things that are interesting and push me to improve while having the opportunity to work with a great group of people based all over the globe” she says.'
“By the end of the interviews with Procore, I just wanted to keep talking with them because they were such a great group!” adds Jessica, smiling.
A year and a half into her tenure at Procore, Jessica is sure that she’s made a good decision.
“Procore is a human-focused company,” she explains. “Don’t get me wrong: the products we’re building for the construction industry are excellent, and the company cares deeply about the quality of the product; but not at the expense of the employees. The whole group, up through the top level of leadership, recognizes that it’s the humans that make the difference.”
Jessica wishes more fast-growing startups would recognize that.
“If you're asking, ‘How do I build an amazing product and make a huge impact on the industry?’, you have to start with a great team that wants to do good work. That's where innovation comes from. Unhappy people do not innovate,” she says.
7 Tips for Building a Strong Culture in a Distributed Team
Jessica has found that Procore’s human-first values of Openness, Optimism, and Ownership weren’t created (and aren’t maintained) by chance. And now, as a senior leader there herself, she’s able to contribute to their evolution, even in a world of long-term remote work.
Here’s what’s working for her:
- Recognize that culture doesn’t automatically translate to a remote environment. “Some companies fumble the ball a bit as they move to a remote environment, creating a gap between folks who are in the office and folks who are remote, where remote folks may feel undervalued and deprioritized,” she says. Examples of bridging this gap include being explicit about communication guidelines, like orienting towards written communications for people in different time zones, or adjusting how you’ll manage an annual hackathon to allow distributed teams the same socialization experiences as in-person teams.
- Don’t be in a rush to hire. “You have to make sure that you're hiring people who add to the culture, and that even when you're in a crunch to hire quickly, you don't enable the culture to become stagnant or stringent. It can’t be, ‘This is a red flag for this candidate, but we’ll let that go because we need to fill this spot.’ You need to prioritize culture add over culture fit as you lead and build your team.”
- Include people by making sure they feel heard. Jessica notes that inclusion is more than just making sure everyone feels welcome, it’s making sure everyone feels heard. “Inclusion is making sure that everybody feels that their voice has equal weight. That they can walk into a situation, have an opinion, be heard, and see change happen as a result of them being heard.” On a daily basis, says Jessica, that translates into management asking for feedback, being transparent about what they’re going to do with that feedback, and following through.
- Build trust by bringing people to you. It’s not just nice when your team trusts you — it’s vital, says Jessica. “If people don't feel comfortable talking to you about problems, you will find out about them once they are too big to resolve easily,” she adds. Building trust means going beyond offering open office hours, for instance, and instead scheduling a series of tailored skip-level meetings to make sure distributed team members have a chance to share what’s on their mind. “You have to not only open the door,” says Jessica. “Sometimes you have to go to the door (even if it’s a virtual one!), grab somebody, and bring them in.”
- Communicate often and with everyone. “Leadership that operates in a vacuum is never going to react quickly enough,” says Jessica. “Open your lines of communication in as many directions as you can keep up with. For leadership, if you're not regularly talking to the actual individual contributors on your teams, maybe three layers of management down, you’re missing out.” Jessica also suggests asking intentional questions that hold her as a leader accountable to better understand the experience of remote team members, such as: “Are there things I could be doing to make working as a remote employee at this company better?”
- Use travel primarily for team building. “When you can be physically in the same location, don’t use that time to drive out work details. Use that time to build the relationships that will enable you to drive out work details more effectively later,” she says.
- Don’t chase perfection, and publicly own your mistakes along the way. “Perfection is the enemy of progress. You are never going to get something perfect upon first delivery. And often if you try, you end up moving more slowly than you should,” says Jessica. “You have to be comfortable not only making mistakes, but also owning them publicly. That's part of how you build trust.”
Chainalysis’s Ashley Vaughan on Why She Finds Cybersecurity So Meaningful, and How More Women Can Find Their Niche in the Industry
How much money do criminals control today, and where is it?
These are some of the many questions that Ashley Vaughan, Senior Solutions Architect at blockchain data platform Chainalysis, spends her days working to answer.
“You learn more about a situation or problem by following the money than from any other resource or piece of information,” she explains. “Money doesn't lie. People can lie in text messages or other means, but the path of the money leads you to what you're trying to accomplish.”
Though Ashley always knew she wanted to work with computers, she found her way into roles in cybersecurity, and then specifically blockchain security, through networking and exposure — not by setting out to do so.
We sat down to talk about her career journey, as well as what advice she has for other women looking to make their mark in these burgeoning fields.
Resilience and Curiosity
Ashley doesn’t often give up, and credits some of that attitude to an obsession with soccer as a kid.
“Playing sports makes you a more resilient person, I think. You learn failure and risk, which are very applicable to my job and my career path,” she says.
That resiliency was a good thing, notes Ashley, because as a young girl, she wasn’t always encouraged to pursue what she was most interested in: math and science. A teacher early on had told her that she wasn’t good at math, and Ashley believed that narrative until high school.
“We really shouldn’t put those ideas in children’s minds, because it affects them for much longer than you might think,” she says of the experience. “But I’m the kind of person that when someone tells me I can’t do something, it makes me want to do it even more, and do it better.”
Finding out in advanced high school math classes that she actually was good at math turned into choosing a computer engineering major when she got to college.
Graduating during a recession in 2010 meant Ashley didn’t have the job market of her dreams, but after working in IT, she networked her way into a role in the cybersecurity department of a prominent DC law firm.
“They were getting hit left and right from social engineering and phishing attempts,” says Ashley. “Due to the sensitive nature of the work they dealt with, I was exposed to the darker realities of the digital era, and I began to see a new side to the world—one of real significance to national security.”
Specializing in Cybersecurity — and Finding a Home in the Private Sector
Inspired by what she was working on at the law firm, Ashley pursued a master’s in cybersecurity with a focus on counterterrorism.
“I wanted to help protect our country,” she explains. “I have a lot of family members who are former military, so that was a natural step for me.”
That led to her taking a contract role specializing in offensive security at a government agency that frequently worked with Chainalysis. After working with Chainalysis folks onsite, she was sold and started pursuing a position with the company.
“I wanted to help make sense of blockchain data for a bigger purpose, like assisting in the continued threat of ransomware activity against American interests,” she explains.
Although she credits her public sector work with providing a solid foundation in blockchain security, the private sector turned out to be a better fit for her.
“What I love about Chainalysis is that my colleagues are really happy people, and I’ve always felt welcome and not scared to ask questions,” says Ashley. “In past jobs, where I was one of five women in a group of 150, I felt a lot of pressure. I didn’t ever want to make a mistake. I felt as if I had to be a chameleon to match the social environment of my male counterparts.”
Blockchains are all about democratizing data, and Ashley likes working with a team of people of all backgrounds to help support that mission. At Chainalysis, Ashley works with internal product and engineering to show customers how Chainalysis data can help them use complex blockchain solutions to solve data problems — and catch bad guys.
“Sometimes we’re following a bad actor who’s tied to child sex trafficking. Being part of a coordinated operation to put a stop to things like that is really fulfilling,” she says.
3 Tips for Women Who Want to Find Their Place in Cybersecurity
For a long time, reflects Ashley, she just wanted to come into work, do her job, and feel supported, without feeling like she didn’t fit in or was representing her entire gender. Fortunately, she found what she wanted — and she hopes other women will find that, too. They can start their search by:
- Knowing they’re not alone in having tough experiences. “Everyone has different definitions for how you’re supposed to act or supposed to handle your emotions as a woman at work, and it’s exhausting. It’s like, ‘This is just me.’ I can’t repeat enough how tiring that is,” she says.
- Prioritizing self-directed learning. Although Ashley completed a master’s in cybersecurity, she emphasizes that there are many other routes into the industry, including self-study. Whether you get involved in programs like Girls Who Code or do self-paced learning through platforms like Udemy or Coursera, the important thing is that you pursue independent learning about topics that interest you, she says.
- Creating and maintaining relationships. “Really talking to people is almost a lost art,” says Ashley. “Getting together with someone who has the same sort of mindset and leveraging their knowledge, and making sure you keep in touch with people who help further your career, is a good move. Most of the places I got to professionally were based on my human connections.”
Nowadays at Chainalysis, Ashley is no longer one of five women in the office, and is excited to start paying it forward so that more people with backgrounds like hers can pursue their own professional success.
“We tend to feel more comfortable talking to people who might have our same gender or educational background, and being open and vulnerable with them,” she says. “Being a visible role model is really important to me.”
Check out Chainalysis’ open roles here!
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎 “What are you passionate about?” In an interview, you may have to answer this and other personal questions. Watch the video to the end to succeed in your job interview at Ribbon.
📼If asked “what are you passionate about?” in an interview you need to show how your passion can make you a good candidate for a job position. Ryan Key, Talent Partner at Ribbon, shares some tips and tricks for you to stand out!
📼Answering what are you passionate about in an interview is not the only thing you need to know how to do to succeed. You should try to make sure that you express your experience in a way that shows your interest in Ribbon’s mission. Also, prove that you did your research and demonstrate to the recruiter that you understand exactly how your role affects Ribbon’s purposes. Don’t forget to share some ideas on how you intend to fulfill the company’s mission!
📼 You are asked what are you passionate about in an interview, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t ask as well. You should feel empowered to ask any question you want during your interview process. It may be helpful to save certain questions for certain people. If you're in an interview with your potential manager, you should take that time to ask about their assessment metrics for the role and their management style. If you're speaking with a potential peer, this would be a great time to ask about their experience during training and to learn a little more about the team and culture.
What Are You Passionate About? Show In Your Interview That You Are Aligned With Ribbon's Values
The mission at Ribbon is to make homeownership achievable for everyone, especially communities traditionally left out of the homeownership story. One way Ribbon addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is through its support of employee resource groups. Remember to show that your passion is aligned with these core values!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Ribbon? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ryan Key
If you are interested in a career at Ribbon, you can connect with Ryan Key on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Ribbon
Ribbon is a first-of-its-kind real estate technology company transforming the real estate transaction by delivering certainty, transparency, and joy to the home buying process. Consumers and realtors deserve a better experience, and they have designed an open platform that welcomes everyone in the ecosystem to participate.
💎 Partnerships in remote environments is one of the most important aspects to construct in a company. Watch the video to the end to get good tips on how to do it successfully.
📼Wondering how to create partnerships in remote environments? Play this video to get three top tips that will help you to achieve it. You'll hear from Olga Shvets, HR Business Partner, and Viktoriia Litvinchuk, People Team Operations at Unstoppable Domains, who will explain the essentials of this process.
📼How to build partnerships in remote environments? Tip #1: Communicate Effectively. Communication is the key to enabling your remote team to be successful. Choose the channel that works best. For this, chat with your employees and see what they use to communicate, that's how you find the best solution. Also, make sure your team is on board with your internal tools and they know what, how, and where they need to use them.
📼A requisite for building partnerships in remote environments is Tip #2: Show appreciation. Appreciation is shown through your actions. Let your employees know that you value everything they do for the company. Create a special gratitude channel where everyone can share their appreciation for their colleagues for some contribution. Celebrate some wins, promotions, and everything that is important for the company. If you appreciate the employees, employees do the same for the company.
Create Partnerships In Remote Environments Using Trust - Tip #3: Give Honest Feedback
Use engagement surveys! They are a quick and effective way to receive honest feedback from your team and you can see what's working well and what needs to be improved. Your main priority is to create spaces where managers and employees can share honest, relevant feedback.
📨 Are you interested in joining Unstoppable Domains? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Olga Shvets
If you are interested in a career at Unstoppable Domains, you can connect with Olga on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Unstoppable Domains
Unstoppable Domains is bringing user-controlled identity to 3 billion+ internet users by issuing domain names on the blockchain. These domains allow users to replace cryptocurrency addresses with human-readable names, host decentralized websites, and much more.
By selling these domains direct to consumers for a one-time fee, the company is making a product that will change cryptocurrency and shape the future of the decentralized web by providing users control over their identity and data.