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Synchrony

Synchrony Employee Story: Meet Jackie Garcia, Field Sales Manager

Jackie Works Remotely From Her Home In Texas

Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly Partner Synchrony. Go to Synchrony's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Life and work – you can't have one without the other for Jackie

"Synchrony does not see disabilities. They get to know you as a person and see the talent that you have, and take that strength and develop it."

Jackie is proud of everywhere her career at Synchrony has taken her – she especially loves how Synchrony has been there for her when she needed support the most and how she can, in turn, enrich others' experiences at Synchrony.

Today, Jackie is a Field Sales Manager responsible for an entire region, but there's much more to who she is than her title. For most of her life, Jackie has experienced acute hearing loss in both ears and relies on reading lips. When she joined Synchrony not only did they do the little things like buying her a good headset for phone calls, but they did the big things too. Her team was patient, listened, and pushed themselves outside of their comfort zones to embrace new ways of working together. Jackie was never at a disadvantage against her peers. "Everyone is on equal ground here. If you have a disability, you won't be treated any different. It's all about what you have to offer."

Jackie started out as a Customer Service Representative. Her managers saw her talent and saw that she was driven to do more. They nominated her for a Synchrony development program that moved her to Frisco, TX to work in client affairs. Leaders and mentors paved the way for her to have the experiences she needed to see where she could go next, and they prepared her to make that leap. "You'll be in awe of the leaders we have! They have incredible passion every day and you see how they live the values of the company. Every time I see them I can feel it and it re-energizes me."

After 4 years, that next leap came in the form of her first Field Sales Manager role (fostering growth in credit applications and credit sales), working on a major department store. At first she didn't think she would like the travel, but now she relishes in it. As she travels to stores in 20+ states, she's an extension of Synchrony, working directly with her clients. Jackie loves meeting new people and seeing the impact she has as their business grows (and reading a lot of lips!). She's also worked on a variety of projects such as developing a program for onboarding new field sales managers, and taking on a leadership role in compliance

All along, Jackie's leaders haven't seen that she's challenged in hearing, they've seen that she has potential. "This is what you'll experience – values aren't here for us to look good in a commercial, it's in our core and everything we do. We show it every day."

Jackie experienced that leadership and belief in Synchrony's values again when she was diagnosed with cancer. Synchrony had just changed the company insurance plan, and the CFO came to her office to meet with the team. He said he was responsible for changing the plan and wanted to know how it impacted them. Jackie spoke up, as difficult as it was, to tell him it was hard to manage her illness, work, medical expenses, and her family. After the meeting, the CFO thanked her for sharing her story and offered to help. Synchrony gave Jackie grants for some of her medical costs, and found a pharma company that would pay for her medicine. The CFO always followed up to see how she was doing. She's cancer free today. "Our leaders truly care for us. Seeing how they care makes me want to share this message as often as I can and with as many people as I can."

Jackie has been a mainstay of Synchrony's diversity networks, even before they were formally organized. Caring and passion to support others has always been part of the culture and values at Synchrony, but the diversity networks go straight to her heart. First as part of the People with Disabilities Network, and now in the Veterans Network, Jackie values the opportunity to educate and be a force for good for her colleagues of all backgrounds and abilities. "Everyone here can help and support each other"

Unsurprisingly, Jackie is in high demand – earning 13 awards since becoming a field sales manager. Recently, she was approached with a job offer for more money, and she turned it down. "This isn't like other jobs. I've invested in my career, and Synchrony has invested in me – both through development opportunities for my career and support for my life outside of work. They do that for everyone."

Learn more about our People with Disabilities Network.

Buffer

Buffer: The Joys and Benefits of Working as a Distributed Team

Below is an article originally written by Joel Gascoigne, the founder and CEO at PowerToFly Partner Buffer, and published on September 16, 2018. Go to Buffer's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Buffer is a fully remote team.

It's a decision I made at the end of 2012, when Buffer was in its infancy, and it's interesting to reflect on that decision now. I am happy to report that I am in love with the choice we made to be distributed all across the world.

When I say that we're a remote, distributed team, I mean that we're literally spread across the whole world. Buffer is a team of 79 right now, and we have teammates on almost every continent and across timezones worldwide.

The sun never sets on Buffer!

The worldwide, remote Buffer team and the timezones we cover. (Visual courtesy of timezone.io.)

6 reasons why being a remote, distributed team is so exciting

I think the distributed team discussion is often focused around the challenges. I wanted to share from our experience the fun side of being distributed, which I think far outweighs the challenges:

1. Our team is super productive

The thing about hiring people for a distributed team is that they need to be self-motivated and productive working at home, coffee shops, or a co-working space.

During the hiring process, we look especially for people who have worked as freelancers or on startups. Everyone on board is incredibly smart, and it's humbling to work with them.

2. Team members have incredible amounts of freedom

Have a family event coming up and need to travel on Friday? No problem.

Want to take off to Bali or Gran Canaria for a few weeks and work from there? Awesome – please share photos :)

These things have all happened and are regular occurrences within our distributed team.

It's the little things too, like being able to avoid a commute and spend more time with family. We don't have working hours, and we don't measure hours at all. We're all excited about our vision, and we focus on results, balance, and sustained productivity.

3. It feels like the future

Even being able to share the locations of all my co-workers when I meet others and chat about Buffer is so fun and exciting. I think it provides a great story, rather than all of us being in the same office each day.

People ask how we manage it and I share our workflows and remote work tools. We call Slack our office, and Zoom is our conference room. Here's a look at some of the team in a recent Zoom call:

A team call on Zoom, the tool we use for video calls. You can check out our full list of remote work tools here.

I genuinely believe that how we're set up will be very normal in a few years. There are certainly challenges and we're still figuring a lot of it out. It's fun and a huge privilege to be able to be part of this innovation and experiment and share our learnings.

4. I'm learning so much about the world

People within the team speak lots of different languages, and talking with each other we learn about what it's like to grow up elsewhere in the world. We think carefully about shaping our culture further and how our choices might affect the various cultures within the team.

5. We travel the world to work together multiple times a year

Part of the DNA of Buffer is that we traveled all over the world for much of the first two years. This is something that has been sustained and is part of our values (and many in the team have lived up to this value by traveling as part of the team).

In order to have deliberate face-to-face time together to bond and have fun, we have regular teamwide Buffer retreats each year where we gather the full team, and we hold mini-retreats throughout the year for smaller teams and areas of the company.

A team work session from our 2017 retreat in Madrid, Spain.

On our all-company retreats, we spend a week working together and also do activities like sightseeing, boating and safaris. Most recently we gathered in Singapore!

6. Timezones make you awesome

Finally, you can look at timezones as an inconvenience, or you can embrace them and discover the magic of the time difference.

A key part of our vision is to set the bar for customer support. We obsessively track the happiness of our customers and our speed to respond to them. We have more than a million users and we reply to 80% of emails within 1 hour. We couldn't achieve this level of service without being spread across multiple timezones.

Timezones are a huge help for our development cycle too – with engineers in the US, UK, Asia and Africa, we literally never stop coding.

Beyond the positives of having a fully distributed team, you can also learn about our list of perks and team benefits that all employees receive at Buffer.
Netskope

Life @ Netskope with Andrea, Central Channel Sales Director

Below is an article originally written by Zoe Revis at PowerToFly Partner Netskope, and published on September 13, 2018. Go to Netskope's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

In this Life @ Netskope, we talk to Andrea Schreiner our Central Channel Sales Director out of Frisco, Texas. In her two years at Netskope, Andrea has made a huge impact with the Netskope field and channel teams covering the Central US area. Outside of Netskope, Andrea spends her weekends between the softball field cheering on her oldest daughter and her youngest at the horse barn. If you have spent much time with Andrea on the phone, you have probably heard her four-legged child Sprocket in the background.

What made you choose Netskope?

I have a funny hiring story. Mike Burnett, who was a Regional Sales Manager at the time, had talked to me a few times about coming to Netskope and timing was never right. A few months later, I met Gary Ochs, VP of Channel Sales at the time, at the OH airport, we started connecting the dots on Netskope, his open position and it being the company Mike Burnett had been calling me about, the timing was perfect! Gary and I both boarded our separate planes texting Mike and two weeks later I had an offer letter. It was a right place, at the right time situation. Once I started the interview process and learning about Netskope, the product, the people, and the culture, I knew Netskope was the place for me.

What's your favorite thing about Netskope and why?

My favorite thing is the culture, the people and how everybody works well together as a team. Whenever I interview people for potential jobs at Netskope, I don't want to sound cheesy and oversell it, but I talk a lot about how amazing the culture is here. Everybody at Netskope collaborates and helps each other in order to accomplish our main goal, which is to see Netskope become the next iconic security company.

Working from home, how do you stay connected to HQ and your team in the region?

As someone who works remotely, Netskope makes it so easy to stay connected through Slack, (which I am still learning). Everyone is so receptive, you never have to worry about being stranded on an island. I really enjoy Chris Andrews, our SVP of Sales bi-weekly calls with the worldwide sales team. It's a great way to keep up with what is happening at HQ and learn about our newest products. Our Central US team also has a call every Monday where we share updates in the territory, and best practices.

What advice would you give to someone starting a remote position at Netskope?

My advice would be to learn your resources at corporate, do a good job of getting them out in the field and make lasting connections with the members of your team. I support eight different sales/sales engineering teams so I make sure that I am communicating with them almost every day. In a company where most everyone is remote, it takes work to keep a great culture and I feel like Netskope has done a great job in this area.

If you could only watch one TV show for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

Oh, that's a hard one, I'd have to go with This Is Us. It's a great storyline and it seems as if it is a real family going through heartache and happiness and working together. It's a rollercoaster of emotions but it also has some great lessons.

Help Scout

Help Scout: How Our Remote Team Stays Aligned With ‘Town Hall’ Meetings

Partner Content

Below is an article originally written by Emily Triplett Lentz at PowerToFly Partner Help Scout, and published on May 30, 2017. Go to Help Scout's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

As a remote-first company, we have to be deliberate about alignment.

Back when the company was small, we held weekly meetings over the phone. But by the time the team had grown to ~20 people, those weekly calls weren't scaling. Teammates wanted to hear more about what was important to our leadership team and how they saw the company evolving. We replaced the weekly check-ins with video updates and decided to set aside time to share big-picture information with the whole team as well.

These virtual all-hands and town hall meetings have become another one of the ways we try to keep everyone updated on all aspects of the business, from financial health to culture to important initiatives. The team gets to ask questions about projects other teams are working on, the company's strategic vision, or whatever is on our minds. It's a chance for everyone to learn — at a 10,000-foot level — how we're doing against our goals and where we're headed.

Here's how these virtual meetings help us stay transparent, connected, and rowing in the same direction.

Remote all-hands meetings

We held our first all-hands meeting in person, at our first company retreat in March 2015, but since we only get together a couple times a year, we also conduct a few virtual all-hands meetings per year.

How Our Remote Team Stays Aligned With 'Town Hall' Meetings

An excerpt from the beginning of Help Scout's 2017 Q1 remote All Hands meeting

We use the videoconference tool Zoom for all-hands meetings, which lets us record them for our far-flung teammates in other time zones. We also try to mitigate time zone issues by scheduling the meetings at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, so the majority of the team can make it during business hours.

The week before each all-hands meeting, our CEO Nick Francis asks the team leads to submit slides, which he then compiles into a presentation.

Nick kicks off the all-hands meeting with an update on the health of the business and any strategic shifts or goals we're working toward. Each team lead has 5-15 minutes to present a high-level review on the work their team has done in the past quarter and share what their team will be working on in the next quarter.

We introduce new team members in our quarterly all hands meetings.

During the meeting, Becca Van Nederynen, our head of People Ops, monitors chat in Zoom and Slack for any questions that arise, and we pause after each section to make sure people have time to submit questions.

Slide from the Design Team section of Help Scout's 2017 Q1 all-hands meeting

The team leads sometimes worry that their all-hands updates are "boring" — when they're elbow-deep in their work every day, it can feel like they're repeating themselves. But for everyone listening, the information is new and exciting:

Remote town hall meetings

Town hall meetings started when team members requested more supplemental and high-level updates from leadership — so in addition to the quarterly all-hands meetings, we now schedule town halls once per quarter after the board meetings.

Town halls tend to be shorter and more informal. Becca solicits questions from the wider team ahead of time via Know Your Company. Team leads don't submit and share individual updates — instead, Nick goes over highlights from the latest board meeting, how we're doing on our goals, what we're focused on, and announcements of any changes we're making.

How Our Remote Team Stays Aligned With 'Town Hall' Meetings

Nick shares some good news with the team during Help Scout's remote Q2 town hall meeting.

If anything with the business has changed since the last all-hands meeting, Nick shares it in the town hall. This way, there are fewer surprises and everyone feels like they have a finger on the pulse of the organization.

Staying aligned as a remote company

When it comes to keeping our whole remote company aligned, all-hands and town hall meetings are just one piece of the puzzle. We've written before about remote team initiatives that help us build and maintain a thriving remote culture. Our team leads post monthly updates in Slack. People Ops' Leah Knobler creates delightful and informative weekly video updates. Everyone regularly checks in one-on-one with their team lead. Team members are randomly paired for "fika" over coffee and pastries. And there's no substitute for getting the whole gang together at company retreats.

As a remote company, we can't afford to be blasé about this stuff — when you can't catch up at the water cooler, you have to be thoughtful and deliberate about getting everyone on the same page.

Zapier Inc

A Day in the Life of Zapier's Remote Team

What does a day of work look like at a fully distributed company like Zapier?

The video above shows several one second clips of an average day — an amazing inside look at how the Zapier team works.

Do you want to give the remote life a try?

Click here to see all of Zapier's available opportunities, and don't forget to press 'Follow' to receive custom job matches, event invitations and more!

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