In the past few weeks, I’ve bidden Opower and Washington, DC farewell and moved to San Francisco to join AltSchool as their new Head of People Operations.
Transitions are always bittersweet for me and this one is no different.
I’ll forever be grateful to Opower for giving me the opportunity to join a mission-driven company in a role that enabled me to apply my strengths and make a significant impact on the organization and its mission. My peers, managers and reports have been amazing catalysts of my professional growth. And if they can say the same about my contribution to them — then that would be my proudest achievement at Opower.
I’m extremely excited about this new opportunity for so many reasons. Let me call out a couple of them:
First, the organization that I’m joining. I learned early on in my career that a strong mission orientation is a necessary condition for me to fully engage in my work. Opower was a particularly strong validation of that. My bar for what qualifies as a mission-driven company is rather high (some may say “unrealistic”), and AltSchool was one of a handful of companies that actually passed that bar. There is so much to fix in education systems worldwide, and there is no silver bullet in fighting such massive scale societal problem (another lesson from fighting climate change with Opower). But AltSchool is definitely moving the needle in the right direction and with the right vision in mind, at least in my opinion.
Second, the role. If you look deep into the heart of modern collaborative software development methodologies (agile, kanban, etc.) you’ll find a humanistic approach to system and process design. An attempt to incorporate modern, progressive insights on what motivates people to apply themselves fully and the environment that fosters the most effective collaboration. But often times, this approach grinds to a halt at the walled fence of the R&D garden. More fundamental processes and systems that define the organization at its core, are based on anachronistic, industrial-era, mechanistic principles. Be it a performance management system that outweighs extrinsic motivation over intrinsic one, or an expense policy that outweighs abuse-prevention over the exercise of good judgement. This role puts me in a high-leverage position to continue pushing for a more humanistic organizational core, in an organization that’s already ahead of the curve in many aspects of this transformation.
I look forward to this new challenge a sharing many of the new lessons-learned and experiences with the readers of this publication.