News + People
How We Exemplify Our Values: Part 1
Participate employees are different. They come from different backgrounds, different families, different countries. They speak various languages, have distinct music preferences, range in personality type and have different world views. Some have worked in the classroom, while others have not.
In many ways, my colleagues’ personal and professional diversity could foster segregation. It could cause more friction and contention than progress and productivity. Yet at Participate, these differences are unifying. They come together to both create and link the cogs of what many would call a well-oiled machine. This machine propels us forward towards our mission of making education accessible and equitable for all.
Participate employees contribute to this mission in a myriad of ways. Not only this, but each embodies the core values that supplement it in their own, unique way. In personal and professional efforts, feats and time, my colleagues exemplify these values:
- Make each other better
- Deliver excellent work
- Seek and share feedback
- Do well, do good
Kicking off the first part of our series on how my coworkers showcase each of these traits, a look into how we improve one another and how Participate improves us.
Make each other better
Operations and Systems Support Specialist Jordan Dye first started as an administrative assistant intern on Participate’s Teaching Resources team eight years ago. Following this internship, she transitioned into a full-time office coordinator position. When she realized that IT had always been an area of personal interest, she included it in a yearly review with her manager. Shortly afterwards, she began shadowing and learning from Senior Systems Administrator Josh Bell, who was eager to help.
“The fact that this company has been so flexible with me saying ‘This is what I want to do,’ and that their response has been ‘Yes, let’s do it,’ has been awesome,” Jordan explains. While at Participate, she has completed an Apple bootcamp class, and has also developed a keen interest in Salesforce, which she says allows her to expand and work with other departments. For example, she has recently aided the Teaching Resources and Selection teams in building an application for new cultural exchange teachers, and also assists with program reporting.
Jordan says that having the chance to learn Salesforce has taught her valuable skills, such as effective communication and presentation. These are some of the reasons she’s been preparing for the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam, which she’ll take in September. “Participate Learning has been super supportive – not just in my current position, but with my career down the road,” she says. “Everybody is pretty encouraging when it comes to education and certifications. I like that they’re behind you, and that they push you along a little bit more.”
Josh Bell, Participate’s senior systems administrator, is more than happy to be that mentoring force for Jordan. “I love pushing her,” he says, expressing his dedication to see her succeed.
Remarkably, Josh has had to learn on his own throughout the course of his life. Despite having worked in Information Technology for 15 years, he started in the industry without ever having owned a computer.
“I would go sit in Barnes and Noble and read computer books. I couldn’t afford to buy them or my own computer.” He did so for six months before applying to (and accepting) his first IT job. Later, he went to technical school and has since worked at Lenovo, Dell and IBM, in addition to Participate.
“You really are just a number at any other company, but not here. And I really respect that,” he says. “That’s one thing that blows my mind about this place. They want you to grow, and push you beyond your boundaries.”
During his five years here, Josh has pursued and received his CompTIA A+ certification, Network+ Certification and Linux certification. With each request to gain a new skill, Participate has propelled him forward. He has also earned two additional Linux certifications and has attended many software-related workshops, such as the Cisco UCS workshop.
That’s one thing that blows my mind about this place. They want you to grow, and push you beyond your boundaries.
As Josh has continued to learn skills and gain certifications, he has gradually assumed increasingly senior roles. These, too, have served a reciprocal purpose and helped him achieve his career aspirations. “Participate has always backed me on it. If I said I wanted to do something, they were on it,” he says.
His next personal feat? To become a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RCHE).
In my opinion, he’s not stopping there.
In these ways and countless others, Participate employees make each other better. Stay tuned for more ways in which we exemplify our values in and around the workplace! Up next, ‘Part 2: Deliver good work.’
Kirstin Meyerhoeffer is the product marketing manager at Participate. Connect with her on Twitter @kmeyerhoeffer.