The story of the people behind tech start-up SAASTEPS, who are fostering a community-driven brand, and how they are helping their team find purpose and belonging.
BROOMFIELD, Colo., Sept. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Every brand has a story that helps customers understand who they are and why their business exists. When I learned this fundamental marketing tenant in business school two decades ago, I could not have imagined that one brand story in particular would change my life.
LAYOFF, BURN OUT, AND OPPORTUNITY
In March of 2023, I had found myself laid off for the second time in my career. The first time, my career was in its infancy. This time around, things were a bit different – I had accumulated over 15 years of experience in the tech industry and a ton of burnout. "Jaded" was an understatement; the thought of being a faceless worker at another soulless tech company caused me visceral discomfort.
Several months into my job search and countless uninspired interviews later, I found myself at dinner with Rachel, an old college friend. I shared with Rachel and her husband Tim how unappealing "another tech job" felt, and my desire to be part of a community where I could make a tangible impact and use my skills to do good.
THE SAASTEPS STORY
Over the next hour, Rachel and Tim told me about a humble little company they had recently acquired called Kinetic Growth, which they rebranded as SAASTEPS (representing the way we help customers step into SaaS with ease). To be honest, I had very little interest in SaaS at the time, but the way in which they spoke about the product and the people inspired me in a way that I hadn't felt in years. They told me with earnest excitement how innovative the product was, and how it had the potential to disrupt the industry and help business owners grow and succeed in a multitude of ways (which I did not take lightly, as I knew Tim had experienced decades of success in the industry).
THE SAASTEPS FAMILY
Then they told me something that really got my attention; they had been trying to have a family for years, and when the opportunity to buy SAASTEPS came up, they were faced with a decision – allocate funds for IVF, or invest in SAASTEPS with the intention of looking into adoption once the company was up and running. Their belief in SAASTEPS made this difficult decision a bit easier and they knew they could create a family within the company until they could start their own. Rachel and Tim told me about their smart, supportive Brazilian co-founder Ron, who leads the Brazilian arm of the company, and how important it was for them to use their privilege to foster their international team members. Tim spoke with affection and pride about how working at SAASTEPS had enabled the Brazilian team members to learn English and improve their financial situations. I was touched by the way they spoke about their employees as people first and foremost, not just people who do the work. It became clear to me then that SAASTEPS could be the familial community that I was looking for.
YOU DON'T WORK FOR COMPANIES, YOU WORK FOR PEOPLE
So, here I am again back in tech, but I wouldn't call this "just another tech job". My first week in the role involved a mandatory viewing of the Disney movie Million Dollar Arm, the story of an underdog defeating incredible odds with the help of teamwork, talent, and perseverance (sound familiar?). I was excited to learn that the movie was based on the story of J.B. Bernstein, husband of our very own advisory board member Brenda Paauwe-Navori. Knowing we had the support of powerhouses like Brenda filled me with even more purpose around the SAASTEPS brand and my role in building our very own Million Dollar Dream.
It's been less than a year, but I have felt like part of the SAASTEPS family from day one. Rachel and Tim now speak about me and the work that I do for the company with the same pride and affection they used for the rest of the team during our dinner months ago. For the first time, I am working for a company that lives up to its values. I am proud to be at the helm of a brand that has retained its humanity and soul in the age of capitalism, a brand where we routinely think about how we can help our customers succeed, where our CEO lights up with child-like excitement with each new client success story, where a woman of color like myself is valued for my ideas and contributions instead of just the work that I can push out. We're still a startup, and that comes with its own challenges, but it's meaningful work that keeps me inspired daily. My challenge now as Director of Brand is to convey our brand story to all of you in a way that resonates. Keep an eye out for a lot more from us, coming very soon.