4 companies explain why team players are crucial to their culture

Andreas Rekdal

Every great company needs a rockstar team player — someone who gets their job done, then looks up to see what they can do to offer a hand or make a co-worker's day better. To learn more about the difference these individual employees can make, we reached out to some of Chicago's fastest-growing tech companies. As it turns out, quite a few of them had team members who fit the bill.

 

UpRight Law is on a mission to make the legal system more accessible by bringing the law office into the consumer’s living room. As America’s first online consumer law firm, the Chicago-based company has more than 400 experienced local partner attorneys across all 50 states.

Who holds your company together?

“Technology has made our company what it is today, changing the way we work and more importantly, the way we deliver legal services to our clients,” said Chief Executive Ed Scanlan. “Nevertheless, all great tech companies are powered by amazing individuals. Byron Bradley (third from the right) is one of those people. Byron has been an UpRighter for over three years, serving in a variety of roles from senior client consultant to his new role today as our sales success manager. Byron isn’t limited by the parameters of his job description; he is always on the front lines helping in any way he can because he lives and breathes our core value — achieve as a team.”    

What makes him so important to your team?

“From happy hours, intramural sport leagues and chili cook-offs, to community outreach initiatives, Byron is always rallying the troops to participate and have a good time,” said HR manager Christy Simpson. “He is instrumental in creating and growing ‘High Five Friday,’ leading the charge by high fiving every UpRighter to celebrate a great week. Byron’s demonstrated his appreciation for honesty and genuine camaraderie amongst his colleagues. While always ensuring that we deliver the best experience for our clients, Byron also emphasizes that we learn, grow and enjoy the process together as a team.”

 

Gesture helps charities integrate technology into their fundraising campaigns. The company’s platform helps organizations sell tickets to fundraiser events, manage seating assignments, host auctions and send text messages to encourage continued donations.

Who holds your company together?

“Patrick Clore, Gesture’s event operations manager, has an awesome ‘get it done’ attitude. He and his team impact all areas of the company and play a huge part in customer service, tracking finances, ensuring the technology is available and runs as it should at events, and so much more,” said Steve Greanias, senior VP of sales and operations. “His passion for helping nonprofits inspires the entire Gesture team, from the full-time employees to the on-site managers and Gesture pros who staff events. He and his team are the face of Gesture and are there to ensure everyone who uses our technology has an enjoyable experience.”

What makes him so important to your team?

“Patrick and I were working a 2,500 person event for General Motors in Austin. They were hoping to raise $100,000 from a text-to-give event. All 2,500 people were in an auditorium when they made the announcements on how to text in donations,” said CEO and founder Jim Alvarez. “However, GM was giving out highly confidential information during the presentation and had taken everyone's mobile phones at the door as a precaution. This meant that no one could text in at the time of the announcement. When Patrick realized this, he positioned himself near the exit, right next to the area where people had to retrieve their devices. Of course, people were more interested in checking all the text messages they had missed during the presentation and were no longer interested in making a donation, but that didn’t stop Patrick. He went above and beyond and made sure he reminded as many people as he could to text in a donation. In the end, GM raised $250,000 and gave us all huge hugs.”

 

ParkWhiz helps consumers book discounted parking wherever they’re going ahead of time, helping them save the time and frustration of circling around for an open spot. Headquartered in Chicago, its services are available in 150 cities.

Who holds your company together?

"Keeping a company with such a large footprint driving down the right lane can be difficult. To keep ourselves in check, ParkWhiz has five core values: trust, entrepreneurship, curiosity, humility and courage,” said COO Tim Brennan. “A great example of these is Lisa, our director of business development. She's never too busy to help out even though she is at the helm of ParkWhiz for Business — our fast-growing B2B product — and handles venue management for Ticketmaster, one of our largest partners. If you have a project, she has the passion and know-how to get it done with precision.”

What makes her so important to your team?

“On top of her full workload, Lisa is also the president of our Employee Advisory Council, elected by her peers,” said Brennan. “The EAC was set up to make sure that employees’ voices are heard and to create a sense of unity under our core values, which Lisa exemplifies. She takes the lead on office yoga, sets up our charitable drives and organizes in-office fun because she cares about the company as a whole. But above the organization, Lisa supports the individuals who make up our team. Lisa lives the ParkWhiz culture through her daily life and makes ParkWhiz a better place to be."

 

Codifyd helps companies boost their B2B sales by improving the online customer experience. The company takes a strategic approach to creating and managing content for e-commerce sites, and gives manufacturers and distributors the tools they need to drive continued growth in the space.

Who holds your company together?

“With a booming and gregarious personality, our top data geek, Aamir Burki (pictured right) is a thought leader shepherding clients and our company with his vision and passion for product data,” said consulting manager Kim Roberts. “His steadfast belief and commitment to Codifyd instills similar loyalty to the organization from his fellow co-workers. He always advocates for what is right for the customer and our company, championing the correct solution not the expedient one.”

What makes him so important to your team?

“Honestly, nobody doesn't like this guy,” said Roberts. “He is both style and substance. Fun and serious. Coach and player. He makes data cool.”

 

Images via participating companies.

Does your startup have news to share? Let us know with a tip or a tweet @BuiltInChicago

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