Now Hiring: An Inside Look at What New Hires Can Expect at 4 Chicago Tech Companies

Amid Chicago’s thriving tech scene, these four companies are providing impactful growth opportunities for new hires as their teams grow.

Written by Lucas Dean
Published on May. 03, 2023
Now Hiring: An Inside Look at What New Hires Can Expect at 4 Chicago Tech Companies
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Silicon Valley might be the first tech industry hotspot that comes to mind, but Chicago’s track record for technological advancement can be traced to half a century before Santa Clara Valley experienced its tech boom in the 1960s. 

When electric lighting was showcased at Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, Silicon Valley was predominately orchards, canneries and farms. In the century-plus since then, Chicago’s tech leaders and companies haven’t let up and are credited with revolutionary inventions like the lithium-ion battery and handheld mobile phones. 

Though Silicon Valley has since become synonymous with tech, the Windy City remains a magnet for innovators. 

According to CompTIA’s 2023 State of the Tech Workforce report, Chicago is home to an estimated 11,295 tech businesses, and the industry has generated over $51 billion in economic impact. 

While the past few months have undoubtedly presented challenges and feelings of uncertainty, Chicago remains unquestionably ripe with opportunities for those in tech. 

Built In Chicago is highlighting four local companies that are growing their teams and asked current employees to share why jobseekers should take note of their companies and how they’ve made an impact. 

 

Julie Smith
VP Development, Engineering • Epsilon

With over five decades of experience in marketing, Epsilon offers brands a suite of digital media, messaging and loyalty solutions and services. 

 

Think back to first joining the team. What drew you to Epsilon? How have your expectations been met since coming aboard?

Wow, hard to think back that far. Honestly, back then I was just looking for what would be my second job out of college, and I didn’t have many expectations. Epsilon — which was FMI at the time — had a developer position in the skill set I had experience with, and I wouldn’t have to travel. I was looking to leave the consultant life. I actually didn’t realize at the time I was joining the company that would grow my career. 

Twenty-one years later, this company has done so much more than meet my expectations. It has provided me with opportunities for growth time and time again. Every challenge or project I conquered led me to a new one. Not only have I had the privilege to work in many parts of the company and on many exciting projects, but honestly, the people have kept me here. There are too many mentors and role models to count. All of these people and experiences have developed me into the leader I get to be today.

I didn’t realize at the time I was joining the company that would grow my career. Twenty-one years later, this company has done so much more than meet my expectations.”

 

What’s been your biggest success story since joining the team?

I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of a lot of success stories here at Epsilon. The two I’m most proud of happened about six or seven years into my job. I had grown from a support developer to a technical manager and was selected to lead our implementation teams for two new loyalty clients. After the successful launches of their programs, they both have continued to grow and expand their loyalty programs, becoming some of the most successful in the world. I’m so proud to say both of these clients are still with us over 10 years later. 

This opportunity to be on the front lines of using our Epsilon technology and data solutions to help solve our clients’ marketing and business goals was exciting. I grew so many skills over the years of those projects — technical design and architecture, client relationship building, leadership and project management, just to name a few. Thinking about how both of these loyalty programs continue to thrive today still makes me smile.

 

Your company is currently hiring for a handful of roles. How can new hires make an immediate impact at Epsilon?

I’m so happy that our company continues to be in a position of hiring and needing more help to continue solving problems for our clients. New hires are immediately assigned to a team. 

Whether that is helping a client implement a new marketing solution or joining our engineering team that continues to build best-in-class marketing applications, they’ll be able to feel the impact they are making immediately. At Epsilon, I’ve been privileged to work with the best. We work hard, no doubt, but we also get to be a part of the great things happening here and for our clients.

 

 

Hilliary Jeffries
VP, Human Resources & Diversity, Equity & Inclusion • PatientPoint

PatientPoint is on a mission to improve doctor-patient engagement through technology-enabled digital engagement solutions.  

 

Think back to first joining the team. What drew you to PatientPoint? How have your expectations been met since coming aboard?

I was drawn to PatientPoint based on its mission and commitment to ensuring better outcomes for all patients. But what sealed the deal was the organization’s decision to invest in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI+B) both internally and externally. Internally, I was given the opportunity to launch our DEI+B Council, which helps us create an inclusive culture for every PatientPoint team member. Externally, we started the nonprofit PatientPoint Foundation to address the root cause of the disparity. We’re putting our technology and education in high-priority communities, giving unique access and engagement opportunities where you don’t always expect to find them. 

Since joining #TeamPatientPoint, my expectations have been overwhelmingly exceeded. The quality and commitment of teammates at all levels of the organization make working at PatientPoint a true pleasure at this stage in my career.

One of the most satisfying aspects of my career at PatientPoint is seeing employees achieve their career aspirations and supporting our leaders through listening, coaching and partnership. I’m doing “my work” — the work that energizes me and fulfills my desire to give back. 

One of the most satisfying aspects of my career at PatientPoint is seeing employees achieve their career aspirations and supporting our leaders through listening, coaching and partnership.”

 

What’s been your biggest success story since joining the team?

My biggest success story has been beginning, organizing and leading the DEI+B Council. The diversity and commitment of the council members ensure we create relevant, meaningful and inclusive programming for PatientPoint. Our goal is to promote a culture of belonging that supports and appreciates a diverse and inclusive workforce. While bringing this council to life, I have been given the unique opportunity to make an ever-lasting impact on a large group of people by getting to know the individuals who make up our team and listening to their needs and ideas. 

Another success I see is my personal growth. I’m growing every day by ensuring that I stay concurrent on HR and DEI+B trends to partner with the business and employees effectively. I’m always researching and looking for different programming to move the business forward on these two fronts. By programming, I mean resources, activities and groups that help our colleagues create a work culture that values and supports each other in their daily jobs, careers and personal growth. Through continuous learning, I am growing personally and professionally and thereby giving back to the company.

 

Your company is currently hiring for a handful of roles. How can new hires make an immediate impact at PatientPoint?

New hires can make an immediate impact by getting involved in the cultural experiences PatientPoint provides. More importantly, by demonstrating curiosity and providing feedback on their experience in the onboarding process, they can reduce the learning curve for performance in their role and help us to continue to enhance the experience for those who follow.

From the top down, we operate in a culture of collaboration and encourage open-minded, entrepreneurial thinking. I’ve seen team members share new ideas that have made a direct impact on how we do business, as well as improving health outcomes for the people who see our programs in their doctor’s offices.

If you are looking for an organization that communicates transparently with employees and is dedicated to improving the culture and society through our technology, this is the place for you. The company demonstrates its commitment to the whole person by having opportunities to grow and learn while balancing the needs for personal growth and work-life balance.

 

 

Wolverine Trading employees gather in a communal office space.
Wolverine Trading 

 

Mac Mleczko
Technical Recruiter • Wolverine Trading

Wolverine Trading is comprised of diversified financial institutions focused on asset management, proprietary trading, order execution services and technology solutions. 

 

Think back to first joining the team. What drew you to Wolverine Trading? How have your expectations been met since coming aboard?

When I started my job search again, one of the things I looked for was that my values aligned with the company.

What drew me to Wolverine specifically, past the reputation, was that they were hiring a technical recruiter who was, well, technical. Often enough, in my search, I hopped on phone calls or had discussions with people who weren’t software engineers, didn’t have technical backgrounds and sounded pretty robotic in that they were looking for something they were told to look for.

While everyone has their own skill set, as an engineer, you should be evaluated by other engineers. In my opinion, that was a major value loss and something most companies accept without further thought. Wolverine going out and trying to solve that problem themselves indicated to me they had the same thoughts about how things should be done. 

My expectations have been well met since joining. Since I am in a bit of a new position, everyone is super excited and willing to see how I can help and what work I’ll accomplish. I’ve been given the support I need and the expectation from those involved that I take ownership and make the judgment calls as I see fit. Plus, the food is really good too!

 

What’s been your biggest success story since joining the team? 

While I am still relatively fresh, one of the things I’m most proud of is filling a very niche job opening we had with a candidate most recruiting processes might overlook. 

With this candidate’s process, we found a “unicorn” that we didn’t think we could find and would have to settle on something less than we wanted eventually. I had placed someone that absolutely had the technical and behavioral abilities that someone might have passed on because of incorrect biases in the hiring processes. On the other side of the story, we now get to work with someone who is very eager to start and contribute in a position we find very valuable and critical to our company’s ongoing progression. 

From going to a situation where we would eventually have to close a role, we were able to find not just someone we believed would thrive in a role we needed but also another Wolverine that we trust will do great things in the future.

To us, success and failure are measured by consistency and being a solid team member that others can rely on.”

 

Your company is currently hiring for a handful of roles. How can new hires make an immediate impact at Wolverine Trading? 

Because of the nature of the work at Wolverine and how closely we work with the markets and financial industry, we’re a little wary of the words “immediate impact.” To us, success and failure are measured by consistency and being a solid team member that others can rely on. This can range from having code that’s well-tested and can handle situations many wouldn’t expect to being a manager who consistently makes the right call on how to delegate work most effectively. 

A nice fact we like to tout is the average tenure of a Wolverine employee is just shy of eight years. The impact of those employees is felt in the compound growth and stability of their work. If anything, our most valuable employees aren’t the ones that make an immediate impact but rather set themselves up for a slow-growing impact that shines after a period of time. 

But this isn’t to say no immediate impact can be had. We pride ourselves on our culture of kindness to others, collaborativeness and our ability to make things happen. Some of the most important impacts here is going out of one’s way to help others because their success will eventually mean your success, and one day, they’ll be the ones helping you!

 

 

CarAdvise team members pose for a group photo at a driving range.
CarAdvise

 

Joe Bello
Head of Marketing • CarAdvise

CarAdvise’s online marketplace and convenient mobile app connects drivers to vehicle repair and maintenance services via its network of over 40 national brands. 

 

Think back to first joining the team. What drew you to CarAdvise? How have your expectations been met since coming aboard?

As the head of marketing for CarAdvise, I still vividly recall the excitement and enthusiasm I felt when I first joined the team. What initially drew me to the company was its innovative and customer-centric approach to revolutionizing the automotive service and repair industry. CarAdvise stood out by offering a transparent, user-friendly, cost-effective platform that empowers vehicle owners to make informed decisions about their care needs. I was eager to be part of a team that was truly making a difference in an industry ripe for disruption.

From the beginning, my expectations have not only been met but consistently exceeded. The inclusive and dynamic company culture has played a significant role in this. At CarAdvise, we’re a family of passionate, forward-thinking individuals who share a common goal — to transform the automotive service experience for the better. We’re encouraged to voice our ideas, take risks and collaborate across departments to continuously innovate and improve our platform.

We’re encouraged to voice our ideas, take risks and collaborate across departments to continuously innovate and improve our platform.”

 

What’s been your biggest success story since joining the team? 

My biggest success story since joining CarAdvise has been leading a cross-functional team to launch a comprehensive digital marketing campaign that significantly increased our user base and brand awareness. This campaign involved optimizing our website, creating engaging content, leveraging social media channels and implementing targeted email marketing strategies.

Through close collaboration with the product, sales and customer success teams, we identified our target audience’s needs and tailored our messaging accordingly. As a result, we achieved a remarkable increase in platform sign-ups, customer retention and overall satisfaction. This success led to a considerable boost in our company’s growth and earned me a well-deserved promotion to the head of marketing position.

This accomplishment exemplifies the growth opportunities and supportive environment that CarAdvise offers, where employees are encouraged to take ownership of their projects and contribute to the company’s overall vision.

 

Your company is currently hiring for a handful of roles. How can new hires make an immediate impact at CarAdvise?

New hires can make an immediate impact at CarAdvise by embracing our company values of innovation, collaboration and customer-centricity. By actively engaging with their team, voicing creative ideas and taking ownership of their projects, new employees can contribute to our mission of revolutionizing the automotive service industry.

We encourage new hires to leverage their unique skills and experiences to offer fresh perspectives on existing processes and strategies. This proactive approach can lead to the development of more efficient workflows, better products and enhanced customer experiences.

At CarAdvise, we value open communication and cross-functional collaboration, which allows new hires to quickly integrate into our work environment and contribute to ongoing projects. 

New employees can foster a positive and productive work atmosphere by actively participating in team meetings, providing constructive feedback and seeking opportunities to learn from colleagues. By demonstrating a commitment to personal and professional growth, new hires can also contribute to a culture of continuous improvement, inspiring others to do the same.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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