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In Playmaker Spotlight, we get up close (and sometimes personal) with one of our valuable team members whose individual contributions shouldn’t be overlooked but rather used to highlight their unique experience. Besides taking this great opportunity to share their accomplishments with the world, we also hope to provide you with insider info about our team culture and what it’s like to work at Databox.
In today’s job market, it has become a norm for people to switch jobs every few years, especially in the tech industry. Therefore, nothing makes us prouder than seeing dedicated Playmakers stick with us for a long time. In today’s spotlight, we are introducing Inga Brūnava, our Principal Engineer and one of our most devoted Playmakers who has been part of Databox for 10 years.
Inga is one of the members that were here from the very start and were heavily involved in creating the first version of Databox. She was the first woman on our team and stood her ground with her exceptional work ethic, sense of accountability, and high-level engineering skills that have recently earned her the highest title in her team: Principal Engineer. Such a successful career and a long-term team member status give an individual a chance to look back on the progress and changes they’ve made since joining a company and here’s what Inga had to say about her path:
“Being in the data business has taught me the importance of data in decision making, not only purely technical (e.g. debugging from logs, solving performance issues) but also creative (e.g. researching UX improvements, fixing a leaking funnel). Also, being surrounded by talented and dedicated individuals here at Databox has allowed me to develop skills that might not be directly related to my current career path, but are generally useful for everyone – planning, accountability, basics of good leadership, encouraging motivation, problem-solving mindset, etc.”
This gives us the confirmation that bringing together people with diverse sets of skills gives our team members a chance to enrich their skillsets and gain new knowledge. In Inga’s case, her long-term commitment to Databox resulted in her having myriad skills that she has gathered by being part of a fast-growing environment with diverse individuals, to which she also contributed herself immensely.
Another point that comes to mind is the importance of highlighting that career development and the idea of success don’t look the same to everyone. Some team members want to challenge themselves by stepping into more managerial roles over time while others strive to further evolve as individual contributors and specialize their technical skills staying focused on the product. By giving them the freedom to impact their career paths, we are allowing individuals to really show off their true potential and shine bright wherever they feel most comfortable. It is the only way to really have a team of people that enjoy what they do and feel confident in their roles.
Inga is a great example of a Playmaker that thrives individually and is also an excellent team contributor. Her efforts and input have proven to be invaluable for our product growth and after all those years, she still finds ways to knock us off our feet.
So, what’s next for Inga?
“As of now, I feel like I am exactly where I want to be. I prefer to stay in development and out of managerial roles. Looking at the bigger picture, I would love to see Databox gaining recognition, becoming the de-facto, easy-to-use, and predictably stable platform for SMB users, and being recognized as an employer that attracts similar-thinking developers in the whole region, while maintaining the current level of flat organizational structure and general openness.”
At Databox, we always go back to our core values, and Playmakers like Inga make it super easy to stay aligned with them. With that being said, we wanted to get her input on what “living by Databox values” means to her, since she has been heavily involved in developing our company culture from the get-go.
“Our company values evolved organically and go back to the first few employees and the example they have set. For me, the most important value is accountability: taking responsibility for your work and actions, and respecting my colleagues, their involvement, and their time while doing so. It’s also extremely important to have a great work-life balance, which for me means having relaxing forget-all-about-work weekends, and still be excited and full of energy when commuting to the office on a Monday morning.”
Long-standing members of our team give us the biggest confirmation that we are providing the right combination of opportunities for growth, career development, and work-life balance. As mentioned before, in a time where jumping from job to job is nothing extraordinary, we feel a responsibility as an employer to provide favorable conditions that ensure a high level of employee retention. Here’s Inga’s take on that:
“Many people in tech believe that a developer should change jobs every 2-3 years. While this might mean seeing a variety of projects and learning additional programming languages, the benefits of experiencing continuous growth of a company/product are often overlooked.”
This is an important topic that often gets overlooked. Younger generations continuously strive for a work environment that will allow them to grow and develop further. If they don’t find that, they are quick to change jobs. As an employer, we find it crucial to provide conditions (such as investing in growth, creating an exceptional employee experience, providing skill development opportunities, etc.) that make people feel they can grow their careers without looking for other opportunities and make them realize they are in fact the ones that help change our work environment for the better and evolve with it and vice versa.
“Being a part of a company that has grown from 4 people to over 100+ made me realize that the most important lessons have nothing to do with knowledge in my immediate field, frontend development. In fact, the biggest and most important lesson for me was that no one knows everything but that teamwork is the key to success, and constant learning is a must.
Another important lesson – don’t judge someone by their age or seniority level. There are many young bright minds here at Databox that are amazing and keep us “seniors” on our toes.”
What a great way to describe exactly what we strive for as a team. It emphasizes the importance of constant learning and the knowledge-sharing culture that we encourage.
Learning from each other doesn’t only mean passing the knowledge from the top down, but sharing it all around, no matter the experience or seniority level. Making every team member feel heard is vital for a healthy team dynamic and it eliminates the chance of missing a great learning opportunity.
What Inga emphasized is something we put in the forefront of our way of work and it has proven to be our secret (well, not anymore) to success.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Inga for all the impact her work and dedication have had on our team. We’re dedicated to continuing to build an organization where such valuable individuals want to grow their careers and at the same time continue to keep them challenged as well. Looking forward to the next 10 years!
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