About 8 years ago, I was enjoying a group dinner out with my girlfriend Jill (now my wife) and four other couples. As I recall, I was reluctant to go since they were Jill’s coworkers and I was the “new boyfriend.” Nonetheless, we all enjoyed the dinner and I didn’t contend with too much harassment.
The most memorable part of the dinner came at the end when our waiter delivered the customary black vinyl check folder.
Seated at the end of the table, I watched and listened as the bill passed from one person to the next accompanied by comments like, “Here, somebody figure this out” and “This is split up 5 ways, so. . . hmm, I don’t do math.” Eventually, someone was brave enough to divvy up the bill, but they used their iPhone to do it! Nobody gave it a second thought.
Perhaps you can recall a similar experience of your own. At the time, I remember thinking: Why is it acceptable to pass the check and say, “You figure this out; I’m not a math person”?
Could you imagine a scenario where the dinner guests passed the same check along, saying, “You figure this out, I don’t read”?
The Campaign for Developing Confidence in Math
This revelation came to me at just the right moment. I was invited to interview at MIND Research Institute, the creators of ST Math, a game-based instructional software program designed to boost math comprehension and proficiency through visual learning.
The word that best defines the experience of interviewing at MIND is invigorating. It was (and still is) the leadership team that impressed me most. The people at the top here at MIND are absolutely brilliant. What also struck me then and now, is that this was also true of employees in all levels and departments within the organization. Other companies where I’d previously worked were content with “dead weight.” But not MIND. Every single person is exceptional at what they do. I think this high level of talent is infectious. It motivates everyone at MIND to raise the bar for themselves, each other and to expect that same level of talent and commitment from those we seek to hire.
Teambuilding Through Trust
I am fortunate to be in my role, because it’s exactly what I want to be doing. I’ve been a “lifer” in education sales, having entered the industry as an inside salesperson for my first job out of college. I’ve enjoyed the field ever since, but have never taken as much pride in my company or a mission as I do here at MIND.
Now as a regional vice president, I’m in a role that enables me to develop and support a high-performing regional partnerships team. That’s a key difference here at MIND, we aren’t salespeople, we are partnership managers, and that’s our goal – to create meaningful partnerships, not just deliver a transactional sale.
At MIND, I have had the support to build the East Region Partnerships team with the best talent in the industry. While it’s often difficult to find high caliber salespeople, it’s even harder to find those who are also aligned with our core values and who embrace our mission. What is surprising to some is that I am not expected to hire just to fill a seat; if I don’t find someone who I am confident will excel in that position, I have the freedom to wait, to shuffle workload and responsibility on my team until we find the right fit. That’s the kind of thinking that allows us to build such successful teams, and why employees have such a long-term commitment to MIND.
More than an Education Technology Program
More recently I’ve found myself excited about learning something brand new in my role: philanthropy. As I mentioned earlier, when we talk about forming a partnership with a school or district, we are not just selling a program. Education Partnerships and Philanthropic Partnerships coordinate with donors, in part, to help enable the program in more schools. We also provide opportunities for schools that go beyond ST Math with our MathMINDs initiatives. This has changed the conversation with prospects completely, and helped position MIND as a true partner.
I think of districts like DC Public Schools, Pinellas County, Florida and my home district here in Philadelphia. These are examples of projects that have enabled or expanded ST Math through public and private partnerships which we helped to create. When you participate in celebration events like the ones hosted with Hyundai and these district partners, you can’t help but feel a part of something special. The excitement and enthusiasm isn’t just from the kids, but also the administrators, parents, business leaders and of course, MIND colleagues.
MIND has a uniquely nurturing environment due to the phenomenal leadership and core values instilled from the top. A mission driven atmosphere, emphasis on partnerships and inspiring leadership that values talent. I think that’s what makes MIND a great place to work.
About the Author
Rob Magliano was Regional Vice President, Partnerships East at MIND Research Institute.