When Charles and I founded Persona in 2018, we knew two things:
- We wanted to build a flexible identity platform that could help any company tackle any identity challenge.
- We wanted to build a company that people would want to work at.
While we had a few ideas around how to accomplish the first point, the second was trickier — all we knew was that people would play a huge role. After all, you spend the vast majority of your life at work, so who you work with can make all the difference.
Today, I’m honored to share that we’ve made Fortune’s 2023 Best Workplaces in the Bay Area list — not because we offer the best perks (though they’re not too shabby), but because I truly believe we have a world-class team.
To celebrate the recognition, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on why our people make Persona a great place to work.
Personerds are passionate about their work
Startups don't thrive unless people believe in them — and every day, Personerds prove they do. From the meticulous way a sales engineer will prepare a custom deck just for one customer demo to how multiple teams will jump in if a customer is experiencing issues, people here truly care about their craft, what we’ve collectively built, and how our identity platform helps businesses and individuals.
This isn’t to say we’re always boasting about what we’ve accomplished, but that we take pride in the work we’re creating — especially if we had to push ourselves (and each other) to achieve it.
Persona wouldn’t be where it is today if we didn’t care so much. Yes, everyone here is incredibly talented and brilliant, but above all else, they’re good people who want to do the right thing. They don’t work hard for me or just to get to the next stage of their career — they work hard because they love what they do and want to support each other.
Don’t get me wrong — we’re not happy all the time, we don’t always see eye-to-eye, and sometimes we get into arguments because we care so much. But at the end of the day, we know everyone just wants to do the right thing and help Persona succeed. And that’s really special to me.
Personerds show up for others
At Persona, our number one value is people first, which boils down to caring about people — a quality our team has in spades.
One great example of this how intentional everyone is about getting to know each other, which is harder to do now that we have over 200 Personerds. Almost every week, folks organize impromptu grassroots events, such as jam sessions, trips to ball games (go sports?), video game nights, themed happy hours, and more. When one Personerd is leading a yoga class, groups will sign up to attend (even if the classes are at 6:30 am!). When another Personerd’s band lands a big gig, the team asks how they can buy tickets.
As a founder, it’s extremely heartening to know that your team isn’t just spending time together because they're being paid to, but because they actually want to as friends.
Tech is often an echo chamber, so I’m also proud of our team’s efforts to make Persona a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive place to work. While we’re all incredibly busy, it’s inspiring to see folks rally behind DEIB efforts simply because diversity matters.
Being a member of the DEIB taskforce, a rotating group of Personerds empowered to make a more diverse and equitable workforce, is just one way to get involved here. In the past few months alone, they've organized an Employee Resource Group (ERG) fair featuring five of our employee resource groups, a DEIB meeting open to the entire company, and more. Our ERGs have also hosted numerous events, such as Pride Jeopardy, a Lunch and Learn around The 1619 Project, a happy hour for Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, and a dinner for the womxn at Persona, just to name a few.
And their passion spans past events as well. Education goes a long way in building a more inclusive culture, and Personerds regularly post in our company-wide Slack channel about the history of important events and holidays, like the Stonewall Riots, Juneteenth, AANHPI Heritage Month, and many others. I always learn something new from these posts and am thankful the team puts so much effort into helping us understand other traditions and cultures.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, our team cares about others outside of Persona. From going above and beyond to take care of our customers to organizing fundraisers to support organizations like Legacies of War and White Helmets, they’re constantly thinking about how they can serve others.
It’s no secret that the economic landscape is rocky right now. Valuations are dropping, many experts think we’re headed toward a recession, and hardly a day goes by without news of another company having layoffs.
It’s nerve-wracking, but at the same time, I’m confident we’ll continue to succeed as long as we treasure what’s here today and preserve what’s gotten us to this point — the culture, our people, and how much they care. Because that, in my book, is the true mark of a great place to work.