By: Ivy Kaminsky
Not like any other
One of the things I was extremely excited about when creating this organization is building the culture. I’ve worked at so many different types and sizes of organizations, some great to work at, and some not so great. I wanted Find Your Power to be unlike any other place I’ve ever worked. It is really important to me that people enjoy working with each other, enjoy coming to work, and find ways to be fulfilled by their work and their individual contributions.
I believe the culture of Find Your Power is hugely important and it starts with me (Ivy), because the leader is the soul of an organization. When the culture erodes, that means connections aren’t happening. So it is my job to try to stay connected with my staff and to keep them all connected. In my opinion conversation = connection. That is why it’s important that we see each other and meet in person as often as possible, even when working remotely. We are, first and foremost, a people centered culture. That begins with us and goes all the way to the individual women we serve. How we treat each other (and the women we aim to serve) is very important. So is valuing what each person brings to the table. And having fun and not taking anything too seriously, because happy people do good work! My aim is to create a place where people want to be. A place where you can be yourself, learn and grow, and find a sense of purpose in your day-to-day work.
The importance of shared values and beliefs
I think part of what helps that culture come together and really exist is a sense of shared values. Our overall values are: Relationships. Supporting each other => Success. Openness. Honesty. Connection. Friendship. Caring. Flexibility. Teamwork. Growth. Accountability. Integrity. Learning. Attentiveness. And because people are drawn to FYP because of our mission and work empowering women, we tend to attract like-minded people, which is very fortunate, and makes hiring that much easier.
Our core values are: DIVERSITY. COLLABORATION. INCLUSION. RESPECT. POSITIVE SOCIAL IMPACT. These are the values listed and described in more detail on our website. These are the ones that we practice while hiring and while doing our day-to-day work.
When I hire people, I give them my personal commitment to upholding the culture and these values and doing my best to lead by example.
Lately we’ve been talking a lot about our beliefs. I saw a great Ted Talk by Simon Sinek that really inspired us, and articulated really well what I could not, which is the importance of leading with your beliefs, and not your service or product, like most organizations do. See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA.
We believe that equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. And that access to information + digital inclusion is one of the best ways towards gender equity. We believe women have the right to the same information, the same opportunities, and the same pay as men. We also believe that women can do so much, with so little, but shouldn’t have to. That is why FYP aims to provide the resources and services that we do.
The value of interns and mission
Thus far, due to a lack of operating budget, I have strictly hired unpaid interns and volunteers. While some people might question the level of commitment and expertise you can gain with a younger, less experienced workforce, I have had the great fortune of drawing really talented and passionate people, willing to work hard for a cause they believe in, and can get behind. People that are bright, capable, and really innovative in their thinking and approach to problem solving. They have also been incredibly diverse, which has been extremely important. If we are serving diverse populations, we should be just as diverse. It does not interest me to surround myself with a team of people who look, act, and think, just like me. I don’t see much value in that.
We are currently up to 12 interns and 2 professional volunteers. Here are some of us taking a break from a career strategy seminar on a gorgeous winter afternoon.
We would love to hear about your organizational culture! What makes it unique? What do you love about it? What makes it feel like the right fit for you (or not)? What do you think needs to be changed? And is change even possible?