It’s been over 4 years that I’ve been working at Informed K12; I started October 2019 and have my last day in December. I have spent the last few months reflecting upon my time, my growth, and my development at Informed K12 and realized that these years have been both personally and professionally some of the biggest changes and challenges of my life.
While nowhere near a comprehensive list, here are just a few of the things that happened in my life over the past couple of years (in no particular order)
- Celebrated friends and family weddings
- Moved once
- Met the person I’m happy to call my partner
- Lived through a pandemic
- Started working with a therapist
- Moved again
- Climbed my first outdoor 11b
- Reconnected with old friends
- Said goodbye to friends moving away
- Moved one more time
- Cried a lot
- Learned how to make tamales
- Lost two grandparents
- Joined a soccer team, the Pink Flamingos (Go Mingos)
- Successfully kept my basil and Jalepeño pepper plants alive
For everyone, these past few years have been filled with joy and loss, anxiety and hope. I’ve changed dramatically since I was a naive 27-year-old starting my first job in tech into a somewhat less naive 31-year-old I will be when I leave Informed K12.
It has been surprising that in these last few weeks, I have been feeling like I am moving away from a good friend when I think about leaving Informed K12. There is a feeling of loss that has been weighing heavily on my heart and is more pronounced as my final day gets closer.
In trying to make sense of these feelings, I realized that the growth I’ve experienced at this company will build the foundation for the rest of my professional career. I’ve realized that this company has been with me through my ups and downs and has moved and shifted along with our ever-changing world. Informed K12 has evolved greatly and me with it.
To try and boil my thoughts down into a few categories I’ve picked out the following that have defined my time at Informed K12.
Focus on Metacognitive (Values Alignment) Skills
Over the past year, we’ve developed and implemented discussions around Metacognitive skills, which are a way that we can incorporate alignment to our Values through our performance conversations. These metacognitive skills assess different types of thinking including your response to feedback, curiosity about learning more about your role and career path, taking accountability and responsibility for different parts of your role, and thinking through problems and coming up with unique, empathetic solutions.
Not only have these skills given us a shared language and understanding of how we approach our work, but they also allow us to assess for traits and attributes outside of metrics. While these skills are still new, they personally have made a huge impact on how I think about my work and as I move on to different places, what time of environment I want to be in. I appreciate that these skills help create a transparent environment where employees and leaders are leading with vulnerability.
Sometimes, I feel like the term “The People” of a company can mean a lot of different things. What I specifically mean is that each person at this company contributes in a large, meaningful way to the growth and success of Informed K12.
The reason this company is so special is because everyone has an impact on the company. Their unique experiences and insights are what are building this company bit by bit. When you speak to different people at this company, you will hear about their passions, the way that they are hungry to grow and hone their skills, and their dedication to serving school districts. Everyone who works at Informed K12 is asked to create things, give feedback on existing processes, and develop new ways of thinking that are uniquely Informed K12. For me, that dedication is what makes the people here different.
It also helps that I can discuss my favorite recipes, enter into a VERY competitive music league, swap horror movie recs, discuss Brittney Spears’ biography and sing Bulletproof by La Roux at karaoke.
Giving a Darn
To use an adage from Bethany Stoltz, at this place, you gotta give a darn. This company and everyone working here cares and cares a lot. Managers are deeply invested and care about their employee’s growth. Employees care about showing up, doing a good job, and challenging their thinking every day. This company cares a lot about the school districts we serve.
By giving a darn, we operate differently. We need to make sure that how we give a darn is the best way to give a darn. We are constantly challenging ourselves, our ideas, and our processes to make them better both internally and externally. There is a sense of pride taken in every action from the little things and task-based work to strategic decision-making. Taken together, we are building a company that is invested in all of the aspects of our work and people.
To close a blog post that is already too long and emotional, I want to say thank you.
Thank you to Ashlee Brooks, without whom I would have never understood the impact, importance, and exciting world of People Operations. You have helped me grow into a person and in a position I never thought I would achieve. I am so grateful to have you as a manager, mentor, and friend.
Thank you to Sarah, Jen and Qian for taking a MAJOR risk hiring me with very little experience and making the huge leap into tech. There were times when I struggled (a lot) and through the hard times, they worked with me, believed in me, and helped me grow.
Thank you to the Operations Team for always pushing me to think in new ways. I love that I’ve been part of a team with different roles and functions. I felt like learning from people with different backgrounds and responsibilities has helped me increase my understanding and empathy of business operations
Thank you to everyone at Informed K12 who constantly pushes me to do better, be better, and give a darn. I am so lucky to be in a position where I feel like I have a relationship with people from across all roles and positions.