Back in January 2016, Bus.com had yet to raise its first round, and our sales department was only just starting to grow. It’s at that time that a scraggly-haired American joined the team, and would forever impact the traditions and memories that make up the Bus.com story.
While it can be challenging to take the time to nurture positive working culture while grinding hard and striving for rapid growth, a startup’s early days are critical for establishing a positive and infectious company culture. As a natural leader and enthusiastic team-player, Austin showed the rest of our team how one employee can have a lasting impact on a company’s culture:
Having an entrepreneurial mindset
One of the reasons behind Bus.com’s success is that each and every employee has the drive to act like an owner, and turn ideas into actions. No one understood this better than Austin, and until his very last day at the office, he participated in every brainstorm, was the most persistent at flagging bugs in our processes (just ask any of our developers or product managers). As an Account Manager in our Sales Team, Austin mainly focused on our repeat business. But, that didn’t stop him from caring about the customer’s entire journey, and contributing ideas and feedback for each and every part of our organization.
Advocating for the customer
While thinking in a customer-first way is at the heart of Bus.com’s values, there are always parts of the business that can lose sight of the people we service. Austin’s attentiveness to his customer’s needs went beyond the effort it takes to close a deal. He spent time talking to his clients, understanding their requirements, and became a vocal advocate for them. He showed us the importance of talking to customers, and keeping them in mind at all times.
Making time for office play
No one was ever meant to sit at a desk all day, least of all Austin. He always was out and about, whether that was riding his bike or coaxing one of his colleagues into playing a game of hacky sack in the office lobby. No matter who was sitting on the couch near the front door, the game would go on, and we were grateful for the reminder to look up from our computer, and take a break from the grind.
Encouraging healthy habits
At Bus.com, we have a special shelf in our giant fridge just for beer, and we do enjoy a cold one in the office every now and then (especially if it’s from Beau’s Brewery!) But, our leadership has always had a vision of a company where startup life and social interactions were centred around common interests rather than after-hour boozing. The Run Club that Austin spearheaded encouraged everyone from advanced endurance athletes to hesitant beginners, to head outside for a weekly run. Sweating it out together is a great way to bond, cheer each other on, and to manage stress in a healthy way.
For a kid who grew up in New Jersey with a strong hockey background and a desire to explore and enjoy life to the fullest, Montreal was an easy transition. Although Austin is still not officially Canadian (sorry bud, hope it comes soon!) he has brought something to Bus.com’s office that will never fade. And I’m not talking about his beanbag chair – which we are keeping, by the way. What I’m talking about is the day of the week that brings joy to everyone in the office every single week of every single month, the day known to us all as Canada Friday!
The concept is very simple. Be kind, wear the colours of the Canadian flag, enjoy Canadian snacks and beverages, and embrace the fact that we live in this insanely awesome country.
It’s been 28 months since Austin joined the Bus.com sales and customer service team. At the time, they were a scrappy group of 6, grinding hard to move our company towards success. Today, the team has more than doubled, and each and every one of its members has learnt from Austin’s enthusiasm and dedication. As he leaves us for a new adventure, we’re grateful that his continual efforts to bring people together with traditions and good times has marked the passing of time here at Bus.com, and reminds us how much we’ve all grown as a company and as a team.
Want to at a company where your passion and enthusiasm can make a difference? Our team is still growing! Check out our Careers page and see if there is an opportunity for you.