What is your best advice to solve the biggest problem in your industry?
Break it down into smaller parts, and solve one piece of the problem. I’ve been working at tech startups for seven years now, and one thing I’ve learned is not to “boil the ocean,” taking on too much at once. Big problems are big for a reason. Justworks helps growing businesses with payroll, HR compliance and health benefits – – even that is a lot to take on. We get tons of requests from solopreneurs and 1099s for help with affordable benefits. This is a HUGE problem in and of itself, but one that Justworks simply cannot take on right now. Justworks focuses on white collar companies with between 6 and 100 employees. That niche is still a massive problem and massive opportunity.
What has been the weirdest/most memorable experience you’ve had working within the government contracting community?
The funny thing is, I’m from Arlington, Virginia (and went to Yorktown High School – go Patriots!) My whole family is government contractors, including my Dad. I never really understood this complex and crazy world as a kid. And now, I’m learning as an adult living in NYC – – kind of ironic. I remember when Justworks was first entering the DC market back in 2016. I figured – I’m from there, this will be easy! We soon realized that government contractors had much different HR needs than other small businesses. We started focusing more on compliance for government contractors, and creating content specifically for them, like this article on Which Government Regulations Apply to You. I’m still learning how government contractors make purchasing decisions and who their trusted advisors are.
What is your “hot take” on a current industry’s trending topic?
Seeing women rise to leadership positions in finance and technology is an issue near and dear to my heart, and spurred me to take a founding role in an international organization called Parity Partners. Being an HR company, Justworks also thinks a lot about diversity and inclusion as a company. We have a volunteer task force called “D + I” that holds regular meetings in the office, and an owned event called Justwomen that we host in cities across the U.S. (we hosted it in D.C. in 2017). The birth of Justwomen pre-dated the “Me-Too” movement and won the Diversity in Tech award in 2017. My take on the gender parity issue is that we need to include men in the dialogue, and hear their thoughts on a solution. Women-only discussions turn into an echo chamber and are only half of the equation. Justwomen proactively included men on the panel for the first time recently – – it was an incredibly thought-provoking and, at times, tense dialogue. But these difficult conversations between the sexes need to happen to effect change.
Where do you see yourself/your company in 5 years?
Justworks was just chosen by Deloitte as the #2 Fastest Growing Technology Company in North America. Five years is an eternity at our pace. Perhaps we’ll be a public company by then! Either way, we will certainly be a household name in the U.S. for growing companies who want to take care of their employees.