Spotlight on Employee #1: Stephanie Van Lue

9/18/2017 – Culture Spark takes a moment to spotlight Stephanie Van Lue, Employee #1. Stephanie started with Culture Spark on November 17, 2015 only two months after its inception. Here are some reflections from Stephanie on what it means to be a start-up’s Employee #1.

What does it mean to be Culture Spark’s Employee #1?

“It enabled me to be on the “ground floor” of a start up, which is very exciting. It requires looking at past positions I’ve had and asking, “what did I like or not like, and how can I make this position better?”

It takes a certain amount of creativity not needed in other jobs to figure out how to design a program or present it to a client. It’s a wonderful way of looking at processes and documents—rather than asking, “what should I be doing” I am able to ask “how do I want to do this.” Designing a project from scratch can, at times, be daunting, but it allows me to feel greater personal success when the final product was better than I ever could have imagined when I started the project!”

What do you enjoy most about working for Culture Spark?

“I enjoy the autonomy Sheryl affords me to do my best work, which is grounded in mutual respect and trust that I will deliver a high-quality product. To be trusted at that level is amazingly uplifting and grounding at the same time. Everyone wants to be trusted at that level, and to realize the responsibility that is being placed upon you is tremendous.

“I also genuinely enjoy the clients I work with. Sheryl takes great care in deciding which companies she will work with, and that translates into working with some really great people. We’re working with companies that are truly interested in improving their business, not simply paying lip service to it. Our clients know Culture Spark truly wants to help their businesses grow and thrive.’

What is your favorite CS moment/client story?

“My favorite moment thus far was during a 2-week, 9-module leadership training series we delivered for a client. There was a moment in one of the last trainings of the series, we were discussing a difficult employee situation, and one of the participants suddenly sat up straight and said, “wait, I know!” He then proceeded to address the situation citing examples from 3 of the prior training sessions we had conducted. It was a great moment, because you could see it all coming together for him. He understood there is no “one size fits all” solution to employee issues. The solutions are as different as each employee, yet he understood that he had been equipped with all these new tools and tactics to best address the employee.”

Why would you (or someone else) want to join Culture Spark?

“Culture Spark takes a high level view of the HR function by asking, ‘how can we transform our clients’ businesses?’ Culture Spark enables the HR Professional to really develop skills at a higher level that so many of us want to, but are often unable to because we get bogged down in the daily tactical stuff. That doesn’t mean that stuff doesn’t occur—it does, but is not the focus of our work. The focus is higher level cultural and leadership programs that really require digging in, testing and growing your knowledge.

Sheryl is also great to work for. She is truly supportive. She wants you to have the tools you need to succeed, but also works to intentionally challenge you. She wants to stretch and grow her employees, but doesn’t take issue if you are truly feeling overwhelmed. She will help you walk through your thoughts on how to move forward when you get stuck, yet gives you the freedom to create your own product. She expects her employees to look at things with a critical eye and say, “is this the best representation of Culture Spark” or “is this the best way to present this to a client,” which she knows is not always her way. Sheryl expects greatness, and conveys that expectation in such a positive and gentle way that it inspires her employees to believe they are capable of greatness.”

That’s our spark, what’s yours?