Every unique and talented Avantee is a co-creator of the Avant culture we love. We hope the @Avant series helps you get to know who we are, how we do what we do, and what it looks like to build your career at Avant.
Formerly Product & Growth Associate, now Senior Associate (as of 2023), for the Credit Card team
Joined Avant in 2019
What’s it like to work @Avant? We asked Song for his take on our culture, and here’s what he said:
1. How would you describe Avant’s culture?
Everything moves fast here, and as we grow, we’re constantly trying new things and building new processes. That means that sometimes, we make mistakes—we’re not superheroes! And what most surprises me every time I make a mistake is the way my team focuses on solving the problem and learning from it, not blaming for what went wrong. We hold each other accountable, of course, but we don’t waste time shaming or pointing fingers. It’s that tolerance of the learning process that gives me the courage and confidence to take on something new.
2. Why are you happy/successful here?
I have always been eager to learn new skills. I take pride in my ability to acquire knowledge in many different areas, from sciences to humanities, and apply it to my own work. When I started at Avant, I was so happy to discover that my broad knowledge base enabled me to try everything I wanted to try here. I’ve been able to work across different teams, help out with so many different initiatives, and learn a ton. When I’m ready for something new, there’s always something for me to pick up—and even if I’m not quite ready, Avant challenges me to get out of my comfort zone. This company allows me to do anything I want using everything I learn, and that is a perfect match.
3. How is who you are and your identity welcomed and included at Avant?
Two things made me choose this question in particular.
First, I’m a foreigner of Asian nationality, and during Covid, #StopAsianHate has been one of the most widely discussed topics in society due to the increase in hate crimes toward people with Asian background. With all the news of attacks, I was pretty terrified to go out for a while. Avant really picked up the issue and started a conversation within the company about how we address discrimination against the Asian community. That was great, but I did notice that the first company email on the topic used the term “Asian-American.” While it was used in a well-intentioned way, I and many other Asian Avantees don’t actually fit under the umbrella of “Asian-American”! No one else wanted to speak up about it, so I decided to share what I was thinking at the company’s Community Conversation on #StopAsianHate.
I was really happy to see that my concern was quickly recognized by the leadership team and then addressed at a Town Hall as well. That told me that Avant not only wants to stand up for this community, but also listens to a voice from within the community to make sure that we’re respecting everyone. Avant follows through on their good intentions with real support, and it gives me the stage to step up and press for a solution when I think something’s not right.
The second point is about the LGBTQ+ community, and I’m gay so I’m a part of it. I care a lot about how any company I’d work for protects this community, and I am cognizant of everything that Avant does for us. For example, the impressive education efforts on topics like non-binary gender, different orientations, adding your pronouns to Slack and email, and what “queer” means really makes these topics approachable for people who may be totally new to them.
Avant doesn’t just do the Corporate America thing of putting up the rainbow logo during Pride Month (and, by the way, the rainbow Avant logo looks really good), it actually cultivates awareness around the entire organization and shows how they care about these communities. It’s not just that Avant supports different identities, we celebrate them. These things make a difference, get people to pay attention, and help ensure the rights of our community.
4. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor. All the other kids hated going to the doctor, but I loved it. I just think it’s a fabulous job. You can literally stop people’s pain by asking them questions and figuring out what’s going on. I even asked my parents to buy me a medical school textbook—thousands of pages about medicine, and I really read it. My goal when I started my education was to do pre-med and medical school, but it didn’t really work out because I was allergic to all of those chemicals in the lab! But I still have a strong interest in understanding people, how they behave, how they interact, how society operates.
If you think about it, it’s very analytical work. Doctors gather information, analyze it, and produce a solution, and that’s the model I use today. The intention behind my whole career trajectory is to use my knowledge about people’s behaviors to create value for customers and grow the business.