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.
Director of Product Management, formerly Senior Manager
Joined Avant in 2015
What’s it like to work @Avant? We asked Stephen for his take on our culture, and here’s what he said:
1. How would you describe Avant’s culture?
In my seven years here, it’s always been collaborative, focused, and fun. Meaning, we all share a collective vision for Avant that we’re trying to move toward, we understand that we have an impact on people’s financial lives, and we’re having fun while we’re doing it. At the end of the day, there will always be goals and deadlines, and we’ll always have stuff going on in our personal lives, but being too serious takes the joy out of work. Why not have fun and enjoy being collaborative? It’s like our saying from the early days of Avant: we get sh!t done, responsibly.
2. Why are you happy/successful here?
The reason I’ve been here for so long and why I’ve been happy here is that there are always new opportunities, new initiatives, new teams, new parts of the company that you can work on. Seven years ago, I was hired to do one thing, and now I’m doing something that is not even remotely related to that thing. The opportunities shift as our priorities shift over time, which has given me the chance to learn more about the business and different functions as we grow. We’re always solving problems, always making forward progress, always being goal-oriented and results-driven, and in short, the job you have here is basically what you make it. If you see opportunities and you seek them out and make your voice heard, make your ambitions known, then there’s nothing but opportunity at Avant. That’s why I’ve stayed here, and been happy while doing it.
3. What’s your favorite thing about the way your specific job role works?
It’s constantly changing and evolving over time, and there’s always something new to work on. We’re not going to get everything right the first time, but we’ll make the best decision we can based on the information we have and then keep iterating. Being adaptable and collaborative and responsive to what’s happening in the now has been a huge positive for me. And specific to my current role over the past two years, my favorite thing has been working with and getting to know all the great people across the company. Everyone’s collaborating, everyone’s making progress, everyone’s getting sh!t done and moving forward. The people at Avant, we are all good at finding a way to work together successfully.
4. If you had to describe who you are and not mention your work at all, what would you say?
I am a dad to two crazy boys, 3 and 6, so there’s just constant energy and craziness and fighting there. I also watch a lot of movies and TV shows—I typically try to watch all the award-winning movies and shows each year, but my guilty pleasure is anything The Rock is in. Back in the day, a bunch of us created a Slack room called the People’s Room, because The Rock is the People’s Champ. We had these initiation questions if someone wanted to join the group, like “rank all of the Fast and Furious movies in order,” and of course, The Rock ones have to be at the top. And then I also play a fair amount of video games with some friends to stay in touch in this digitally sporadic world. Otherwise I just love to relax and be at home and get some down time when we’re not running around being parent taxis.
5. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut. I was always into space in general. And I’m obviously not an astronaut now, but I studied engineering in college, so I did learn a bunch about the math and physics side of space. The book parts of space!