I was dreaming about Aha! long before I knew it existed. Let me explain. It was a cold night in December 2014. I was at a cookie party — you know the kind, where you bake dozens of treats and swap with other guests. I was in the kitchen chatting with a childhood friend of the hostess. We were talking about her job as well as mine.
She had just joined the digital team at a research hospital. I was the content director at a leading marketing agency, where I developed large-scale programs for our roster of Fortune 500 clients. My work had nothing to do with healthcare. And yet, I peppered her with questions about the software solutions she was exploring. “Wow,” she said. “You seem passionate about these tools. Maybe you should work at one!”
I laughed in agreement — finding ways to help teams get more done was top of mind. At the agency, I built up the first (and only) fully-distributed creative team and brought in a suite of SaaS tools to help us stay in sync. We were incredibly tight-knit despite the distance, thanks to a healthy dose of emojis and video chats.
I loved our team. I was proud of our supportive dynamic. And yes, we were meeting client goals. But were we making a positive impact in people’s lives? Was this my best work?
It was a familiar feeling. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to develop social and content programs for major brands — Nike, Trulia, Morton’s Hotel Group. As a writer and editor, my work has appeared in outlets such as The Boston Globe, Nowness, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. I even wrote a book. I had seemingly done a lot of things well. Yet I knew I had not been pushed to my potential.
Around the time I was pondering these big questions, I saw an Aha! job posting on LinkedIn. It wasn’t the job title that caught my eye, but the accompanying text: “Work from anywhere, be happy!”
Curiosity got me to click — what I learned about the Aha! culture pulled at something deep within me.
I first spoke to the leader of marketing, Keith Brown. I readied myself for a formal interview. What I got instead was a lively chat about content trends, remote teams, creativity, and dogs. (Yes, dogs.) After I hung up, I realized I had been smiling the entire time. Refreshing calls with other Aha! team leads followed.
But why was this the company I wanted to join? What would be different? By the time I reached the end of the interview process and chatted with co-founder and CEO Brian de Haaff, I knew the answer. I had poured myself into past jobs. But that hard work was not always valued.
I wanted the chance to realize my potential with a team that was truly invested in each other’s success.
Aha! is a learning organization. So when I joined, I immediately dove into the comprehensive onboarding program. Every Aha! goes through this process, which culminates in a live customer demo. Soon after I was helping manage content and driving special marketing projects. And I had the pleasure of meeting with the entire team in person at my first Aha! onsite — twice a year, everyone gets together in a destination travel location.
At the Aha! onsites, we talk about our progress and goals, catch up over dinner, and share our gratitude for this incredible team. The positive impact we make on each other and our customers is evident.
I skipped the cookie party in 2015. But I went back this year. (My husband and I made a batch of macadamia nut and white chocolate chip.) And I saw that same woman, the one from the hospital. I asked her about her job and she said it was tough work, but that she was learning a lot. What about me?
I told her that I had left the marketing agency and joined Aha! — that I am learning a lot too. And that I am happier than I have ever been in my career.
That’s why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.