2019 is shaping up to be a big chapter in the exaqueo story. As our client work grows and extends even more globally, our business and team is (once again) growing. This month, we’re thrilled to welcome another new team member to #teamexaqueo!
Join us in welcoming Erin DeGroot, #teamexaqueo’s newest Employer Brand Strategist. In this role, Erin will join our team of Employer Brand Strategists in helping our clients build their employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them. Erin comes to us from Schreiber Foods, where she spent 10 years in roles such as market insights manager, brand manager, and company branding manager.
As Erin’s “exaqueo buddy,” it’s my pleasure to welcome her and provide guidance and support as she moves through her onboarding process. I’m excited to be partnering with her and showing her the unique ways in which we work here at exaqueo!
Erin is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and I’m just outside of Princeton, New Jersey, so we caught up on the phone last week to discuss her experience and learn more about her life outside of work. Since our team is 100% virtual, we’re used to connecting through our virtual office space from across the country.
What about exaqueo attracted you the most and made you want to come work as part of the team?
Primarily, it was the process by which the company uncovers employer brand. What’s so important to me is thinking about how employees look at their lives both inside and outside of work—whole self, together instead of separated. In my past experience, we hadn’t asked, “How does your family life impact your work?” How exaqueo thought about people as a whole was great. The entire team is incredibly smart, connected, and close; helping each other learn.
In your previous role with Schreiber Foods, you worked in the office every day. How has the transition been working 100% remote with a completely virtual team?
I was looking forward to it and ready for it. In the beginning of my career, I worked from home right out of college and it was more of an adjustment. Then, I went to work in an office as a contractor where I was in an office but not part of that team and my own teammates weren’t around me. That was alienating. With exaqueo, I’m surprised at how connected I feel to the team already, even though I haven’t met most of them in-person. In our virtual Sococo office, which is really cool, I still feel like I can see people and can pop in and chat with them. There is a feeling of connection and people have made an effort to check-in which has been really meaningful. I’m so much more efficient working with exaqueo. Having that balance of face-to-face time with family and efficiency of work is what I was looking for.
What impact do you hope to make at exaqueo—what do you hope to learn?
One of the things that has been a revelation in my career is that, as I’ve been doing employer brand work, there’s a lot of focus on leaders and we don’t take the time to understand what production partners truly value. and what is important to them. I became an advocate for those partners and I hope to bring that to the work for our clients. I look forward to having a deeper understanding of the research and the different ways we go about listening to employees and hearing what they have to say so we can translate that to leadership. I also look forward to contributing as a consultant. I was listening to a podcast about using consultants outside your business and the host said, “You can’t read the label from inside the jar.” You have biases whether you’re aware or not and having a third-party perspective can be helpful to moving forward.
What excites you or are you most curious about when it comes to moving from an in-house role to a consulting role, where you’re managing multiple client engagements in varying industries?
The opportunity to work in different industries. I’ve had the chance to work in different roles within a production environment. It will be interesting to work with companies in hospitality, food service, and all the different spaces where you can then compare and contrast experiences. People ultimately, at the heart, want similar things but they have different goals and passions. This is a chance to look across different spaces and see how it’s similar and different. I’ve worked in sales, marketing, supply chain, distribution, and project management. When you bring it all together it gives you a well-rounded perspective and I’m excited for the experience of learning across business types. I think it will be fascinating.
What energizes you in your professional life and in your personal life?
I’m trying to live my life with the mindset of abundance and not sacrificing things that matter to me, personally and professionally. I’ve spent some time evaluating my values and what matters to me and have focused on spending time on those things instead of getting caught up in the things people expect us to do. In my soul searching, my family, relationships, and faith are so important to me and being present in things, not living in the past. Speaking professionally, this is why I’ve chosen exaqueo. I wanted to continue to be challenged and grow. I’ve chosen to do things that fill me up—I’m made for so much more—and I try to be an example to my kids that it’s okay to make changes and to continue to grow. You don’t have to settle. Strive for more of what matters to you and continue to pursue your passions.
How do you think those you’re closest with in your life would describe you?
I’m the helper. I’m always looking to make sure people have everything they need and that they’re comfortable. I try to be present for them if they need me and always try to be supportive. People feel like they can count on me. I’m also the organizer and planner of things and a huge Chip and Joanna Gaines fan! Interior decorating is a passion and I’ve designed friends’ houses and offices. I went to Waco, TX, two years ago and I’m going back in October with my mother and daughter: three generations, together.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
My kids. I’m in this season of life and I relish every minute of it. My daughter plays soccer and my son plays soccer and football. We’re very busy with sports. We also have a cottage on a lake about an hour north of our home. It’s very quiet on the water, and I enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, and being with family. I love to read when I get a chance to sit down and have some quiet. I could go through a book every couple days and traveling with exaqueo provides me with lots of book reading time! This is the heart of why I made the switch to exaqueo. Knowing what matters to me, I want to be able to help other people find that in their work.