When I think about the three years I have spent at Boldr, I think about three words: curious, dynamic, and authentic. Three simple words whose meaning has evolved far past their definition to me. On paper, we all know what these words mean, but until you get the opportunity to live them, to be with other people who embody them, they become more than mere words. At Boldr, these words empower people to learn, to change, and grow into themselves.
Here’s what being Curious, Dynamic, and Authentic truly stands for.
Curious: Eager to know or learn something
Year one at Boldr was a learning experience – and I don’t just mean in my career. It was an eye-opening time in my life – I had the opportunity to experience my dream of living and traveling abroad, spending the majority of my first year at Boldr in the Manila office.
Now, of course, I had to learn my role as a new Client Success Coordinator, understand the industry of outsourcing, and dive headfirst into the fire of a start-up impact-driven company, but my curiosity didn’t stop growing there. I wanted to know how we really impacted the lives of people. I strived to grasp how David’s dream of turning the outsourcing industry on its head by changing the very nature of an exploitative industry into an empowering force could enact tangible change in the lives of those in developing nations.
In my daily tasks, we worked hard every day to ensure our Clients were happy with our service and growing our client portfolio. However, unlike other by-the-book companies (who I assume were more worried about the bottom line), growth here did not just mean another drop in the proverbial bucket. Growth meant that another person was hired, paid a living wage, and therefore was able to support his or her family, and work in an environment that fostered their development as an individual. Working every day with team members from the Philippines who shared a radically different experience than I had growing up in the United States, whose world lens taught me to look deeper, think differently, ask questions, and understand before forming an opinion, took my curiosity even further.
One day, I found myself signing up for an impact mission, with no idea of how eye-opening it would be. A Boldr team member and I went to the Kilometer Zero Albay Tribal Mission, joining a group of about fifteen 20-something-year-olds on a 12-hour journey south, vans packed full of household and school supplies. Pulling into the community of government housing nestled in the foothills of an active volcano, I was confronted with a reality most choose to skim over. Families living in small one-bedroom homes, with little to no electricity, access to clean water, or even the opportunity to find work. Handing out goods alongside my peers, I discovered that even with a language barrier, you can still connect with people through empathy, kindness, and most importantly, an open mind. In the days that followed, and even now, I am more curious (and critical) than ever of the oppression systems set in place, perpetuating poverty. I returned to Boldr with a renewed sense of understanding about what being part of an impact-driven community really means. I came back with a secure grasp of the importance of giving back.
Dynamic: characterized by constant change, activity, or progress
Fast forward to year two at Boldr, one that can only be embodied by the word Dynamic. In February 2020, I found myself on a flight home to the United States amidst the birth of a global pandemic that would affect every single human being on Earth. Only days after supporting one of our largest seasonal customer support ramps, after coming down with some mysterious illness and recovering, I returned home to a world turned upside down. Less than a week later, the Manila airport was closed, international travel screeched to a halt, and it became clear that the see-you-soons I shared with my friends and the community back in Manila were going to be not-so-soons after all. A situation nobody could have predicted.
Boldr deftly made sure we stayed true to our values amidst the utter chaos inflicted upon the world. While we faced ever-changing government mandates, Boldr doubled down on its commitment, prioritizing the team members’ health and safety, as well as ensuring service continuity for its clients (in that order). As a new Client Success Manager, my role was no longer to focus on my Clients’ satisfaction, but to check in on the well-being of the team members I interacted with on a daily basis. Boldr advocated and cared for team members who needed time off to recover from COVID, who needed to tend to sick family members and even anyone who just needed a breather to digest the fact that the world as we knew it had stopped.
During this time of change and uncertainty, Boldr let our values anchor us through the storm. And, amazingly, we grew. Adapting to the change of a rapidly growing team while refining our remote infrastructure meant undertaking new challenges, stepping out of our comfort zones, and leaving the confinements of our job descriptions to keep the boat sailing. It was quite literally, all hands on deck – remotely, of course!
If I had to pick a favorite Boldr value, it would have to be the only one I could think of to describe the past year: authenticity. In this, the third year at Boldr, I have felt more like myself than I ever have in my 26 years of life. This is partly due to the company’s efforts to emphasize mental health. While we usually always hear the words “mental health awareness”, Boldr and its leadership, don’t just stop there. Awareness doesn’t cut it. David and Mari have been steadfast in their advocacy for mental health, giving all team members access to mental health support, creating time and space in meetings to breathe, connect, and be mindful, and providing circles where we can gather to support anyone in the face of a crisis or tragedy, and even through meditation clubs and courses on stress and anxiety management. This unwavering support is what empowered me to seek help for my own and change my life as I knew it.
When I show up to work, I am excited to be 100% human, 100% me. To me, this means advocating for myself and others, encouraging team members to seek support when they need it, and prioritizing my health and wellness. When everyone is asked to do this, it creates waves. There is beauty in this because those waves create opportunities for growth, challenges to address, and the ability to lean into our strengths and to learn from one another. But don’t misunderstand me – I don’t mean to paint this rosy picture where you end up thinking that each and every day is filled with rainbows and bliss. Change can be hard to deal with. We live in a world where we’re taught to keep a mask up, to not make waves, to fit in. When encouraged to be authentic, a clash of personalities is bound to ensue – and Boldr is no exception. But the leadership fosters an environment of trust where truth and values win out, allowing each individual to hold space for themselves and their team members. By leaning into our authentic selves, these differences help us become stronger.
Today, the world is finally spinning again. And me being an avid explorer, I can’t wait to sit down in relative comfort on the coach seat of my favorite airline. To all those who look forward to (safe) travels, I’m confident you will all understand this analogy: put your own mask on first before helping your neighbor. Boldr’s support of work-life balance and its strong devotion to mental health advocacy allows Boldrianians to put on their masks first. Because we’re encouraged to prioritize ourselves, I see team members who are able to take on more, who are excited and happy about the work they do and the lives they lead outside of the virtual company walls. I see Boldrianians being authentically themselves.
What The Future Holds For These Values (& For Myself)
As I look forward to my fourth year at Boldr, I imagine many more opportunities where I will be inspired to research more and be a tad more curious. Where the challenges to be dynamic and think quickly on my feet will be abundant. And where I get to show up, authentically me, for the people in my life, for my Clients, for my team, and most importantly, for myself.
In the words of Dayananda Saraswati, “A value is valuable when the value of value is valuable to oneself.” These values are valuable to me because I’ve found meaning for them in what I do for myself and for my work every single day.