Here at the IvyTek blog we usually focus on the features and benefits of loan management software and trends in the lending industry and fintech world. This month, we’re doing something a little different. We’re going to focus on the people behind the services we provide.
In late 2021 the IvyTek team gathered for an in-person retreat, coupled with a Salesforce user group event, Florida Dreamin’. The event, held in Florida where our remote team gathered together, kicked off with an Iron Chef competition, where two teams of IvyTek chefs – clad in aprons emblazoned with the company logo – vied to create the best chicken dish.
While a little friendly competition was on the menu, the overall goal of the retreat was to continue to build camaraderie and cohesivity among a diverse team of employees who work 100% remotely.
Embodying Core Values in the Day-to-Day
After the intense Iron Chef cook-off, the team sat down to enjoy their “home-cooked” meal together before diving into business. During the post-dinner meeting — which was also available via Zoom for employees not on-site — CEO Michael (Mike) Griggs explained how the IvyTek staff puts the company’s core values into action every day.
Creating solutions is more than having skilled developers and financial services experts on your side. That’s why IvyTek takes such great pride in getting to know its clients.
“It’s not just the lending part we need to know,” explains Mike. “We need to know why they’re lending, what they do, and what projects they’re working on. That helps us as developers figure out how to add an extra personal touch into that loan management software.”
This is especially true for mission-driven lenders, like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).
Quality Custom Software
That personal service leads naturally to another core value: building quality custom loan management software. Sandy Griggs, Director of Client Services, adds that although the company has grown and evolved over its more than two decades in the lending software space, it’s still fundamentally the same.
“It’s about quality software, professionalism, hard work — and working this business like it’s your own,” she said. “When you come to work, you don’t want it to feel like a chore. You want it to feel like home, feel like it’s a place to be.”
Mike adds that it’s vital for any employee, anywhere, to be proud of what they’re producing, and what their company is producing. That’s why IvyTek’s core values include keeping standards high: Delivering quality work contributes significantly to our company culture.
IvyTek provides end-to-end lending management solutions to various markets, from education and retail to community development organizations. Mike explains that a keen understanding of each market’s specific needs allows IvyTek to deliver software solutions that are priced fairly and appropriately.
Mike adds that by knowing our markets and clients well, including how they work with their customers, we can do a better job at managing and meeting the expectations of their custom lending solution. Again, this harkens back to the personal service core value.
A Team Approach to Growth
The embodiment of company values into everyday tasks, big and small, helps strengthen the organization.
During the November team-building event, Mike referenced a comment Karen Wheeler once made during a one-on-one meeting: “Teamwork is not just a bullet we put on a PowerPoint slide during a sales demo,” she’d said.
A company culture built on teamwork is a differentiator for our clients when evaluating potential fintech partners.
“The teamwork part of that is how we build great software. It’s how we ask each other questions, it’s how we don’t stay stuck,” Mike explains. “That teamwork helps us build quality custom software.”
But teamwork is more than just being a good collaborator on tasks and projects; it’s also about learning from one another. For example, asking for help at work isn’t always easy; however, the culture at IvyTek encourages its employees to support one another.
“I want us to continually do that: to be humble, to ask questions, to learn,” says Mike. “When we do that, it makes it all work.”
The helpful spirit also goes a long way in making new team members feel welcome. Rupinder chimed in during the team-building meeting to share how she’d had an offer at a larger company but was grateful she joined the IvyTek team as a Salesforce Administrator.
“The environment here, the support I’m getting… I’m really, really thankful I am here,” she said, adding that she enjoys her work and colleagues. “I told my husband I’m glad I didn’t join the other organization!”
Another then-new staff member chimed in. Chelsea Estbanez had lost not one, but two, previous jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In her role as Customer Success Manager, she interacts with colleagues across the company.
“I’m so glad I found IvyTek,” she said, and then she addressed her co-workers around the table (and on Zoom). “I have a toe in each of your areas, and you are all so quick to fill me in. I think the amount of teamwork and support behind us is great.”
Teamwork. Professionalism. Transparency. Efficiency. Productivity. These and other distinguishing characteristics of IvyTek’s services can be attributed to keeping our core values in mind as we work independently, alongside each other, and with our clients.
Towards the meeting’s close, Mike referred back to why personal service matters, especially in mission-driven organizations like CDFIs.
“Everyone wants to make the world a better place, and that can seem like a David and Goliath task, but it doesn’t have to be when you do a little at a time,” Mike said. “Providing quality custom software helps our clients do their job better… and that extends well beyond our clients.”
Can IvyTek help your organization better serve your clients and communities? Contact us today.