24 employees tell us why M1 is a 2021 top workplace
We’re excited to be recognized as a Chicago Tribune 2021 Top Workplace!
Since there’s no awards show where our employees can get up and give a speech, we figured we’d give them a blog post. After talking to dozens of team members, we found some common reasons why they love working at M1.
1. People come first culture
People come first at M1, and it’s more than just an idea or a slogan. The People Operations team is intentional about giving employees all they need to feel comfortable and supported. Whether it’s unlimited PTO, employee resource groups, or comprehensive benefits packages, they’re always looking for ways to support people.
Temeeka Glass, Test Engineer: “M1 has shown me so many times that they put their employees first, whether that is by encouraging taking days off (vacation, mental health days, etc.), creating employee resource groups, and having time to participate in events and opportunities related from those as well as making us feel valued not just for big wins, but even for the ones that may seem small! I feel that we are valued as not just employees, but as actual people.”
Lauren Simon, Email Marketing Associate: “After hearing about my friends’ workplace environments I am in awe of the amazing culture at M1. Anytime I feel overwhelmed with a task, I know there are multiple people who will drop what they’re doing to help me. Most of the time, I don’t even have to ask for assistance. After almost every meeting someone above me will reach out offering any support I may need with my share of the work. It’s incredible how much effort my colleagues put into being there for one another. It makes all the difference in the world. I feel like I’ve learned so much from working with them and am so grateful because I know this type of community is not commonly found in the corporate world.”
Myron Hicks, Senior Software Engineer: “Something that sold me on M1 was the value they place on the people who do the work. Being a family of four, almost five, I was amazed at how much the company covered with regards to healthcare costs. For me, that’s a huge factor in choosing a company to work for.”
2. Extreme Ownership
Extreme ownership is one of M1’s core company values. Simply put, it means we think and act like owners. That means we’re responsible for the results to our clients, coworkers, and M1 shareholders.
Genny Ramos, Communications Manager: “You learn early on that you were hired because people saw in you someone who could do the job, bring a different perspective, and test the limits. It’s not uncommon to start running with your ideas on day one—in fact, it’s encouraged. That level of trust, especially as a new hire, is empowering.”
Jason Poon, Client Development Representative: “I was surprised by how much autonomy we are given from day one, while at the same time there is always full support from our direct and larger teams.”
Simon Lam, Director of Engineering: “Throughout my tenure at M1, I’ve had the opportunity to help build M1’s platform from nothing, to work on high-impact work across many domains with incredibly talented people, and to truly feel ownership and pride in everything I’ve done. Simply put, one of the main reasons I love working at M1 so much is that “YOURS TO BUILD” is not just branding but an actual reality for me.”
Tori Pope, Software Engineer II, Internal Tools: “There is a great amount of trust in our working culture – trust in the ownership of our work and in our desire to not only see M1 succeed but each employee individually.”
With a hybrid culture, some employees are fully remote, and some are in the office most days. It’s about figuring out what works best for each employee, not trying to make each employee fit into a structure.
Aldo Lopez, Senior Product Engineer: “As a 100% remote employee and father of an 11-month-old I can’t speak highly enough about flexibility. My team understands that life happens, and I’m grateful that I know I can get my work done and be a father at the same time.”
Gia Zampardo, Communications Coordinator: “Work life balance is a huge priority at M1, far more than any other place I’ve worked. It feels relieving that if I need to take time to focus on my health, mental or physical, I am encouraged to take care of myself. The offered flexibility makes me feel more like a human being than just an employee.”
Eddie Wang, Senior Android Engineer: “It’s always a learning experience with the ever-changing team composition we have here. Our team is dynamic and flexible; things are still changing rapidly, but people are willing to contribute and embrace change for a better workplace.”
4. Exciting and fulfilling work
Another one of M1’s core values is being mission driven. Life is short—everyone should spend their waking hours on something they find meaningful. We believe improving people’s financial wellness improves lives.
Ryan Spradlin, VP, Product Engineering: “Creating a product that people trust, is helpful, and that people enjoy using is the ultimate measure of success. For myself and my team, having a rewarding and fulfilling time doing it is our measure of success.”
Hanane Bouchareb, Director of Operations: “It’s pretty awesome to work at a place where you are a user of the product. It makes putting the customer first (as an actual customer) much simpler. I think that allows us to create a better experience and product because we all have this shared experience.”
Patrick Noonan, Product Engineering Manager: “No day is ever the same – which is one of the reasons why I love working here.”
5. Tight-knit culture, big impact
We’ve grown from around 40 employees to more than 275 employees in 18 months. That means more minds working on projects and a bigger impact. A key along the way has been making sure the same tight-knit culture that existed in M1’s early days remains while we’re able to make a bigger impact than ever before.
Steven Gall, VP of Engineering: “One impact that stands out is the industry adaption of free trading and fractional shares. It was perceived as a novelty when we launched with fractional share trading. Later, when we went free, people thought we were crazy. One of our competitors even went on to say that it was “a desperate move from a late entrant.” For the sake of our customers and all financial services consumers, I’m glad to see that they were categorically wrong. The industry has largely embraced the new model, and it only benefits consumers.”
Monica Barboza, Product Engineer: “In my previous role, the organization had a multitude of teams working on our different projects. At M1, I’m driven by the fact that despite our various roles and responsibilities, we’re all working towards the same goal. Working on such a unified team where my input is highly valued makes my daily work purpose-driven and rewarding.”
Brian Wiggins, Senior Product Manager: “One of the most rewarding aspects of working at M1 Finance is seeing your work directly impact end users who put their trust in our products and services. Nothing is better than seeing the positive impact our daily work has on many families.”
Matt Schutt, Manager Strategy & Operations: “M1’s employee engagement is off the charts compared to other companies I have worked for. It is incredibly motivating, and I believe it boils down to everyone at the company striving towards a common goal: Make it easier for M1 customers to build their personal wealth. Every person can identify with wanting to take control of their financial livelihood and wishing it was more transparent and easier. When you work for a company that is building something that matters to everyone, it’s a much more enjoyable working experience.”
6. Opportunities for career growth
There are very few defined career paths at M1, it’s really yours to build. A lot of the folks who keep M1 moving forward created new roles for themselves where they saw an opportunity.
Ben Olsen, Data Analyst, Invest: “Within my first 2 years of joining M1, my role with the company has changed 3 times. I started in M1’s Operations department, where I was promoted twice as the department was hiring fast and scaling rapidly. During my time in operations, I got hands-on experience working with data and realized it’s something I love. I have since moved over to M1’s Analytics team, where I now get to work with data full time. Every single person here is super supportive of your career progress and growth. Management wants you to succeed and they fully support the ability for employees to learn new skills, explore new interests and find your calling as a professional.”
Caitlin Sutherland, Learning and Development Coordinator: “At M1, career growth isn’t just a buzzword that managers talk about as a quick incentive to drive hard work. We’re expected to work hard but we’re rewarded with opportunities that I’ve never seen at other organizations. Before M1, I was at an impasse in my career. Now, I am pursuing a career in learning and development that I am truly passionate about and inspired by.”
Joshua Stramaglia, Fraud Team Lead: “Career growth is a direct parallel to the growth of M1 – new opportunities present themselves frequently! Over the past year, I accomplished multiple career milestones/promotions at M1:
- Brought on full-time after an internship at M1
- A career path switch from Operations to the Fraud Department
- A promotion to a Fraud Team Lead
The possibilities for career growth at M1 are boundless!”
A lot of companies preach transparency, so how does it take shape at M1? Top-down honesty about what is happening at M1. This starts with company-wide access to information surrounding the platform. Also, the presentations that our senior leadership team gives to the board of directors are shared with all employees at M1.
Holden Price, Marketing Data Analyst: “We have something called Demo Day every month at M1, during which many of our teams share what they’ve accomplished over the past month and what the rest of the company can look forward to in the future. It’s one of my favorite traditions, simply because it gives me the chance to see all the amazing work being done by everyone. Our culture is fueled by incredibly smart, incredibly kind people. Together, we’ve created the kind of work environment that motivates all of us to deliver in ways other organizations simply couldn’t.”
Julie Lee, Client Success Lead: “The transparency provided by senior management makes me feel valuable and secure in my role.”
Alexis Yezbick, Product Manager, Internal Tools: “I really appreciate the transparency displayed by our leadership team during things like Demo Days and planning sessions. It helps me connect my work to the overall progress and goals of the company and see the work being done by teams across the organization.”
Ilan Kreimont, Senior Product Manager: “I love that our Demo Days give employees an opportunity to see what other people at the company are working on. It gives me transparency on the progress we are making in other parts of the organization and how it contributes to M1’s overall success.”
Making M1 a top workplace for years to come
We’ve had fun celebrating the honor of being recognized as a Chicago Tribune 2021 Top Workplace. Everyone at M1 received a little bonus to buy a beverage to toast to this during our monthly Demo Day.
While we celebrate, we’re not only taking the steps to maintain what our employees love about M1, but we’re also taking steps to make improvements where needed. Thanks for being a part of our community, this journey wouldn’t be possible without you!
And if you’re looking for a purpose-driven career at a company that puts its people first, we’re hiring across all departments. Come join us on our mission to simplify personal finance and have some fun along the way.
*Testimonials may not be representative of the experience of others.
- Team and Culture