Recently, I interviewed Charlie Mayer, the Director of Operations and Investor Relations at Opower, about his personal brand and how having clarity on his brand enabled him to know when he found his professional “home”.
Charlie is a family man, and would describe himself as responsive, hardworking, diligent, generous, and fun. He spent the majority of his career in media and was eager to try something new.
He decided to go back and get his Executive MBA from Georgetown University in 2011 and graduated in 2013. During his time at Georgetown, through his professional network, he discovered Opower. Looking back, these were the 5 signals that made it clear his personal brand aligned with Opower’s brand and why he loves their amazing organic, positively charged (sorry could not help it) culture.
1. You do not have a split personality or brand (aka the Batman syndrome).
You might be wondering what I mean by this. Most people would love to be Batman. However, if we think about it – many times we are someone different during the day at work and when we come home we change out of our “suit” and into our personality at home. This split identity is stressful. Charlie feels much more comfortable in his role at Opower and is able to be himself at home and at work, without having to be someone different. When you walk around Opower, you feel the alignment to Charlie’s brand – Opower is responsive, hardworking, diligent, generous, and fun.
One reason Charlie feels comfortable about being himself is that he feels valued for who he is. The more he expresses himself, the more the company likes him. He has boundaries for when he works at home and the fact that he has a family is respected and appreciated. He can work from home in the morning and hang out with his daughter over breakfast, and be present in the moment. His love for creating videos and remarkable moments in the office include making their on-the-fly videos and kicking off celebrations. This is something that Charlie brings that adds to the collective culture of Opower.
Charlie’s beliefs are valued – previously, being nice was not really part of his toolkit, but at Opower, he realized that nice is important to him and even better, it is important to Opower. You do not have to use a sledgehammer to get things done. He is responsive and nice - answering every email and is living his brand at Opower.
3. There is O-powerment (aka their version of empowerment).
Charlie can take the initiative and make the work environment a better place. He is empowered to implement changes on the micro level, like adding bike racks to the office, upgrading the mom’s space, adding a new soda machine, etc. At the same time he is empowered to hold his colleagues (juniors, peers, and seniors) accountable to the values. If he believes a value like teamwork is being compromised, he can flag it, escalate, and hold members of the team responsible. This cultural empowerment is critical when it comes to having a successful culture. A core part of Charlie’s personal brand is that you should stand up for people because it is the right thing to do. Knowing that this belief is backed every day at Opower is a huge differentiator. Even when Charlie was pursued for hire by other organizations, look how Opower responded...wow.
HOW OPOWER KEEPS ITs PEOPLE...BY SHOWING THEY MATTER
Many companies forget to allow people to learn, not just become experts in their field, but learn new things too and be “stretched”. One of the key things that Opower believes is that you can learn whatever you need to learn to do your job and new responsibilities too. This philosophy and the execution of it keeps you interested and allows you to add value in new ways. Charlie recently took on the Investor Relations role and was told that he might fail at a few things, but they knew he would figure it out and Opower spent months helping him take on this new responsibility. This was all about setting him up to succeed and learn something new that he was interested in at the same time. A winning formula.
5. The Organization has a Macro Impact...a Mission, and it aligns with yours.
Many of us grow up and want to make a difference. Sometimes that impact can be on a small scale or large scale. At Opower, their mission is "To motivate everyone on Earth to save energy." This is a game changing mission. It is much easier to recruit talent at a mission driven organization where the company has declared their purpose and live it in everything they do.
Charlie has clarity on what matters to him and what his impact and purpose is at Opower. He has no doubts about his choice to work there and invest himself in that organization, even when other companies have attempted to hire him, Opower has kept Charlie through their culture, commitment, and fit.