How This TrueML Leader Relies on Ownership and Impact to Foster a Mission-Driven Team Culture

Director of Compliance and Audit Tara Hey ensures every member of the team feels like they have ‘a stake in the game’ of TrueML’s mission: restoring hope and financial stability for those who lost them.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Feb. 26, 2024
How This TrueML Leader Relies on Ownership and Impact to Foster a Mission-Driven Team Culture
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When thinking of work-life balance, many people focus on the “life” aspect. They imagine logging off early on a Friday afternoon or having time to pick their children up from school. But what about the “work” element?

For Tara Hey, work-life balance isn’t just about what goes on at home. 

“This is my work-life balance: working for and with a group of people who value my thoughts and opinions and feeling like I’m a part of something that’s making a difference — and I own a piece of making that happen,” explained the director of compliance and audit at TrueML. “I feel I get this and so much more at TrueML.”

This feeling of ownership and impact defines Hey’s relationship with her work — and her leadership vision. Through fostering a focus on experimentation and adaptation, she strives to ensure everyone feels like they’ve earned their seat at the table. 

“I want everyone to feel like a valued member and have a stake in the game, regardless of their role,” Hey said. 

So how does Hey bring this sense of value to life? She said that the key is to build a team culture grounded in respect, understanding and growth. By enabling team members to come together to learn new skills, celebrate each other’s achievements and seek out career development opportunities, she strives to give others the same sense of fulfillment that guides her work every day. 

While ensuring everyone on Hey’s team feels empowered is important from a cultural standpoint, it’s also critical from a business perspective. The work they accomplish directly bolsters the company’s mission, which is “to restore hope and financial stability for those who lost them.” 

“Our team in legal, audit and compliance is centered on ensuring we do this not only in the most compliant way, but also in the most consumer-friendly way,” Hey said. “We’re engaged with every function within our business as a partner to ensure we remain focused on doing what’s best for our consumers.” 

Below, Hey shares more about her leadership vision, how she helps team members achieve their professional goals and her approach to building a mission-driven team culture. 



TrueML is a fintech company with a family of subsidiaries, all focused on revolutionizing the experience of consumers seeking financial health. One subsidiary, TrueAccord, is a software platform that leverages machine learning to help businesses optimize their debt-collection initiatives — enabling organizations to engage with consumers at the right time, place and channel. 


TrueML team members volunteering at Giving the Basics in Kansas City.


What’s your vision for leading your team?

Tara Hey
Director of Compliance and Audit • TrueML

I try to instill in my team that they own the process. I want them to be able to explore new ideas and take ownership of their work without being afraid that something isn’t going to work out as expected. Changing and adapting things is how we learn and build the best product not only for ourselves, but for our business partners. 

I want my team to be proud of the work they’re producing. I don’t want anyone to ever feel they cannot offer up a new idea or propose change. There’s an open and safe space to speak freely about ideas, the way things are currently working and anything else. 


“I don’t want anyone to ever feel they cannot offer up a new idea or propose change.”


How do you help your team members achieve their professional goals?

When an employee expresses interest in a particular area, I work to identify the best training, conference or other tools that will help them grow in that area. Additionally, when I’m able to help work with them in a particular area, I give them the hands-on, individual time they need to support them. 



According to Hey, TrueML’s leadership team makes it easy to cultivate a mission-driven culture by continuously encouraging employees to embrace their core values: “Mission-Focused, Results Driven,” “Be a Team Player,” “Empathy Always, in All Ways,” “Controlled Disruption” and “Bring Your ‘A’ Game.” Employees can offer each other shoutouts tied to a particular value, while executives regularly discuss how the company’s goals are tied to their mission and values. With these practices in place, Hey explained, team members have the chance to bring the organization’s purpose and principles to life every day. “Our employees are regularly executing on those policies and processes daily, and all of this then contributes to our culture,” she said.  


What’s your approach to building a mission-driven team culture?

We build team culture every day by listening to each other’s perspectives and gaining insight into the individual personality traits of our team members, which shape how we approach our daily responsibilities and tasks. We try to understand each other’s strengths and challenge one another to grow in areas each team member has identified for improvement. For example, during our monthly team meetings, one team member selects a microlearning topic and presents it to the entire group. This topic is typically one that they’ve identified to help them grow as an employee, team member, leader or individual. 

We also take time to recognize and celebrate individual and team accomplishments, basing this on an individual’s preference for receiving positive feedback. We do this on a daily basis through public or private compliments as well as through our monthly “Employee of The Quarter” award. Recognizing our hard work and focusing on how we can challenge ourselves with new opportunities allows us to continue to take on complex projects and drive to the next level of maturity as both a team and a company. 



Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by TrueML.

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