Life Happens. Ingage Is There For Its Employees When It Does.

Autonomy and empathy work hand in hand at this sales enablement software company — and people feel it. Here’s how Ingage makes its employees feel like valued, empowered human beings.

Written by Jenny Lyons-Cunha
Published on Sep. 07, 2022
Life Happens. Ingage Is There For Its Employees When It Does.
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The mileage on a seven-year-old car is proof of a life well lived. Just ask Ingage Senior Engineer Kevin Mahoney.

The nearly 100,000 miles on his dash are numerical proof of afternoons spent driving to Point Defiance Park with his rescue corgi, Einstein — chasing a few hours of elusive Pacific Northwestern sun to watch orcas and otters from fir-lined shores. Other miles are emblematic of quiet hikes in the Cascade Mountains: Just Mahoney, Einstein and the hush of wind in alpine meadows. 

Also recorded on that odometer: One long drive across Washington, so Mahoney could say goodbye to his dying father. 

It happened on his first day at Ingage. 

“Imagine this conversation: ‘Hey, I’m so excited to start my first day today, but I also have to drive across the state because my dad is dying,’” Mahoney said. “Leadership and my boss — everybody — came back and said, ‘Take as much time as you need.’” 

“In the moment, that’s all I really needed.” 

In the days following his father’s unexpected medical emergency and eventual passing, Mahoney was met with warm texts from his new CEO and colleagues, the flexibility to tackle work when and if he could, and the space to grieve. The empathy Mahoney felt in his early days with Ingage cemented his loyalty to the sales presentation software company. 

“This isn’t something you find at a massive corporation,” Mahoney said. “You get this at a true collective with a common purpose.” 

 

WHAT THEY DO

The team at Ingage understands how important — and challenging — it is to engage customers in a sales setting. Ingage designs software that helps salespeople create interactive sales content and start meaningful conversations with their prospects. Ingage aims to help its users far beyond first impressions: The software makes it easy for users to track the impact of their branded content over time. 

 

Ingage team photo
Ingage

 

Once upon another life, the expanding miles on Mahoney’s car meant a tally of hours lost. “I can’t even think about the amount of time I’ve spent commuting in the past, because you don’t get that time back,” he said. “Working remotely at Ingage, we don’t have to deal with that. The hours are ours to spend, living our lives.” 

It’s a sentiment that Account Manager Jeana Garza — who used to log between 1,200 to 1,500 miles per month traveling for a previous company — emphatically shares. Now, Garza takes customer-facing calls and conducts account maintenance from the peaceful back room of her family’s San Antonio home. 

“My husband actually called dibs on our home office years ago,” Garza laughed. “But I like it here in the back because it’s so quiet.” 

These days, Garza uses her reclaimed commuting hours to try new Instapot comfort food recipes with her husband and three adult children, or to travel with her middle son, Kane, who at 24 is climbing the Texan pro golf circuit. 

“It’s been fun just being able to be there for him,” Garza said, beaming. “I feel like I’m making up for some lost time.”

Once hamstrung by her previous role, Garza revels in the chance to celebrate Kane’s athletic achievements — or step away to be with her youngest daughter, Kyndall, for an important doctor’s appointment. And there’s also the matter of dog-sitting for her eldest, Ashley, who is taking a sojourn with her parents after a bout of Covid-19. 

“Life happens, and we all get that at Ingage,” Garza said. “Everybody pitches in just to make sure our customers are taken care of. We take care of each other.”

 

 

FORTUNE 50 TO STARTUP

When Garza first made the leap from the predictability of a Fortune 50 company to the fast-paced startup culture at Ingage, she was admittedly nervous — but she was quickly put at ease by the people around her. “It was definitely scary,” she said, “But, once I came in, I was really taken by just how great the environment is. The people are phenomenal.” When former colleagues and friends ask Garza about her new role at Ingage, she is excited to share. “Everybody asks me, ‘Hey, how do you like a new job?’ And I say, ‘My god, I just love it.’”

 

Combined with genuine autonomy, remote work gives employees the keys to a richer personal and professional life. Digital Marketing Manager Oliva Orzech embraces the independence to manage their schedule as needed.

“There’s not this expectation of always being on your phone, having your camera on or constantly moving your mouse,” Orzech said with a shudder. “I have friends at other companies who bought ‘mouse-movers’ because their employers track their movement.”

The absence of micromanagement at Ingage is as motivating as it is freeing for Orzech, who noted that her marketing team often has 15 or more projects rolling at one time. “There can be a concern about productivity when you have such a light touch from management, but our projects always — always — get done.” 

 

TRUE TRANSPARENCY 

Orzech has never experienced leadership as she does at Ingage. “Dean, our CEO, and Jim, our director of engineering, are always happy to answer any question right away and speak to the larger goal,” Orzech said. Mahoney shared the sentiment: “Dean holds ‘revolving door’ meetings on Zoom, where anyone can drop in and ask questions about anything. I went in once and asked him about lacrosse — he’s a big lacrosse buff. But I’ve also asked about processes I’m not familiar with. I said, ‘What’s a recap? Explain it like I’m five years-old.’ He’s so great at explaining every part of the business.” 

 

Presentation on a laptop created with Ingage software
Ingage

 

For Orzech, freedom is cracking open her laptop somewhere meaningful.

When at her home base in Chicago, she prefers to set up shop at the brick-front La Colombe in Logan Square, famous for its creamy draft lattes and industrial-chic ambience. When she’s not enjoying the curling gardens of nearby Millenium Park, Orzech travels, taking time to visit family spread across the country. She’s taken Zoom calls from the Midwest, Texas and San Diego — but her favorite workspace may be her nephew’s room. 

“My team always has a lot of questions about it: ‘Where are you? Why are there so many dinosaurs there?’” Orzech laughed, spreading her arms wide to illustrate the profusion of Jurassic-era decor in the space. 

While Orzech enjoys autonomy with Ingage, she must endure a bit of micromanagement from her little nephew when she’s in town. “He will burst in during a meeting, saying, ‘You don’t understand. I need this toy right now,’” she shared, adding that her coworkers welcome the cameo appearances with joy. 

Orzech emphasized that the tiny disruptions are a worthy trade off for spending time with family. “Earlier last year, my youngest nephew was born, Orzech said. “I got to be there and stay in Texas to help my sister and her family.”

Orzech recalls her manager encouraging her to make sure the correct time zone was clearly set on her calendar: no stress or guilt needed. She attributes the thriving work-life balance at Ingage to a company-wide emphasis on mutual support. 

“As much as there’s a focus on career at Ingage, there’s a culture of supporting your personal life: If you need to take your kids to the dentist, if you need an early parental leave — or if you need to just exist as a human being.” 

Mahoney credits the phenomenon to a shared sense of direction and passion. Teams across the company are connected by universal goals, lovingly called “rocks.” Mahoney’s work as a full stack engineer — building both the front and back-end systems that power the product — is as attuned to the common goal as Orzech’s latest marketing campaign or an afternoon kickoff call for Garza. 

 

INGAGE ROCKS

Ingage uses company-wide goals, which the team calls “rocks,” to anchor its employees. "So, a rock might be: Hit this number of new customers by the end of year. Bring in this amount of revenue by the end of the year,” Orzech explained. “Those ‘rocks’ are broken down even more specifically by department, so you can clearly see how we are all going to work together to get to that final goal.” 

 

“Honestly, it’s hard to even see this as a company: It’s more like you joined the group of people that are trying to do something great together,” Mahoney said. “It just so happens that the vehicle you’re in is called Ingage.”

Despite the roughly 3,319 collective miles between Mahoney, Garza and Orzech, the shared sense of community is clear. Describing a decadent new chicken dish she’s experimenting with at home, Garza extended an open invitation to her cross-country coworkers: “Stop by anytime.” 

“I will,” Mahoney said. “And I’ve been taking up baking. I love giving dessert away to my friends and neighbors.” 

“I’ll be in Seattle next week,” Orzech chimed in. “I do expect a pineapple upside down cake.” 

 “Of course,” Mahoney answered. “We’ll make it happen.” 

 

 

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

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