Taking Ownership: How OwnBackup’s Employees Helped Craft Company Values

What are these values, and how do they manifest in day-to-day work? Built In sat down with three team members to find out.

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Published on Aug. 26, 2022
Taking Ownership: How OwnBackup’s Employees Helped Craft Company Values
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The OwnBackup team members who traveled to Aruba for a President’s Club trip in 2019 packed into a conference room wearing flip flops, t-shirts and shorts for an important meeting.

Sam Gutmann, the CEO of the SaaS data protection company, stood at the head of the room beside a whiteboard. Today was the day they would create OwnBackup’s values — together.

The organization had been in business for almost four years, and along the way, had built a strong culture. But as OwnBackup’s headcount continued to expand, senior leadership wanted to formalize their ideologies. What does the company stand for? What does it believe in? How does OwnBackup want to build moving forward?

Gutmann knew he couldn’t create these values on his own. So he crowd sourced ideas and jotted them down for all to see. At the end of the meeting, the whiteboard was full of suggestions, which were later distilled into these values:

“Culture is as important as results.”

“We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.”

“We care about everything that we do.”

“We build trust through transparency.”

Years later, a fifth and final value, “We’re always driving forward,” was added.

These values aren’t just words or phrases. They are part of everything OwnBackup does, from recruiting new hires, to building new products, to retaining employees, to planning events, to making challenging decisions.

“I’m lucky that I was in Aruba when we were creating our values,” Mat Kennedy, senior director of partner enablement, said. “I mean, our values were created by us, the employees. How cool is that? It gives us a sense of ownership.”

To get a better glimpse of these values in action, Built In NYC sat down with three team members at OwnBackup, who showed in detail how these values reveal themselves at the company.



OwnBackup is an SaaS data protection platform for some of the largest SaaS ecosystems in the world. Through capabilities like data security, backup and recovery, archiving and sandbox seeding, OwnBackup empowers thousands of organizations worldwide to manage and protect the data that drives their business.


OwnBackup team members smiling and laughing at a sporting event


Culture is as important as results

Chief People Officer Alyssa Lahar: A great example of this value is our mid-year kickoff (MKO) event. The whole company spent several days in Las Vegas at the end of July. Everyone at our company, even those outside the country who could obtain a visa, was flown into Vegas. We had learning sessions and team-bonding activities. Each team was provided a budget to go out and have some good, clean fun. There was a pool party one night and an awards night. We don’t always get to see our colleagues across the world in person. MKO gives us the opportunity to do that, which prioritizes our culture and building relationships.

Senior Director of Partner Enablement Mat Kennedy: Culture is front of mind for everybody here, and I see a lot of it in team building. For example, my team does a coffee talk once a week so we can catch up on things that are happening in our lives outside of work. Also, if you work in the office, the company provides lunch every day. I love seeing everyone sit together across different teams talking about life. It really represents our culture. 

Director, Customer Engagement Tracy Carson: I work fully remote from Canada. Whenever there’s been an opportunity for my team to travel somewhere and work together, the company is always supportive. For example, on my previous remote team, we all traveled to Austin, Texas and rented a house. We cooked our own meals and worked together.



We take our work seriously, but not ourselves

Lahar: Our main focus every day is to come in and make sure that our clients feel secure and that their data is being protected. We have fun with it. For example, there was a certain revenue goal we wanted to hit and when we hit it, Charles Johnston, our EVP of global sales, had to dress up as Elvis.

Kennedy: We did hit the goal, and Charles walked around the office as Elvis, with the wig, mutton chops, sunglasses and white getup. He even did the voice, and appeared on a sales call. Another funny challenge was, if we hit a certain number, our CRO Ori Yankelev had to shave his beard into a monkey tail. It literally looked like a monkey tail was on his face. It was amazing. All of this speaks to the fact that we find fun components within serious goals like hitting our numbers.


We care about everything we do

Carson: As much as we talk about the internal culture we’re creating here, it extends outside our walls. The fact that my role exists shows that OwnBackup cares about their customers. I went to London for the Salesforce World Tour. We put together our first-ever customer community lunch session, and I was so delighted to have the support and enthusiasm of our leadership team and product team. 

Also, swag! I remember after my first trip to headquarters in New Jersey, I had to check my bag back home because it was too big with all of my new swag. A blanket, a Yeti mug, a jacket, a hoodie, you name it. I know it’s just swag, but it’s so thoughtful and we take pride in our brand.

Kennedy: OwnBackup even has a workplace experience coordinator. Sebastion and his team take care of everything in the office, from plentiful snacks to birthday celebrations to coordinating a DJ when we had an office Olympics. There’s always so much attention to detail in everything OwnBackup does, even when it’s an internal event.



OwnBackup’s week-long bootcamp gives new employees a full background of the company, features fun events every night (like a wine paint and sip), and most importantly, provides employees with connections and friends across the company. “There’s a certain bond that gets created with the people you go through bootcamp with,” Kennedy said. “It expands your reach across the company. Now you know somebody in human resources, someone in finance, in marketing, in technical support, in the research and development team. It’s an instant community.”


OwnBackup team photo at a soccer game


We build trust through transparency

Lahar: We have a monthly town hall meeting where our CEO brings the entire company into the auditorium or Zoom call and presents where we are today and where we’re going. At the end, he opens it up to questions. I love that transparency. 

Carson: We also have a ton of reporting that’s highly visible. There are no secrets about where we are in our day-to-day business. Whether it’s week-end, month-end or quarter-end numbers, everything is transparent. We kick off every week with a sales and marketing call. We all have a good sense of what we need to get done. 


We’re always driving forward

Kennedy: A great example of this value is in our new applications. When I started six years ago, we only had Recover for Salesforce. Since then we’ve added Secure, Archive and Sandbox Seeding for Salesforce, and now we’re expanding to Microsoft and ServiceNow. We’re always looking to expand what we’re doing and build on our success.

Lahar: For me, this value speaks to innovation. OwnBackup encourages creativity and sharing ideas. There’s a reason why the company asked its employees to help form its values. OwnBackup trusts and wants to hear from its own people.



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

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