How Tango Card’s Long-Term Vision Makes Space to Learn and Listen

Three women in leadership at Tango Card share their journeys to joining the company — and what that reveals about the company’s authentic and curious culture.

Written by Brigid Hogan
Published on Nov. 07, 2022
How Tango Card’s Long-Term Vision Makes Space to Learn and Listen
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In most cases, mergers and acquisitions are uncertain, tense, and disruptive across an organization. But for Cindy Mielke, the opposite was true when Tango Card acquired in February 2019.

“I was excited about the acquisition,” Mielke said. “I could see that Tango Card was a great fit for our organization. Both companies did similar things, but I felt like Tango Card had a superior approach to the product in the marketplace.”

According to Harvard Business Review, “On average, roughly 30 percent of employees are deemed redundant after a merger or acquisition in the same industry.” But after the acquisition, the entire Omaha-based team was retained, upending the usual market expectations. 

Mielke wasn’t surprised that Tango Card was taking care of her team.

“When you meet with a group of leaders from a company, you get a sense of who those people are. I could tell by the way they talked about their people that they would take care of our employees. I felt like whatever happened, Tango Card would treat everyone well, and I wasn't wrong,” Mielke, now vice president of strategic partnerships, said.

The balance of ambitious and achievable goals with an approachable culture drew Chief Product Officer Sheila Bijoor to the company as well.

“In my first interaction with David Leeds, our CEO, he showed up as an authentic, humble, optimistic and curious person, and that has been what I’ve experienced every day. A lot of folks who end up here really have authenticity and optimism,” she said. “We’re outcome-oriented, but we are also mission-driven because we are in it for the long game.”


“Folks who end up here really have authenticity and optimism.”


After learning about the company, Bijoor made a call to Chief Legal Officer Christine Habeeb, who had joined the team a few months earlier.

As a young lawyer, Habeeb never expected to end up specializing as a payments attorney. “I took a leap of faith to move across the country to work for Amazon because I thought it was an interesting company,” she said. “The payments team wasn’t sexy, but I thought it would be an interesting way to work in-house at a fast growing company. Lo and behold, I loved the niche area of law.”

Landing in payments was a stroke of luck for Habeeb, as the fintech market has boomed in the years since she moved to Seattle. “That background and specialization made me a great fit for Tango Card,” she said. “They are advancing an interesting area in the payment space. When I met David, I saw his clear vision and that told me really quickly that this is where I wanted to be.”


What they do

Tango Card makes it easy to send and receive rewards to drive engagement with employees, program participants and customers. The customizable offerings include a personalized dashboard to configure, send and track rewards as well as an API that integrates and automates rewards within outside apps and platforms.


Tango Card employees talk and smile in a conference room.
Tango Card

“We want to solve problems.”

Christine Habeeb
Chief Legal Officer • Tango



What are your daily responsibilities?

“My role, in a nutshell, is helping all the other teams manage risk and problem solve. We work cross-functionally when certain teams are having a problem. Is there something in the contract that we can put to fix this going forward? Or is there something in the contract we can use to help achieve the goals that we want to achieve? Or, as we're creating a product, how can we design it differently for both today's laws and what we think the laws are going to be in five and 10 years? We want to solve those problems as well as help individual employees if there are employment issues. We want to solve problems with the least risk.”


What was the onboarding process like?

“For the first couple of weeks, my job was to listen and learn about how our products function and about our contract structure. There wasn't a legal department when I joined, so we were building a legal department within the internal fabric of the company.

“David told me, ‘Stop reading the books about what you must accomplish in the first 90 days. Just learn and understand the company. We'll set up goals in due time once we know more about what they should be.’ The approach of looking long-term permeates everything we do here and helps create a great onboarding experience.”


“Someone who takes ownership and loves solving problems will be most successful here.”


What makes your team culture unique?

“We have a leadership team meeting on Monday mornings, and sometimes an employee can’t attend or needs to leave early. When we have that unstructured time as a result, we genuinely enjoy talking to each other. It’s a great way to start the week — enjoyable, refreshing and makes you happy to come to work, even if it’s from home.

“People are willing to listen and take feedback, and I think it creates a very collaborative workplace that helps us get to the right answer by getting everyone's diverse perspectives, rather than having someone really push for a certain perspective, unless they have a strong reason.”


What would you tell job applicants considering joining the company?

“Someone who takes ownership and loves solving problems will be most successful here.”




“The best ideas win.”

Sheila Bijoor
Chief Product Officer • Tango


What are your daily responsibilities?

“The Product organization is responsible for building and taking products to market. I spend a lot of time with customers and with our engineering, marketing and sales teams. We often  ideate and come up with concepts for innovation and exploration. We ask, ‘How can we make life better for our customers? How can we produce tangible value for reward recipients? And then we work through the designs and put them into execution. And so at any point in time, there might be certain projects that are in different phases of that whole product lifecycle, and it's interacting with the internal and external kind of stakeholders. Tango Card has to make those products come to life.”


What was the onboarding process like?

“I went on a listening tour for the first two to three weeks of joining the company, with our customers and internal teams. I heard what our customers loved about us, and what they hoped we could help them solve. I also met with individuals in different corners of the company to understand their expectations, their experiences, and the types of problems that we could solve together. All of this helped me to create an action plan for how to make the most impact.

“This similar to how we onboard any of the product managers. People gravitate to what they're best at, and they will make the highest impact if they understand the problems that they need to solve. It's saying, ‘You're here because we believe in your ability to solve problems. So take the time that you need to get proximate to those problems and to figure out where you can be most impactful. Then let's collaborate on your goals.’”


“Folks who thrive in this environment are very curious and creative by nature.”


What makes your team culture unique?

“We always strive to do the right thing for our customers, and often go out of our way to create impact for them. For example, we’ll just pick up the phone and just call our customers to let them know where we see opportunities for them to optimize their programs. I recall our chief compliance officer once recounting how surprised a customer was that we had taken the time to reach out and help them save money on their program. Tango Card or any company in that position didn't necessarily have an obligation to go the extra step of helping them in this way, but our belief across our system is that when we see a way to help our customers, we’ll proactively do what we can.”


Tango Card employees chat at their workstations.
Tango Card


What would you tell job applicants considering joining the company?

“You can go to a big company and own one pixel on, or you can come to Tango Card and do everything from talk to the customer to actually build and test the product yourself. If you love that sort of breadth and being able to own something end to end, there's scope for that here. We're not a hierarchy-driven culture, and the best ideas win. Folks who thrive in this environment are very curious and creative by nature. They want to innovate and make an impact.”


“We’re a growing company with a lot of opportunities.”

Cindy Mielke
VP Strategic Partnerships • Tango


What are your daily responsibilities?

“Daily, I'm working with my team to build and manage our global rewards catalog. Externally, we interface with our partners, suppliers, and customers. In house, our team works very cross functionally across the company, including with Sheila's product team, Christine’s legal team, supply chain, finance, catalog management, and revenue. I'm here to help answer questions and support needs.”


“We want people who are humble and curious with a desire to learn.”


What was the onboarding process like?

“After the acquisition, I had a period of figuring out where I fit within Tango Card. Leadership really cared and helped me find that fit, and I took the opportunity to join the organization in a couple different roles before the one I'm currently in to really learn the product, systems and people. Everybody's so willing to give you time, even though they are very busy. They're willing to help you be successful.”


What would you tell job applicants considering joining the company?

“We’re a growing company with a lot of opportunities to come in and learn at any level. We want people who are humble and curious with a desire to learn because they’re coming in as a resource for the whole company. We are open to what everyone has to say about how we serve our customers and how we grow our business. That’s huge for people who want to come in and make an impact.”


Tango Card employees talk animatedly over the top of their monitors at two standing desks.
Tango Card


Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photos provided by Tango Card.

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