What Makes Alma’s Mission-Driven Culture a ‘Unifying Force’ For Good

Whether they’re safeguarding patient data or giving back to their local communities, team members at mental health care company Alma never fail to uplift others.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Apr. 12, 2024
What Makes Alma’s Mission-Driven Culture a ‘Unifying Force’ For Good
Alma
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What do one in five American adults have in common?

Mental illness. 

This statistic, reported by the National Institute of Mental Health, reflects an ongoing, devastating crisis; one exacerbated by the pandemic and perpetuated by insufficient access to effective mental health care. 

Alma aims to stymie this crisis, guided by its mission “to simplify access to high-quality, affordable mental health care.” According to Senior Product Manager of Care Finding Rahul Ajmera, this noble vision galvanizes the company’s employees, resonating with many of them on a deeply personal level. 

“Everyone at Alma believes in our mission, and many of us have felt the pains of this challenging problem we’re trying to solve,” he shared. 

In an effort to alleviate these pains, Ajmera and his peers focus on building and improving the company’s marketplace, which matches patients with providers who accept their insurance. And while this work is critical to Alma’s mission, it’s simply one of the ways in which team members contribute to the greater good. 

Alongside her colleagues on the data engineering team, Analytics Engineer Selam M. spends her workdays perfecting data pipelines; a task she considers critical to the company’s core operations. 

“As a healthcare company, we have to take great care of our data,” she said. 

The work Selam and her teammates accomplish isn’t simply the product of strong technical acumen and collaboration. Everything employees achieve at Alma is grounded in a culture that embraces evolution, ownership, connection, honesty and, most importantly, empathy. With a mission as impactful as Alma’s, it only makes sense for team members to care as much about each other and the company’s clients as they do for their careers. 

These positive values, coupled with a focus on driving impact, foster a mission-driven culture that empowers team members to build community and shape a brighter future for others. 

 

Alma team members gathered together in kayaks on lake, raising oars in the air
Alma

 

‘COMMON GROUND’

According to Ajmera, Alma’s culture is rooted in its core values: “Embrace Change,” “Listen First,” “Act Like an Owner,” “Build Equity” and “Communicate Honestly.” While each team retains its own unique identity, these principles bind everyone together. 

This common ground helps us ensure we tackle challenges in stride as a collective team in service of our clients and providers,” Ajmera explained. 

 

 

A Blameless Approach to Progress

Selam’s team never has a reason to blame someone for a mistake. 

In the spirit of putting people first in everything they do, Selam shared, she and her peers focus on finding solutions rather than the source of an issue. So when her team recently encountered a data outage, they investigated the causes without blame, removing the fear of retribution for those responsible. 

Selam believes that this approach has been fundamental to her team’s success, enabling her and her peers to be honest and find solutions more quickly. 

“A blameless culture in engineering encourages us to solve problems with less pressure and allows us to grow as engineers,” she said. “I’ve always felt encouraged to ask questions and speak up if I see something that could be improved.” 

 

“A blameless culture in engineering encourages us to solve problems with less pressure and allows us to grow as engineers.” 

 

According to Ajmera, this all-hands-on-deck mentality plays out on a daily basis at Alma, where employees are accustomed to adaptation. 

“While we know what we’re here to do, we also know the importance of being flexible with how it’s done,” he said. 

Alma runs on evolution, which in turn fosters a focus on professional growth. Ajmera noted that, besides having access to career development resources, such as transparent growth paths and a continuing education stipend, employees also receive continuous encouragement from higher-ups to pursue their goals. 

“Leadership has done a good job of creating opportunities for growth and internal mobility,” he said. “It’s easy to put your best foot forward when you love what you’re doing.”

 

Alma team members posing for photo on staircase leading up to airplane
Alma

 

A ‘Unifying Force’ For Good

Vulnerability. 

While it may not be the technological engine that powers Alma’s operations, Selam considers it equally essential. “First and foremost, I make sure that we see each other as people, which means that I try to be vulnerable and encourage others to be, too,” she said. 

 

“First and foremost, I make sure that we see each other as people.”

 

Honest connection defines Alma’s culture, promulgated by a focus on authentic relationship-building. Besides having the chance to bond at periodic company offsites, Selam shared, team members have access to various employee resource groups, where they can connect through book clubs, lunch and learns and more. Additionally, the company’s executive leaders regularly participate in “Ask Alma Anything” sessions, where team members get to ask questions in a transparent setting. 

Employees are also encouraged to support their surrounding communities. The company gives team members a donation stipend that can be put toward causes of their choosing, such as supporting Black-owned businesses during Black History Month. 

“Community is essential to mental health, and this is shown in how employees are encouraged to give back to and acknowledge their communities,” she said.

Whether they’re supporting the success of underrepresented communities or driving important technological initiatives, team members at Alma do everything in the name of the company’s mission. Over the years, Ajmera has seen Founder and CEO Dr. Harry Ritter further this “long-standing, unwavering” commitment to the company’s mission, ensuring employees drive impact in unison as the organization continues to scale. 

Guided by this steadfast, mission-first mindset, team members aren’t simply inspired to do more for the patients and providers who use the company’s platform; they’re motivated to make a difference in each other’s lives, too. 

“This strong unifying force helps us step into each other’s shoes, recognize that we’re all coming with the same passion and commitment and help each other push forward when things get hard,” Ajmera said. 

 


 

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

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