In many ways, Abby O’Rourke’s decision to work at Center was made for her.
The 2019 college graduate began her career in marketing, but it wasn’t long before a recruiter reached out about switching companies — and roles.
Center, a hyper-growth SaaS company backed by the co-founder of Concur, wanted O’Rourke to work in sales. The notion had always intrigued her, she said, and she especially loved the idea of working in a customer-facing position.
But it was the enthusiasm on the other end of the line that ultimately convinced her to join. While uncertainty followed her into her early days at Center, O’Rourke recalled, she remained heartened by the company’s focus on professional development throughout the onboarding process.
“Even though I was still feeling some nerves about moving into a new position, I knew I needed to be part of this company,” she said of her time as a newly minted account executive. “Embarking on a sales career, I was able to find immediate success from all of the support Center provided me. The amount of encouragement I’ve felt from everyone at the company is something I will never take for granted.”
WHAT CENTER DOES
O’Rourke’s path to Center felt like destiny — and the feeling was warranted. The Seattle-area fintech company prides itself on facilitating individual and shared growth throughout its ranks. It identifies promising candidates and nurtures them toward fulfilling their potential in a challenging, rewarding environment.
“Center has given me the opportunity to explore incremental areas of business and tech,” said Principal Deployment Manager Elise Henkemeyer, who, like O’Rourke, has also seen her position evolve since she first joined Center two years ago.
“Leadership continually pushes us to explore areas of interest and to collaborate with others outside of our department. It’s a very fulfilling culture to be a part of.”
Built In sat down with Henkemeyer and O’Rourke to learn more about how Center empowers its employees to grow in their careers.
How has working at Center helped you progress toward your career goals?
Principal Deployment Manager Elise Henkemeyer: I knew I would wear many hats at a startup, but Center has truly allowed me to learn and apply new skill sets as the business has grown. My career has now shifted from sales and new business to a more technical role as a principal deployment manager. At previous companies, knowing the product in-depth was less valued. But at Center, I’ve been able to tap into newfound strengths and deep-dive on the product while still leveraging what I learned in sales: communicating in a way that resonates with the customer and consistently bringing it back to the value we deliver.
“I never imagined I would work for a company where not only your peers but also upper management care deeply about your career goals.”
Account Executive Abby O’Rourke: I never imagined I would work for a company where not only your peers but also upper management care deeply about your career goals and help you succeed. When I knew I wanted to become an account executive, our senior director of sales scheduled a meeting for us to discuss my goals and what she was going to do to help me achieve them. Within about three months, I had earned a promotion. I truly couldn’t ask for better management and mentors than what I’ve experienced at Center.
What makes Center a unique place to work from a professional development perspective?
O’Rourke: As a growing company, upper management takes everyone’s ideas and opinions into consideration. I’ve gotten to work closely with management on prospecting strategies, conducting interviews, strategizing in-deal reviews with our CEO and leading customer meetings with our VP of Sales to close deals. I don’t think you can find this work culture or employee experience at many places today.
How has joining the company positively impacted your professional journey?
Henkemeyer: Our customer success team is a very collaborative and engaged group. They challenge me professionally, while also allowing me to find fulfillment outside of work. This is my favorite part about working at Center. We utilize a mentorship program when introducing new hires to the team, and I’ve had the opportunity to mentor several individuals. It’s been a great way for a distributed team to not only build relationships but has also given me the chance to further strengthen my communication and leadership skills.
What are you excited to accomplish next?
O’Rourke: Being fairly new in the account executive role, I’m excited to accomplish my goal of being a consistently high-performing team member and hitting my quota month over month. I want to become the best I can be in this role and one day grow into a management position. I would absolutely love the opportunity to help lead and develop other individuals, helping them achieve their goals like so many have done for me in my short time at the company. Center has been a pivotal opportunity in my life and career in so many ways, and it’s only the beginning.