Sandy Gould wants to help his team discover their superpowers — and help them put those powers to use.
Whether hosting offsites or dinners out for the team, taking meetings while walking around New York City or creatively recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions to the whole company, Pinwheel’s chief people officer believes that human connection will empower everyone within the organization and beyond.
“Our work is about elevating, connecting and celebrating people and creativity,” he said. “We focus on partnering with leadership and employees to build a great, diverse culture that creates a powerful, fun community and changes the world.”
As for Pinwheel’s superpower? Gould sees it as a “great, diverse culture.”
“Diversity is the engine that drives all creativity and unlocks our talent,” he said. “We want to deploy a management model that distributes leadership by co-designing programs with employees and pushing most decisions to the people doing the jobs.”
Built In sat down with Gould to learn more about his vision for the Pinwheel team, the power of personal connection and, yes, how even sequins can help build great workplace relationships.
What’s your role? What are your responsibilities?
Chief people officer. My team and I are responsible for amplifying everything human at the company, helping employees succeed and grow their superpowers and careers. The specifics range from talent management, leadership training at every level, performance management and acceleration, benefits, compensation, well-being, safety, corporate responsibility, internal communications, mental health and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
What’s your vision for leading your team?
Our goal is to build curious managers who coach employees toward growth and success. I foster connectivity and build a fun community through a lot of personal interaction and humor, while creating a personal atmosphere that develops my team to be business-evangelizing humanists who act as business partners and consultants to our employees and leaders.
How do you build team culture?
We spend a lot of time getting to know each other personally. I share a lot of myself and my personal life from comic books to my glitter sequin fashion to my love of pop culture, as well as my worldview. I invest in them personally. In every team meeting and one-on-one, I try to make sure everyone talks and that everyone feels like we are creating together, shoulder to shoulder. Everyone’s voice, unique superpowers, and worldview will shape our team. I instill a sense of mission, pride, gratitude and a relentless making-light-of-everything spirit.
How do you help your team grow their careers? What tools and support do you offer to allow them to stretch their skills?
I encourage them to take on new responsibilities, distribute leadership, coach them and support their decisions, give them front-line ownership and make sure they get visibility. I listen and let them lead when they rightfully challenge me, which I encourage. I recognize that and promote them to take more ownership. I help them develop with experiential opportunities, training, coaching, mentoring and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
3 Upcoming Employee Programs, Redesigned
- Programs that amplify diversity in the company and unleash our diverse voices and views. This will involve safe spaces, real talks, radical candor convos, transformative training, talent development programs, product and product creation efforts and community-building events.
- A management program that is customized to this culture and is created by these managers.
- A career marketplace that will put career building in the employee’s hands. We want to see every employee have career convos, take a first move to grow, accelerate certain development plans, and attend an internal CareerPalooza to connect to future roles or teams they are interested in understanding or pursuing.
Lastly, what is the employee value proposition for those thinking about joining Pinwheel?
At Pinwheel you will get to use and build on your creativity, grow your superpowers and your career, work with and connect to brilliant diverse talent and be a part of a community that is changing the world by creating a fairer financial system for all. This will accelerate people’s careers and power growth. We have many Pinlumni who have gone on to start their own startups, and we are excited to see how they grow in the future and support them along the way.