Career journeys can be like a road trip: you may have general destinations in mind, but exploration is the true goal. Starting a new role equates to arriving at a destination of choice, feeling a potent combination of excitement and trepidation as you learn the culture and landscape.

This past summer, Crystal Nassouri joined the Detroit outpost of mobility company Cavnue in what she described as navigating previously uncharted professional terrain — something, it turns out, that has come with great upside. 

“Though a startup is a new experience for me, I am happy to see how much impact I can have here,” said Nassouri, who previously logged nearly 15 years at General Motors in various engineering roles.

Nassouri joined Cavnue — which, in addition to the Motor City, also has offices in Arlington, Virginia, New York City and Mountain View, California — at a momentous time: Just months prior to her arrival, Cavnue announced a $130 million Series A to further its technology and bring on new talent in support of its mission to advance the connected and autonomous vehicle space.

As her journey at Cavnue unfolds, Built In connected with Nassouri to learn about the experiences that validated her decision to come aboard, the areas in which she’s determined to contribute and what the road ahead looks like for her. 


What Cavnue Does

In recent years, the idea of connected and autonomous vehicles have likely caught the lay person’s attention — but what about the infrastructure supporting it? Cavnue is a first-of-its-kind infrastructure and technology company that leverages technology to create CAV-only lanes on the road — or what the company calls “cavnues” — separate from the rest of the vehicle traffic.


What was the onboarding process like for you? What was your favorite part?

Onboarding was easy and pleasant. I am local to the Detroit area so I arrived at the office in Corktown to receive my computer and meet team members. My favorite part was meeting all the welcoming teammates and getting to know the people I would work with. Everyone was very accommodating and welcoming.


What pleasantly surprised you after you joined?

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that we have a stipend for work-from-home supplies. I also was impressed with the beautiful Detroit office. Regular meetups and after-work events have been a nice touch, as I was concerned that WFH meant that I would not be able to connect with colleagues as easily on a regular basis.


When did you know you made the right choice in joining your company?

I knew I made the right choice joining Cavnue when I found that my input was very highly valued and that I have a real impact on the future of the organization. One of my primary reasons for joining was so that I could effect more change in my day-to-day work. Though a startup is a new experience for me, I am happy to see how much impact I can have here.


Though a startup is a new experience for me, I am happy to see how much impact I can have here.


How have you hit the ground running since you joined?

I was offered my choice of several possible work areas. I dove right into simulation because I knew that I could make a lot of impact very quickly. So far I have come up with a plan that has been well received by the team, and my goal is to develop simulation into a well-oiled machine that can serve the product with little maintenance.


What aspect of your professional growth are you most excited to evolve?

I am most excited to evolve my business acumen at Cavnue. I think that working at a smaller company provides exposure to conversations not typically visible at a larger company. I am excited to learn and grow in this area. Additionally, I am excited to learn new technical skills and different areas of technology that will definitely evolve as the company grows its product.



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