In the seminal television show Mad Men, Don Draper once said, “Change is neither good nor bad. It simply is.” In other words, any good business leader knows that change is a constant and must have the flexibility and foresight to plan for inevitable twists and turns — and nobody knows this better than Amanda Tran, Director of People Experience & Development at Maven Wave. Tran’s team has experienced a ton of change and growth over the past few years, and it shows no signs of stopping.
During our recent interview, Tran explained the importance of adaptability in leadership style during periods of change as well as her appreciation for a fine whiskey (another trait she shares with Draper). Check out the full interview below!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Amanda Tran, Director of People Experience & Development (AKA “Human Resources”). My team and I help drive the day-to-day employee experience and help support individual employee growth, company culture, and organizational success. My experience in HR ranges from Fortune 500 companies to fast-paced, high-growth organizations like Maven Wave. I particularly enjoy focusing on talent development and organizational development.
I was born and raised in Southern California and grew up with a very big, tight-knit family. I have three sisters and a brother, but some of my closest friends are my cousins. (I have 40 first cousins!) I made the bold decision to move to Chicago nine years ago and haven’t looked back since!
What are the top highlights of your career so far?
I’d say the best part of my career so far has been growing the People team at Maven Wave and developing HR infrastructure. I get a lot of personal gratification from seeing high-potential talent grow up in an organization and become impactful leaders.
What is your favorite part of working at Maven Wave?
My job would be really difficult if it weren’t for the people. Our Mavens are hungry, passionate, intelligent, and talented. Also, my team — we have great chemistry, which is difficult to build and even harder to maintain. My team is a rare bunch!
What does company culture mean to you?
Company culture is “make or break.” Without it, your job is just a job. Culture can challenge a person and allow the right talent to thrive, making the business and overall work experience truly exceptional and transformative.
What makes the work Maven Wave does meaningful?
Companies that transform in the cloud are making a proactive effort to modernize their business and become more agile to keep up with an ever-changing environment. Allowing the talent of our Mavens to be a part of this step in their journey means we’re helping take companies to the next level and for us to be a part of their evolution.
How do you see your team evolving to support Atos?
As our practice grows and matures, we are here to ensure our employees see their future with Atos. The employee experience is not solely about their personal and professional development but knowing their contributions to the organization’s success through passionate growth, innovation, and constant change.
What goals do you have for your team for the remainder of this year? What are your long-term goals?
Our team (along with other brilliant Mavens) is focusing on reinvigorating our culture. As a practice, we are at a pivotal point in our growth. Now more than ever, the People team plays a huge role in shaping the strongest elements of our culture and making it even better. We hear our employees, and we know how important culture is to their success and experience.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I’m not a big fan of absolutes, so I believe styles can — and should — adjust based on a company’s stage of growth or a person’s career. In Maven Wave’s current stage of growth, my approach with the team is democratic. My team members are my colleagues, and I value their participation in how our team is built to scale. As we implement more programs and scale with the organization, our team’s advocacy behind our initiatives is key.
What is something about you that always surprises people?
I’m a bit of a thrill-seeker. I used to pole vault in high school (very poorly, I might add), but it was such a fun thing to do. Oh, and I also love skydiving in my spare time.
Here’s another thing that often surprises people: despite growing up in Orange County, I absolutely love the snow. As a Californian-turned-Chicagoan, the first snowfall every year is my favorite. It’s pretty magical.
How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
Aside from skydiving, I love playing tennis, listening to podcasts, drinking whiskey (ask me for recommendations!), and being the fun auntie. And when we can, my husband and I love to travel (it’s been painful for us not to do so in the last year).
Rapid Question Round
- Hot dog or hamburger? Cheeseburger
- Pizza: Chicago or New York-style? New York
- Cats or dogs? Dogs
- Early morning or late night? Late night
- Creative or logical? Logical
- Math or history? Science
- Dine-in or delivery? Dine-In
- Ocean or mountains? Both
- Introvert or extrovert? Introvert through and through.
- Speed or accuracy? Accuracy
- Books or movies? Both — it depends on my mood.
- Cubs or Sox? Angels
- Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon? Seth Meyers
- Ice Cream or Gelato? Gelato
- Christmas or Halloween? Tết (Lunar New Year)
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