Tech Connects


Episode 8: Steven Brand, Head of Employer Brand at Mambu

Season 1, Ep. 8

Steven Brand is the head of employer brand at Mambu, a rapidly growing fintech company. Brand also has tons of fans online, including on LinkedIn, where he regularly posts his thoughts on the evolution of employer branding.  

As a term, ‘employer branding’ has existed since the 90s, and it encompasses the steps an organization can take to position itself as a great place to work. When an organization’s employer branding succeeds, it helps bring in talent that not only has the right skills, but also integrates well into the company’s culture. During our chat, Steven’s going to break down why employer branding can serve as a company’s “secret weapon,” reducing attrition and dissatisfaction, boosting engagement and productivity, and ultimately helping drive an influx of great talent.

The employer brand has the potential to impact the bottom line of an organization. When you hire the right talent, they’re more productive and more likely to stay longer because they're happier. If you’re working in employer branding, it’s important to educate those around you – especially senior leadership – about the very real impact of your work.  

But figuring out the ideal employer branding strategy isn’t something that will happen quickly. It takes time, patience, resources, and buy-in at all levels of the organization. If you’re interested in improving your employer branding, it’s key to foster a culture of experimentation around it: by figuring out what works and what doesn’t, you can eventually develop employer branding channels that work really well for your organization. 

More Episodes


Episode 12: Michael Schutzler, CEO of Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA),

Season 1, Ep. 12
Michael Schutzler is the CEO of Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA), a consortium of 1,000 tech companies working together to build a robust, equity-centered tech sector that empowers thriving communities. A 30-year industry veteran, Schutzler has keen insight into how Washington State, one of the nation’s original and largest tech hubs, has evolved over the decades—and where it might go in the future. In addition to talking about the factors influencing the growth of tech hubs at the moment, we’re also going to delve into remote work, the ways in which factors like the cost of living can seriously impact a tech community, and much more.If you work in tech, you know that Seattle, Bellevue and other cities are synonymous with tech innovation and some of the biggest names in the industry, including Microsoft and Amazon. Washington State’s tech scene also has some valuable takeaways for other tech hubs across the country. First, tech hubs, especially those on the rise, need to provide a reasonable cost of living for technology professionals and others. There also needs to be an attractive culture—people want to live and work in places that are fun. Second, tech hubs and centers of innovation can spring up in all sorts of circumstances. We might be heading into a recessionary environment at the moment, but that’s when many technology professionals decide to strike out on their own and finally get their startup off the ground. If you have enough startups in the area, founders can connect with each other and with talent, and create a meaningful community. Third, while tech hubs remain vibrant places, companies have discovered that an openness to remote and hybrid work can unlock a sizable talent reservoir. If you’re trying to put together a team of tech professionals, especially specialized ones, don’t discount how offering a remote job can help you land the talent you need.

Episode 11: Dominique Bastos, Senior Vice President at Persistent Systems

Season 1, Ep. 11
Dominique Bastos, senior vice president at Persistent Systems, is a cloud expert and three-time founder. We’re going to cover some key issues critical to companies of all sizes, including modernization and digital transformation, migrating to the cloud, and the need for diversity on teams.Modernization and digital transformation are obviously huge endeavors with a lot of moving parts. It’s a challenge even for the biggest and most well-funded enterprises. So it’s great to talk to someone like Dominique that has a substantial grasp on it. We covered a lot in that conversation, but here are just a few key takeaways: First: Startups have trained consumers to expect that companies will evolve, react, and adapt quickly. Digital transformation and modernization allows the biggest companies—some of which aren’t used to moving at speed—to accelerate their businesses and leap to meet consumers’ expectations. Second: Any company undergoing digital transformation needs to ensure there are solid lines of communication and transparency. Expectations also need to be set, and there needs to be top-down support from the highest levels. Otherwise, such a complex effort may grind to a total halt. Third: Diversity in teams is crucial. Although there’s been progress in diversifying engineering and other teams, there’s still much to be done. Adding other perspectives to the mix is crucial, because end users expect a product—whether it’s a service or app or anything like that—to reflect their world and needs.

Episode 10: Saad Siddiqui, General Partner at Telstra Ventures

Season 1, Ep. 10
Our guest today is Saad Siddiqui, who’s General Partner at Telstra Ventures, a San Francisco-based strategic growth firm. He invests in HR tech companies such as Certn and Forage, which gives him some unique insights into talent acquisition, how technology impacts onboarding and training, and the future of work itself. He also previously served as an executive at Informatica and Cisco.Here are some key points from the discussion:First, the rise of remote and hybrid work is giving companies a lot more flexibility. It’s now potentially easier to recruit on a national and international basis, as well as find the right talent. But even though there are more opportunities to find the right candidates, a company needs its hiring, onboarding, training, and workplace arranged so that new employees can integrate into the company as smoothly as possible.Second, a lot of workers miss the ability to collaborate in-person within an office. That’s a key reason why many technology professionals prefer hybrid work, where they go back to their offices a few days per week. Many companies are working on how to bring the collaboration, camaraderie, and spontaneity of the office to a virtual environment, in a way that’s not just giving a thumbs-up on Slack. Keep an eye on what tech companies are doing to make remote work more personable.Third, startups are also trying to figure out how to help businesses manage rising employee costs such as healthcare. With inflation and other factors leading to rising prices, keep an eye on how emerging companies are trying to make company spending more efficient.