Meet the Crew, Pride Edition: Joe

Leanne Yenush

As we continue to explore the power of teamwork, we’re taking the time to acknowledge some of the individuals that make up our own team here at Hydrow. As Pride Month rolls on, we’re sharing interviews with some of our Hydrow teammates in a special Pride Edition of our Meet the Crew series. First up: Joe!

Meet Joe, Hydrow’s Business Operations Manager. Originally from Cleveland, Joe moved to Boston for college, remaining in the area post-graduation to build a career. Joe joined Hydrow in August of 2018 and has been an integral part of growing the team here.

Before Hydrow, you worked in a more traditional corporate setting. What prompted you to make the jump to a startup environment?

I liked the work I was doing for the most part, but when you have an employee base of 250,000, it’s hard to make a difference or drive significant changes. The idea of joining a small, young company where I could make meaningful contributions was really attractive to me. A former professor whom I TAed with put me in touch with our CEO Bruce, and the rest was history. I was certainly a little nervous about coming to a startup. Would I have job security? What would my role look like? A colleague gave me advice that stuck with me: consider this an opportunity that not only could work, but will work. That moved me, and that’s how I’ve been operating ever since.

What’s the biggest difference?

At Hydrow, it doesn’t feel like I’m looked at as a number, but looked at as an individual capable of making unique and valuable contributions. I feel truly heard and respected, and I feel empowered to speak up when I have a suggestion, without the fear of being immediately dismissed. That’s really encouraging, and I think it creates an environment where everyone is more likely to progress and succeed. There’s also a really healthy emphasis on work-life balance. A lot of employers say that it’s important to them, but it’s rare to find a place that truly means it.

What is Hydrow’s culture like?

In one word? Refreshing. We have a truly welcoming and accepting team here. Not only do we feel safe and comfortable talking about ourselves and our lives openly, but we’ve created a supportive, warm environment where people feel celebrated for being exactly who they are.

How does teamwork factor into Hydrow’s culture?

I’m truly in awe of how collaborative this team is. We all have different work streams, but we’re all united by a single cause. We all have our “on-paper” roles, but because it’s a startup, we’re all doing things outside our typical scope on behalf of the company. It’s never a challenge to find someone who’s willing and able to jump in and help -- no matter what you’re working on. There’s no rigid hierarchy in that sense; everyone’s equally willing to roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done in order to help us all achieve what we’re working towards.

What activities do you enjoy most?

I love to travel. I got bitten by the travel bug hard my sophomore year of college; I wasn’t going on spring break, so I decided to go to London and Paris by myself for 10 days. It was utterly incredible -- and I realized it was what I wanted to do. I continued to explore new places throughout college, traveling to Peru and Chile before I graduated. My partner Greg is equally passionate about travel, so it’s something we’ve been able to enjoy together. We’ve been to 20 countries together so far, and will have officially been to six continents together by the end of this year -- our goal is to hit all seven by the time I turn 30!

How do you select your destinations?

We don’t really have strict criteria, to be honest. There are so many places we both want to see and explore; we essentially just keep a constant eye out for good flight deals, and jump on the really great opportunities when we see them.

We’re both travel veterans at this point, and have gotten pretty adept at squeezing all the “must-see” aspects of new cities and countries into short visits. This year alone, we’ve been able to see both Rome, Dublin, Oslo, and Berlin -- in (separate) weekend trips! It’s definitely not for everyone, and takes some flexibility, but it’s allowed us to make a serious dent in our travel wish list.

We do have to be cognizant, of course, about our safety when we travel. We do our research ahead of time, and make sure we’re aware of any potential safety risks we may encounter as a gay couple, or places where we may not be welcomed. Even if those places aren’t quite there yet, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll see these places grow more accepting and welcoming in our lifetime.

What’s your favorite food?

Ramen. Literally any kind! Doesn’t matter if it’s from a hidden gem in Harvard Square or it’s a simple stove-top version at home -- I’m down either way.

Favorite workout songs (at the moment)?

Right now? “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish, “Me, Myself & I (feat. Bryn Christopher)” by Blonde, and “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers.

Have a question for our team you’d like to see answered in a future post? Tweet your questions at @Hydrow_by_CREW using #AskTeamHydrow.