Meet the Crew, Pride Edition: Andrea

Leanne Yenush

We’re back this week with another Pride Edition of Meet the Crew. Next up, meet Andrea, Lead Software QA Engineer at Hydrow.

What led you to Hydrow?

I had just finished my masters in Exercise Science, and was actively looking for a job. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do, but knew that I wanted to combine my focus on public health, my love for sports and fitness and technology, which I had worked in before I went back to school.

I actually heard about Hydrow in a bit of a roundabout way. My fiancée Katie heard about Hydrow when her then-boss’s partner was interviewing for a role here. I immediately thought, I need to work in that type of environment. They didn’t have any openings at the time, but I submitted my cover letter and resume anyway. I interviewed shortly thereafter, and fell in love with the team, and what they were aiming to accomplish. I started out working in operations and customer support for our beta app, but eventually made the switch to Quality Assurance (QA), and have been doing that role ever since.

You joined Hydrow in June of 2018. What has it been like to watch the company grow and evolve over the course of the past year?

It’s really incredible. It’s been so awesome to see the growth we’ve experienced in such a short amount of time. Sometimes I walk in here and it almost doesn’t seem possible. I mean, when I started, Hydrow didn’t even exist yet -- we had this crazy-heavy, clunky prototype that we used to do demos on. To now see Hydrows “in the wild” in actual customers’ homes is just amazing.

We’ve changed so fast -- but somehow we’ve managed to maintain that same excitement and drive of a 10-person company. We’re still working towards that same goal, but now we have more power to accomplish it.

What is Hydrow’s culture like?

Even before I started working here, I got the feeling that this was a really open and welcoming environment. Before this, I never felt like I could bring my whole self to work. This is the first place I’ve worked where I’ve been out, so that was special in and of itself. But even before I said anything to anyone, my colleagues were open and upfront about their own lives, so I immediately felt at ease here.

Differences are celebrated and encouraged here -- and that includes diversity of thought. It’s not just a company full of super athletes; it’s a team of people who are all wildly different from one another, who have varied interests and strengths, but share a passion for building this machine and this community, and bringing it to people everywhere.

How does teamwork factor into Hydrow’s culture?

The teamwork that drives the software team is really remarkable. Sometimes, QA and engineers can butt heads, but here, I’d actually describe it as more of a fun challenge -- there’s a mutual understanding that what we each contribute is really valuable, and a shared respect for our individual roles/functionality. QA doesn’t always get valued, but here, it’s considered a vital part of our process, and a critical arm of our team, which is wonderful.

At the end of the day, we all have so much invested in this. It’s not just our time and energy, but our emotional connection to this product and what we’re doing. You can’t really work at a startup and only invest part of yourself -- there’s no 9-to-5 here. I think so much of what makes this place incredible is that willingness everyone has to work towards making this a success.

What have you learned during your time here?

I’ve learned a tonne. The guidance that my mentors and colleagues have given me has allowed me to do, try and explore so much, and given me the opportunity to create my own path forward. I found an environment that truly does allow me to combine each of my passions in a totally unique way, and it’s made me very happy.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I love to play football, and I actually just started to learn how to row. I’m out on the Charles twice a week in the morning before work -- it’s hard work, but so much fun. We also love to explore Cambridge, and take our dogs (Milo and Scout - both rescues) for walks.

What’s your favourite food?

Mexican, for sure. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never get sick of it. Cambridge is definitely a hotbed for good Mexican restaurants, so there’s no shortage of options around here to explore. Favourite songs (at the moment?)

Maggie Rogers, Give a Little | Rilo Kiley, Silver Lining 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.