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Launching A Career in a Collaborative Environment

January 8, 2023

For Daniel Quintana, CEL’s Project Manager, finding work in a collaborative environment was key. Following an internship at CEL during his senior year of college, Daniel chose the company as the place he wanted to launch his career. Daniel is CEL’s project tracker, workflow manager, and customer liaison. He credits his success at his job to strong working relationships, a team that prioritizes personal and professional growth, and a safe and supportive environment.

Unlike many fully remote work environments, CEL’s team collaborates closely and knows each other well. Through a Designed Alliances process last year, each team member met with every other team member one-on-one to discuss communication styles, what works and doesn’t work in their current interactions, and how they can most effectively acknowledge and critique each other. Through this process, Daniel and his coworkers were able to develop strong, trusting relationships built on mutual respect. Daniel also says the process gave him a better understanding of other people and how to work as a team. When asked to describe CEL’s culture, Daniel says, “Everyone is fun to work with. I don’t really think there are any workplace politics. It’s just everyone doing the job and helping out when other people need to get the job done.”

Daniel loves that the combination of remote work, flexibility, and trust among team members means that he can work at his own pace and enjoy a life outside of work. This environment allows him to take classes, pursue hobbies, and have time left over to spend with his family and friends.

The collaborative environment also means that CEL team members are always encouraging and supporting each other as they step out of their comfort zones. Coming to CEL with a technical background, some aspects of project management were new for him. When he struggled with parts of the job, CEL’s CEO Tanya connected him with a mentor. When a product is subpar, the team figures out how to assist him in improving it. With this support, he has learned how to scale processes company-wide, coordinate a large group of people over a common goal, and effectively convey technical information to non-technical customers.

This strong collaboration creates a safe environment in which staff members feel confident making mistakes, testing out new ideas, and fixing errors. As Daniel says, “There is an emphasis on learning and everyone doing their best and contributing. But it’s in a safe space where there is a focus on people. No one wants to make mistakes, but when you make a mistake you’re not going to get fired. Instead, you’ll be asked, ‘How can we assist you with this?’ It’s a good culture for growth. It’s a relaxed environment, but you’re still held accountable.”

Daniels cites the pilot at Sonora Elementary as his favorite project he has worked on. He loves that the team can see the real-world impact of their work and test in real time how well the product actually works in the field. (In fact, this pilot was the first time this technology had been tested in the field!)

For Daniel, there is no better time to join CEL. He loves being at the start of something new and seeing how it’s unfolding. He says, “It’s really exciting to be on the cutting edge. The energy sector has a huge need for a product like this, and we’re the first ones doing it.” Compared to other companies, he says, “It’s not monotonous. I enjoy the fast pace. It’s fun to wear a bunch of different hats and gain experiences that you can only get in a startup.” Daniel says that working in a startup means working on projects that are being done for the first time, creating a certain level of unpredictability. For Daniel, facing that unpredictability with a team he knows will support him is invaluable.

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