“Watching the growth and watching the team develop… and come up with better ways to serve the customer, keeps me inspired and excited to see what’s next.”
Philip Graves, Customer Success Manager
Phillip spoke to one of our marketing directors in September of 2021, only two months after having joined HeadLight. They discussed why he joined HeadLight and what he appreciates about working with both his clients and his colleagues. Additionally, they talked about what it is like to be a Black man working in SAAS at a start-up.
Q: What is your job at HeadLight?
A: My job is to help and motivate clients as they transition from having purchased HeadLight to starting to add users. Part of my job is to ensure that they’re using our product to their full benefit — to make sure that we reach their defined goals.
Q: Why did you join HeadLight?
A: The mission is what made me want to join Headlight. People say that, when you do what you love, you’re never really working. So my biggest thing was being in a role where I get to have a relationship with clients. That was a big part of it.
The next aspect of it was being able to accomplish something that, to be honest, hasn’t really been done. We’re looking at changing an industry that has had a standard for a very long time.
A lot of people are stuck in jobs where they’re doing the same thing over and over again, but they’re not leaving their mark. But being with Headlight allows me to leave that footprint. I can imagine looking back ten years from now and saying ‘hey, this is now the standard and I played a part in that.’
We’re looking at a whole new way of making sure jobs are safe, making sure jobs have the right materials. So that’s the part that really grasped me. It wasn’t just, ‘I’m accepting a job.’
My decision was solely based on the fact that I get to leave something behind. And I understand the mission. And by understanding the mission, I don’t feel like I’m working every day just for paycheck. Instead, I’m doing something for the greater good.
Q: What do you like about working with the people at HeadLight and working with HeadLight users?
A: What I appreciate about the HeadLight culture and environment is, first, it’s family-oriented. Second, there is a selflessness that’s demonstrated by everybody here. In my short stint here, I haven’t had anybody not stop what they’re doing to assist me. They understand that if they can get me to the point where I’m off and running, that only pushes us further closer to our goal.
This sort of environment only breeds success. And that’s key because I want to feel confident that, hey, I can mess up and still have the support of those around me. Everyone knows we’ll get to where we need to be. And this environment allows me to push forward. It allows me to take on more projects in early stages and hit the ground running.
And, partnering with the construction industry means learning a lot from those folks and being able to ask: ‘how we can build together?’ People say that if you’re not not open to knowledge, you’ll never grow, and yes, I can teach them a whole lot about technology. I can teach them how to use our solutions. But if I don’t understand where they’re coming from or I don’t understand how they go about their daily tasks, then I’m no use to them. So, being able to be around those guys and get some of that wisdom is great.
“That’s my passion: seeing somebody take something and helping them manifest it into a bigger dream. I’m able to work with people who are putting sweat equity every day into what they do, and they love what they do.”
I’m able to turn around and give them a product that allows them to make the most of their working hours and do their work to the fullest capacity so they can spend more time at home and with their friends and families, but also do the job that they love to do.
That’s what really brings me to HeadLight.
Q: Data from 2020 says that only 11.5% of people who are in the construction industry are Black or African American. And only about 5% of the tech workforce is Black. Given those statistics, what is it like for you to be working at a tech start-up?
A: It kind of shocked me that the numbers were that low. In my region, I am seeing a good handful of minorities working in these industries, but when you look at the broader picture, there is work to be done… And HeadLight is making some headway in hiring.
To me, it’s a two sided coin. On the one side, I appreciate being in this small group, because it reflects the amount of work and time and effort that I’ve put into my career and my specialties.
But when you look at the other side of that coin, that’s a lot of weight to bear. Because you’re put in a bind where you have to overachieve in order to create those avenues for others that might come behind you. I want to make sure that the next person that comes in line doesn’t have to look at that statistic.
I feel like one of the lucky ones, honestly. Because, growing up, I saw that there were many people who possess the skills needed and who have the tools and could be a helping hand in both the construction world and the tech world. There are many people who have talents who could be adding value to these industries — they just weren’t afforded the opportunity.
So I think that those statistics will grow over time. But if I could speak to many of the companies out there looking for good employees, as we make headway through the Covid era, there are minorities out there who are ready and able to add value.
I’ve noticed that, with Headlight, it’s not about complexion. It’s more about the skills and knowledge you possess. And everybody that I’ve come across has a particular special set of skills that strengthens the HeadLight family. And that shows me that we’re in the right direction. I believe we are becoming a very diversified company. And what I’ve noticed is: people are just open to receiving knowledge which has allowed them to welcome minorities. That, in itself, is a great thing to see: something that we can be proud of as we go forward.