Let me start with a little background on myself. I am an industrial engineer, and I have focused my career on project management. I have worked in multinational companies such as Hewlett Packard, Ericsson, Johnson & Johnson, and Telefónica. Each position has been full of learning experiences, challenges, exposure to top management, and marquis companies to add to my resume. But none compare with my experience at Wovenware.
I’ve been a project manager at Wovenware for the past three-and-a-half years. The day I decided to join the team, I had two offers in my hands – the other one was at Medtronic. It was a very stressful day to say the least. I spent the whole day thinking about the pros and cons of each opportunity. I also had a 7-month baby at the time, so I was also considering the work-life balance I wanted. I had 24 hours to make my decision and I do not regret choosing Wovenware one bit.
Four months into my new career venture, Hurricane María hit our beautiful island of Puerto Rico. The whole island was without power. I lived in an apartment that did not have a power generator nor cistern for water. With a one year old, and milk still being the primary source of food, I could not stay there without a refrigerator to maintain the milk. We had an opportunity to get on a plane (which was very difficult at that time) and ended up in Florida. We spent three months living with friends and family who graciously opened their doors to help us. During this time, I continued working remotely. Wovenware never hesitated to be supportive of my decision to leave the island. Senior managers kept saying, “we are also parents, we understand what you are going through.” This made me feel much better with the guilt I had. I did not want it to appear that I was taking advantage of the flexibility they were giving me nor the feeling of abandonment I had. Life was extremely difficult in PR during those times, and I had accessibility to all the “luxuries” that we lost during the hurricane. By “luxuries” I mean water, electricity, open supermarkets, air conditioning, etc. I was able to return to the island three months later when electricity was restored at our apartment.
Today, we are going through another difficult time. This COVID-19 pandemic had brought new challenges, as I imagine it has been the same for everyone. Again, Wovenware’s leaders have gone above and beyond to make sure we are all okay at home.
We all have the flexibility to work from home, which has been a challenge in and of itself, but at least I feel safe in my bubble. Our HR department spent the first three months coordinating the most creative and cool things I have ever seen at a company. These remote activities have included things like yoga nights, disco parties, music videos made by our own employees, collages with all employees wearing our Wovenware polos or T-shirts, tie day, crazy socks day, pimp your desk day, playing Pictionary and Charades, taking ergonomic exercise online breaks, and even a care package with Gustos Coffee, a Puerto Rican Coffee, and a Greca for everyone to make a little bit of our office coffee at home. The list goes on and on.
Since the pandemic began, top and middle management meet every morning for a quick status call. Lately, we have all been asked to bring an interesting, non-business question to ask our co-workers so that we can get to know each other better. We have talked about what food we would eat for the rest of our lives if we had to choose only one; if we were able to be an expert at something, what it would be; and other very interesting questions. Last Friday, however, the activity prepared by our HR department topped all of them. The department contacted our families and made a surprise video. The families all said how much they loved us, how proud they were of us, and how we continue to be strong and successful during these difficult times, always caring about others and making sure everyone is okay. I think we all cried, but they were happy tears.
This is not a company; this is a family! It is the first time in my career that I felt I am not another employee number. I am Aixa and my opinions and ideas are valued. I am part of a great company that is growing at an exponential rate. I am part of a family that cares for me, that makes me laugh, and that I consider as true friends. How many of you can say that about your companies? I wanted to write this blog post to express my gratitude and appreciation for the company I am with today, and where I plan to be for a long time. Helping my working family grow each day, sharing innovative ideas and most of all, having fun at work. Thank you Wovenware for taking care of us, for worrying about our physical and emotional state during these difficult times, for always listening, and for making sure we continue to grow together as a family.