Tanaz Mody has a passion for making employees feel supported. After years recruiting for big name companies like Google and Bloomberg, she has found her new focus: helping startups build company cultures that can be celebrated.
But her journey hasn't come without bumps along the road. Find out how Tanaz tackled big changes – both in her personal life and at her company – and how she has found support in a network of hardworking moms. Then, stick around for her #1 career tip.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Tanaz Mody
Head of People Operations, Aaptiv
New York City, New York
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
I studied hospitality and fell into a HR management training program when I graduated college. The training program took me through a broad overview of all aspects of HR. When I completed that program, I decided to focus on recruitment. I worked at a large law firm doing legal recruitment and served as an HR Generalist before moving over to Google to do technical recruiting.
Following Google, I spent some time in recruiting at Bloomberg where I got exposure working on a number of newer, smaller divisions that were being built up. This is how I got the startup bug. When a startup appeared on my radar, and I was presented with an opportunity to shape their HR department in a way I believed it should look and feel, I jumped! This opportunity rejuvenated my passion for HR. I was not only finding the right people for the right roles, but I was helping them grow and develop. Recruiting is and always will be the core piece of the puzzle toward creating a great internal team. However, you can't just find these folks; You must foster a supportive environment too. And that's why you must have an attentive HR approach and superb HR team.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
My proudest accomplishments come from helping to scale businesses through the connections employees make with one another. You don't just create culture or growth through the events you host. Rather, you bond together and excel through overcoming obstacles and tackling challenges. Even after you reach milestones, you'll need to continue to gear up for how to scale processes while retaining your company's identity and sense of individuality.
To reach new heights, you can't be afraid of change. It's inevitable and it's good. It's my job and my team's responsibility to inject the right perspective and explanations for the changes the company may be enduring at any given moment in time. We must revisit how we do things and introduce new ideas while still making sure that our colleagues understand why we're doing it.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
Change, especially new ways of thinking, can be easier said than done. We need to continue to evolve our thought process about company culture the same way we think about improving our product. For example, if we can think analytically about the functionality of an app, we should also be considering how we function as a whole in a similar manner.
As Aaptiv grew, nearly doubling in size from last summer to this one, we thought about the gaps in our communication and how we could potentially fill them. What worked in the past wasn't necessarily the right choice anymore.
For instance, our quarterly town halls led by our CEO were always popular, but these big-picture updates were happening too infrequently. By the time they occurred, too much had changed, and we could no longer cover everything going on across the company. Instead, we decided to introduce a more recurring schedule for updates from management at weekly all-hands meetings, while also opening up the format to other voices from different departments. This method has proven to be more effective for us where we are today.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
There are two women in my life who provide me with counsel when I need it. They're going through similar situations, balancing careers with kids, and I can turn to them at times when I need. Although none of us work in the same field, our lifestyles, mentalities, and the challenges we attack are similar. I've found that it's good to get outside perspectives. These friends have helped reinforce in difficult times that just because I have kids doesn't mean my career has to take a backseat. I can do it all and I can do it now!
What do you do when you're not working?
I work out, spend time with my family, and do my best to find time for reading. Oh, and I love cleaning. I always find time for that.
If you could have dinner with one famous person—dead or alive—who would it be?
Ellen DeGeneres. She's genuine and always strives to see the best in the world and in people.
Lightning Round: What is your karaoke song?
"Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid. Probably because I was a swimmer in my past life.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
I have two tips: don't make excuses and work hard. The rest will fall into place.
Why do you love where you work?
I could probably perform this role anywhere, so as cliche as this sounds, the people here are what makes it so unique. To do a job to the best of your ability, you should look forward to the work you do and a big component of that joy stems from who you're doing the work with.