Kambeo Hubs - Coming Summer 2022

Employee Spotlight: Nick Leonard

This month's employee spotlight features the Director of Marketing at Kambeo, Nick Leonard. Get to know more about Nick and his journey with Kambeo.

Q: What is your current role at Kambeo?

My current role at Kambeo is Director of Marketing, which is quite interesting at a small start-up. I tend to wear multiple hats, as is the case, I’m sure, with most start-ups. But watching the company grow and evolve over the last 14 months has been interesting. 

When I joined, we were known as Gigit and have since rebranded to Kambeo — a rebrand that has really seen a massive transformation not just around aesthetic and messaging but product as well. So, a big part of my role since joining has been to establish the new brand and work with the marketing team to educate the world about who we are and what we do while continuing to narrow in on our ideal audience and provide them with value.

Being that we are still quite small in size, it’s also allowed me the opportunity to work cross-functionally with the rest of the leadership team as well as the other teams, including development, design, product, and of course, sales. I’m an experiential learner, so it’s been great to be able to work with so many different departments and talented people.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about helping to market a new category product?

I’d say what I find most rewarding about marketing a product such as Kambeo is that I truly believe in what we are doing. The idea of bringing people and organizations together to help amplify and accelerate the good being done in our world is pretty amazing. 

I think we tend to focus so often on the negative news stories that make headlines, and we can go into doom-scrolling mode and get a skewed vision of the world and what’s taking place. Bringing Kambeo to the market is something that I am so sure will have a benefit beyond what I ever thought possible when I got into marketing 10+ years ago. 

We’ve created a platform where people and organizations who want to do good and give back can connect, and that connection will help to multiply and accelerate the rate at which people can help their fellow people. It sounds grandiose, but it’s exciting to be able to build messaging and marketing around the idea of doing good. And being able to share some of the amazing things that are happening in our world every single day to inspire others to do the same.

Q: Since joining Kambeo, what are some of the biggest ways you have seen the company evolve?

I kind of eluded to this in my first response, but the evolution is night and day compared to when I started 14 months ago. One of the reasons I joined in the first place was due to the vision that Kambeo Co-founder & CPO, Chris McIntosh, shared with me – and that vision is really what we’ve seen the product become today. 

Like any early-stage company, we’ve transitioned our strategy multiple times based on user and audience feedback, and so the product itself has grown immensely over the last year. And as I said earlier, when I joined the company, we were called Gigit, and we were primarily focused on providing nonprofits with a set of tools to help them do everything that a nonprofit needs to do to realize their mission. 

Today, we serve not just the nonprofit market, but we also have a powerful solution for businesses that want to give back to their communities and engage their employees with purpose. Further to that, the product now serves individuals who want to give back and make a difference where they live, work and travel by connecting them with opportunities to do so — all while tracking their social impact along the way with a cool social media type feel to it.

Q: What causes are you passionate about?

So, this might get a little personal, but there are a couple of causes that I am extremely passionate about. The first is mental health. Over the last 6 years, I’ve struggled through a number of different things (as I’m sure many have), which has been especially true over the last few years with COVID. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is for people to take care of themselves before being able to take care of anything else. It’s the old “put your oxygen mask on first” mentality. 

I think we are getting much better at talking about mental health and are starting to educate ourselves more on the importance of it and how it impacts everything we do, from work to relationships to motivation and mood management. But we’ve still got a long way to go, and I think it’s something that we need to continue talking about and incorporating more into the workplace as no employee will ever be the best version of what they can be if they are dealing with mental health issues and feel unsupported or scared to come forward and talk about it. 

The second cause I am passionate about, and ties closely to mental health, is addiction. As someone who struggled with alcohol for many years, I am one of the lucky ones who was able to find support and help. It’s been over 5 years since my last drink, and it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to deal with, but as I said, I was one of the lucky ones who is here to talk about it. I lost two friends in the same year that I quit drinking — both to addiction. 

We see it every day, and to be honest, we largely ignore it still. There is still such a stigma attached to those suffering from addiction. The word itself makes people uncomfortable. But the reality is, there are people in our lives who are struggling with it right now, too afraid to ask for help due to fear. Fear of being labelled as weak, as less than others, as unreliable, and a fear of not knowing how to live without whatever substance is fueling their addiction.

To be honest, this is the first time I’ve ever openly written about my struggles due to how I might be perceived, and there’s still that bit of fear as I write this today. But I want to be able to share this part of myself as it might resonate with someone who reads this, and maybe it will give them the strength to reach out or to take that first step towards fighting back against their addiction. 

I know something that was very powerful for me when I first quit drinking was meeting others who were very similar to me and that had been sober for many years. They were working professionals just like me, and they showed me what life could be like, which gave me hope — something that many addicts lose over time. Preventable death is one of the saddest things in this world, which is why I am so passionate about mental health and addiction as causes. For anyone who may read this and wants to chat – please reach out, as I would be happy to share more and help wherever possible.

Q: How does your workplace encourage you to give back to the causes you support?

Kambeo encourages us to give back by providing every employee with 4 paid volunteer days per year.  This is a great start to encourage employees to give back as it doesn’t require you to go outside of working hours to do so.  This becomes extremely important as we all try to balance work with life outside of work. 

Also, the fact that the entire mission is based around helping people to change the world is a constant reminder to give back where and when I can.  That’s the great thing about working for a purpose-driven organization and one of the main reasons I chose to take a role here.  I’m also excited to see how we evolve as a company and continue to encourage our employees to give back to causes that matter to them.  It’s a challenge I put forth to myself and the rest of the leadership team here at Kambeo.

Q: If you could pick one value of Kambeo’s that also aligns with your personal values, what would it be?

A company’s values are very important to me. The values of the company are often what defines the culture and, when implemented well, become a great attraction to those who share similar values in their personal lives. And this is just my theory, but I believe the key to work-life balance is being able to have shared personal and work values – this allows you to show up every day and live by the same compass. You don’t have to hide your true self when you find a company that aligns with your values. 

That all said, If I had to pick just one of the Kambeo values that align most with my personal values, it would be empathy. Empathy is something that I didn’t always have. It’s something that has developed over time and has taken quite a bit of practice — something I still strive to be better at today. I love empathy as a company value as it is a very human value, and I think companies need to be much more human. 

And what I mean by that is that we need to understand that everyone, no matter their title or salary, is human first and foremost. We all have things we are dealing with — good and bad. I think some companies (and hopefully, this is changing) expect perfection from their employees and can strip them of their humanness. They forget that people are human and that they struggle, have emotions, and have priorities outside of work. 

At the end of the day, we all cope and deal with things differently, and by incorporating empathy into my work life and my personal life, it helps me to understand things from different points of view. It helps me to understand people even if we see the world differently. Life can be difficult, and we can often make it harder on ourselves — empathy makes us kinder and more understanding. I know that’s a long-winded answer to a fairly simple question, but I believe that empathy can make the world a better place.

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