Highlighting the talents and perspectives of our individual team members, our newly relaunched "Meet a Text IQer" blog series provides an insider view of the key players who drive our company.
This installment features Brandon Nieuw, Head of People Operations. Brandon graduated with a BS in Anthropology from Colby College, where he lettered four years as a member of the baseball team and was named captain by his teammates. Before joining Text IQ, he worked for Fancy.com, where he led operations for the company.
Brandon’s motivation is simple: He’s all about people.
“My role is to work with the executives on the growth of the business from a people perspective,” he explains.
Brandon acknowledges that his approach to business is distinct. Rather than honing in on growth through revenue, he notes, "I focus on growth through people and culture."
As Head of People Operations, Brandon and his team develop policies to guide and scale the culture of Text IQ while helping recruit, retain, and support team members.
“A big part of People Ops is being a resource for all the employees to make sure their experience is a positive one,” he mused. “That means ensuring they have opportunities for growth as well as the chance to contribute and be heard.”
Noting that his pull toward People Operations developed during his college years, Brandon explains, “There are two things that led me to this role -- the first is my anthropology degree, which gave me an understanding of how people and communities affect their environments and vice-versa. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to take that into account and dig deep to understand what builds a culture, what drives a culture, and what kind of culture makes a group successful.”
“The second thing that prepared me for this job was being team captain of my college baseball team,” he added. “There are lots of different personalities with varied backgrounds, and the challenge is taking a group of really different people and getting them to work together towards a unified goal.”
Brandon started his career at Fancy.com, where he spent six years leading business and people operations. After an insightful conversation with Text IQ’s founders, he was convinced to join the company in its early stage.
“Meeting Apoorv and Omar really sealed the deal,” Brandon says. “They have such a great vision for their company and truly care about their people, which is a big factor for me. I was also impressed that they had an application for their product instead of just being all show. They were looking for someone who could be a leader on the people side, and I wanted to join a start-up that had tremendous potential, so the stars aligned. Ever since then it’s been an amazing journey.”
As one of the company’s first 20 employees, Brandon has been instrumental in building Text IQ’s values, process, and policies from early on. He credits Omar and Apoorv with considering People Operations so early in the life of their start-up and for working to promote the positive and cooperative culture that exists today.
Many of the core values of Text IQ — constant collaboration, innovative curiosity, and “can-do” commitment — are rooted in a People Ops perspective underscoring shared humanity and diverse perspectives.
“We have people from 20+ different countries around the world working for Text IQ. I think it’s special that Text IQ can bring us all together,” Brandon explains. For instance, as the company created and staffed a new office in Ireland last year, Brandon was on hand to ensure the new team members felt like part of the family.
While Text IQ continues to expand, Brandon’s approach to recruiting, retaining, and supporting team members remains firmly rooted in his humble and positive attitude: He jokes, “I like to put myself in the position where I’m not the smartest person in the room. But with so many highly intelligent people here, that’s never a problem.”
With Text IQ’s persistent growth, the work of People Ops has understandably become more complex. Brandon doesn’t shy away from the added responsibilities, however. He’s focused on the successes and challenges that come along with supporting a dynamic team that is introducing new technology to the world.
“It’s definitely an exciting time to be with Text IQ,” he beams. “We see some of the biggest Fortune 500 companies utilizing our technology — how could that not be exciting?”