Imagine you are driving to the Conversant Group office in Chattanooga, TN. Your GPS guides you through downtown until you realize you are in a different part of the city. It is different because all around you are new buildings, old buildings, and buildings that are under construction. On one corner there is a traditional Mexican grocer, and catty corner from the grocer is a small, family owned Chinese restaurant. Down the street is a bakery that has been in business for over 50 years and right next to that is a smoothie shop that just opened a few months ago. It is an epicenter of cultural and economic diversity, and it can all be found on the end of Broad Street, which runs through downtown.
Tucked away behind the grocer you notice a sleek grey building, with the words “Conversant Group” painted in clean lettering on the side. You drive over, park your car, and ring the front doorbell.
The door opens, and as someone welcomes you inside you take in the entry way. You immediately notice the brightly painted shipping containers, the open space, and the subtle buzz of voices indicative of busy people. Light spills in through the tall windows and reflects off the glossy concrete floors. The open office feeling continues throughout the building with spacious desks and glass doors to all the executive offices. As you walk by, people stand up from their chairs to shake your hand and introduce themselves. Then, as you near the back of the building, you walk up a flight of stairs to another office, this one with a large window overlooking the desks on the lower levels. You don’t have to be told that this is the office of the CEO, because there he is, standing up from his chair, walking over to shake your hand.
This is the culture of the company.
From glass doors that remind you that an executive is always accessible to the way people greet you, this is the mentality that drives what makes Conversant Group so unique.
When I first interviewed for my internship back in the spring, I was nervous. Having only just attained my Associate degree, and having never really had a professional job before, I was doubtful that I would be seriously considered as a candidate, but I was. I was then doubtful that I would get the position, but I did. When I started, I felt shy, because I was painfully aware that everyone knew I was coming on as an intern, and I just knew that I would feel like the outsider. Fortunately for me, that mentality is not a part of the culture of Conversant Group.
We all have different jobs, and different pay grades, and different levels of experience, but no one is treated like the “intern”, or the “assistant”. We all understand that every person, at every job level, contributes to what makes Conversant work.
That’s why we don’t have to be told that when a person walks through the office we should put what we’re doing on hold to stand up and greet them. We just know. Because without those relationships, without those people, Conversant wouldn’t have the culture which is so integral to who we are as a company.