Leaders love feedback


Cory von WallensteinIntelligent.ly Exchange’s fifth cohort kicked off with a bang when our partner, Cory von Wallenstein arrived as our first guest speaker last week. Cory was an instrumental leader at Dyn for six years, and recently launched a new startup, Adored, a customer loyalty app that’s revolutionizing the mobile rewards experience. Cory’s aptitude for embracing failure as a learning experience has helped him to become a model leader. The sixty minutes we had with him flew by, so here’s his advice in a nutshell:

Enjoy failing, enjoy learning: Cory’s humility in spite of his success stems from his failures. Instead of shying away from his mistakes, Cory has embraced them, leveraging what he’s learned to become a stronger and more impactful leader. You may be wondering why this guy is so gung-ho about failure. The answer’s simple—feedback. After every conversation with his team, Cory requests feedback so he can become the best version of himself, both personally and professionally. Rather than playing the blame game, he points the finger inward and asks himself how he can do better by his organization and his team.

CVW Fireside ChatI’m too busy” is the ultimate fallacy: According to this HBR article, the majority of managers “squander their time in all sorts of ineffective activities.” Leading is all about the people, Cory says, so it is a leader’s job to engage the team—no matter how busy they are. This means being crystal clear about what the priorities are, understanding what motivates each team member and how they define success, and not allowing procrastination or distraction to get in the way. Aligning their team with high-priority goals and helping each person understand how their role connects to the shared vision is the most important role effective managers share. Cory urges leaders to make time to discuss with each person their version of success and concrete steps they can take to achieve their goals.

And his actionable advice that everyone can do tomorrow to be a more effective leader?: “Have an impromptu 1:1 conversation with a team member about what drives them and how they define success. Open the door to more dialogue.”

5 Boston Companies With Innovative Employee Benefits

It’s no secret that it’s hard to find talent, and it can be even harder to retain great people once they’re on board. To keep a tight grip on star employees, companies have to get creative with benefits, creating a fun and engaging work atmosphere. We’ve already seen how many are providing professional development opportunities to their teams with Intelligent.ly classes. Check out tons of other ways Boston companies are innovating in the realm of employee benefits to create amazing work environments.


Dyn-logoWhen feeling stressed, the employees at Dyn, a company offering managed DNS and email delivery, can receive free chair massages, or even take unlimited paid time off when they really need a break. The company works to promote education, fitness and health, recycling, and more with other employee benefits. Some of their most unique benefits include a fully stocked kitchen, a lounge with video games, table games like Foosball and ping pong, segways, and even two beer taps! It’s no wonder they’ve received numerous awards for their strong company culture.


carbonite-logoCarbonite, a company providing automated electronic backup and storage based in the cloud,  is another company focusing on culture and employee satisfaction. It’s been named as one of the Boston Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for three years in a row. They have a huge spread of benefits, including gym discounts and wellness plans, commuter benefits plans, stock options, and up to 20 days of paid time off. In addition to the more traditional benefits, Carbonite also offers free snacks, incentive games between employees, and an XBox gaming station with a new game every month.


HubspotlogoHubspot has been burning up the headlines lately, and was recently rated one of the best places to work for recent grads by Experience. According to their Culture Code, “Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing.” One unique aspect to their culture is they pay for any employee (on any level) to have lunch or dinner with someone they admire. They let their employees work when, where, and how they want, and they even just installed a wall of candy.


communispace_logocolor_tmoutlinesThe careers page on Communispace’s website has a simple slogan: “Beards. Trivia. Cupcakes.” The company promotes working hard with the idea that activities like team trivia and bake-offs will bond employers and drive them to continue and love their work. As a result, the associate community manager describes, “the energy is palpable” and employees are excited and committed to the company.

Constant Contact

constant-contact-logo-horiz-color-300dpiConstant Contact works to connect small businesses, associations and nonprofits with potential clients and customers. In 2012, they were recognized as the “Company of the Year” by American Business Awards. Their employee benefits include pet insurance, tuition reimbursement, stock options, and more. The company combines a competitive, innovative environment with fun events such as beer cart fridays and bashes for milestones. A tier 3 tech support specialist is quoted on their website describing, “I enjoy working at Constant Contact because we have a fun atmosphere with a focus on innovation, technology, and NERF gun fights.”

So there you have it; five great companies that are innovative in their employee benefits. What exciting benefits does your company have? Let us know in the comments!