My Summer of Meaningful Connections

Posted by
Sterling Parker
Former Intern
09/16/2015 - 09:55

When I walked into LivePerson’s office for the first time earlier this summer, I could tell there was something different about the company. Yes, the space was beautiful, and nobody dressed in stuffy suits, but it was more than that. It was the atmosphere, the culture, and, most importantly, the people that caught my attention.

It was my second week participating in Miami of Ohio University’s Inside New York program. We had already visited 10-plus companies to learn about what it's like to work in their fields. By then, the presentations had become predictable. Almost every company conducted our meeting in a conference room at a large table or in a mini-auditorium with stadium seating. At times, it felt like sitting through lectures back at school. But when I got to LivePerson, I discovered a different way to conduct that meeting (or any meeting) — one that connects participants in a more meaningful and dynamic way. More than that, I gained insight into their truly unique culture, which was far different than any we’d seen.

I’ve always imagined meetings or any corporate gathering to be a scene out of Office Space. But it was nothing like that at LivePerson. We sat in a circle in the middle of the office. There were no PowerPoints. No lectures. For LivePerson, whose mission is to create meaningful connections, those typical meeting traits just aren’t effective. Instead, we started with a connection exercise — a practice that LivePerson uses in internal meetings with employees as well as external meetings with clients and vendors. This technique is more than an icebreaker: It’s intended to establish trust and openness with all meeting participants to fuel productivity. They even created a guide about how to make meetings more effective. Through this, I was able to make a deeper connection not only with my fellow students but with the LivePerson employees that participated in the program, too. Unbeknownst to me, that initial connection would be the beginning of my summer-long journey at LivePerson.

During that first visit, CEO and founder Rob LoCascio ducked out of his board meeting to talk to us. He told us the story of how he started the company, sleeping on a couch as he worked to build what is now a global brand with 1,200 employees. But it was his stories of failure — not of success — that resonated with me. “No one will look at you as a failure as long as you don’t quit.” He knew better than anyone that it’s okay to fail, and you will encounter hard times during your journey, but “we learn the most when we are at rock bottom.”

There were times when I failed this summer more than I would have liked, but I always remembered what Rob said and how it ties back to one of LivePerson’s core values: Be an owner. Everyone here has a slightly different interpretation of what that means. For me, it’s to never give up and to continue to work hard. While I learned so much this summer, it’s this concept of “being an owner” that I will carry through the rest of my time in college and beyond.

Now that my summer as a communications intern at LivePerson is over, I can look back on that very first visit to 475 Tenth Avenue. That feeling I got when I walked into the office prevailed until my last day. I was given every opportunity to succeed and learned more than I ever could have imagined. I formed countless relationships and gained many friends — not just coworkers. My friends at LivePerson have taught me how to succeed in the workplace, collaborate with others, solve problems, and think critically. But, most importantly, they have shown me how to be an owner and help others. They have shown me what it truly means to make meaningful connections as a LivePerson.

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