When you think of a torchbearer, what comes to mind? The Statue of Liberty? Somebody carrying the Olympic torch? To be sure, those are valid answers. But here at SpareFoot, the word “torchbearer” applies primarily to one person: Cathy Guthrie.
As the leader of SpareFoot’s People Department, Guthrie carries the torch for our workplace culture—a workplace culture that’s been hailed as one of the best in Austin, TX. The torch’s flame was lit by SpareFoot co-founder and CEO Chuck Gordon.
“What this means is that I’m responsible for protecting this unique environment for the really special people here, even through times of rapid change and constant growth,” Guthrie said.
Aside from carrying our culture torch, Guthrie oversees recruiting, employee onboarding, career development, compensation and benefit management at SpareFoot. Guthrie joined SpareFoot in June 2014 as the first-ever vice president of our People Department.
Hard-Working and Hard-Charging
Before coming to SpareFoot, Cathy was vice president of human resources at Austin-based USA Compression Partners. The publicly traded company provides natural gas compression services throughout the U.S. Before that, she was director of human resources at Southern Union Gas Services, based in Fort Worth, TX.
Guthrie said SpareFoot is unlike any of her previous employers.
“Like many startup environments, we are highly competitive, hard-working, collaborative and innovative,” she said. “However, we are also heavily influenced by Austin, so we are very community-minded, and our team is made up of some of the coolest and most talented people—all of whom are not only invited to be themselves here but who are celebrated for their individuality.”
Open to Opportunities
Guthrie said SpareFoot strives to ensure that every one of our 180-plus employees gets the chance to be the best at whatever he or she does and, thus, help propel SpareFoot’s continued growth.
“I strongly believe that if you hire the best of the best, give those who are hired consistent opportunities to do their best work and then invest in their growth and development, those people will drive the heck out of your business,” she said.
So, what advice does Guthrie offer to someone who’s itching to be hired by SpareFoot?
1. Make Up Your Mind.
Be sure you know not only why you want to work at SpareFoot but also why you want a particular job. “Be sincere,” Guthrie said. “Don’t give some made-for-interview answer.”
2. Contemplate the Workload.
Decide whether you really want to work hard. “Yes, we have an amazing culture, but building a business is really hard work and everyone has to carry their own weight,” she said.
3. Be Authentic.
“While we are definitely looking for people who will fit in our culture, we also believe that diversity brings a certain richness to all that we do,” Guthrie said. “Just be yourself so we can see who you really are and how you might add to our already awesome culture.”
4. Consider the Culture.
“Working in an entrepreneurial environment is really different from any other type of job and doesn’t work for everyone,” she said.
5. Pay Attention to Your “Gut.”
If the fit feels right, then jump at the chance if SpareFoot extends a job offer, Guthrie said. But if you’ve got some reservations, then SpareFoot might not be the right place for you to work.
To learn about working at SpareFoot, visit www.sparefoot.com/jobs.html.
No ‘HR’ at SpareFoot
Oh, and keep in mind that we don’t employ the term “HR” here at SpareFoot. In fact, our CEO cringes when someone utters those two letters.
“Most people don’t even know what ‘human resources’ means. That title can mean so many different things to different people, but generally is pretty nebulous—or even negative—for those who have any idea at all,” Guthrie said.
Therefore, if you reach out to Guthrie at some point, don’t refer to her as our “HR director.” Just don’t.