The first time I walked into Pramata I was struck by the crimson red walls, the large Indian, elephant-god carving of Ganesh, the vase of beautifully arranged, freshly-cut flowers and the rather large, and striking Tree of Life painting that hung above a couch. The office was striking and yet calm. It had the same feeling as my Zen Buddhist temple where there is excruciating attention paid to beauty, space, and comfort. If you didn’t know better, you might surmise Pramata was either a well-appointed day spa or the office of an interior designer. Plus, the Pramata office oozes “cool.”
After having worked at Pramata for months, I inquired about where my CEO, Praful had purchased the Tree of Life painting. He responded, as though it was obvious, “Oh, Sarah painted that.” What? She did?
Sarah is our oh-so-wonderful-you-could-invite-her-anywhere, down-to-earth, capable HR and office manager. She’s been invaluable to Pramata since she joined in 2014. She isn’t just any HR and office manager; she embodies the Zen-like spirit and culture at Pramata. Plus, she does it all, from taking care of the piles of icky, but important tactical things all employees need to handle the hundreds of other day-to-day tasks that need to happen to keep three offices (Brisbane, CA, Kansas City, MO and Bangalore, India) going. Sarah is the hub, heart, and glue of the company. And on top of all that she’s creative too, an artist in fact. By the way, it was Sarah’s aesthetic that drove the design of our cool, Zen spa-like office.
In 2014, when Praful and the co-founders sensed the company was finally turning a corner they decided to take a weekend and dig deeply into Pramata’s history, purpose and shared guiding principles to define its core company values. They believed values would provide a much-needed framework to help realize Pramata’s future vision. They then turned to Sarah to use her artistic talent to reflect their freshly-minted company values:
Integrity. It’s at the core of the respect we each other, customers, partners and vendors alike. It’s key to our customers trusting us to share their confidential data with us.
Teamwork. Grounded in respect, we should always communicate clearly and directly, without hidden agendas and with a commitment to our collective adventure ahead.
Achievement. It’s what drives us. We persevere. We don’t quit and we never, ever fail to execute.
Creativity. It’s how we go about our jobs. We’re not afraid to challenge convention or do things differently; we have the courage and absolute belief that we will find a way to get the job done.
Practicality. We're flexible and look for pragmatic solutions because that's what we expect of each other and what our customers expect of us.
"I was given a blank slate, which is terrifying," said Sarah, when I queried her about the "co. values project.” I asked, “So why did you pick the Tree of Life?” She explained that for her a company is a living entity. She believed it was the most poetic way to look at a human organization, especially one like Pramata’s. She explained that she feels a certain love at Pramata, which emanates from the top, aka Praful’s deep care for the people and what the company does for its customers.
What you should also know is that when Sarah started at Pramata, she was surprised that the people she met were nothing like the hard-driving, money-focused characters she expected of a Silicon Valley start-up. She found it to be profound that the company cared about doing a good job and making customers happy. I’ll translate here, if you go after mastery and employ care, the money becomes secondary, rather than say, “let’s make a lot of money, fast.” So off she went to create our Tree of Life, a representation of beauty, strength, and longevity. Sarah artist’s statement says it all.
“When I contemplated the five core values I began to visualize the company as a living entity. An entity that has grown and prospered through living by these key values. One of the most powerful and ancient symbols is the Tree of Life. In deciding to represent Pramata with this beautiful symbol, I was able to see all of the core values as part of the whole, and how the interconnectedness of these values create something greater than its parts.”
Integrity = Roots
Teamwork = Hands clasped
Achievement = Growing branches
Creativity = Flowers and leaves
Practicality = Sun, water, and air