With every job, there is always a “why?”
Why do you want to work here? Why now? When our employees were asked these questions several weeks into their engagement with Chef Koochooloo, their answers were nothing short of inspiring. The answers we gathered included a combination of wanting to work with kids, helping create content, building resumes, and seeking opportunities to professionally develop. The combination of developing skills and working for a greater good animated the reasons why our team exists. Looking through the responses we received, the common thread seen amongst every intern as to why they came and why they stayed was the company mission.
Here are examples of our why’s:
Jacklyn Wang, Illustrator Intern:
“I did not have much experience in illustration or any background in UX/UI as it was not offered at my university. As I found my way into the field at Chef Koochooloo, I found a passion for game design and working with a team to plan out the logistics from a behind the scenes perspective.”
Dr. Ksenia Korobkova, NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Curriculum Designer, and Product Researcher:
“We are a small startup, therefore, we all have access to the diverse and high level learning experiences ranging from research, product management, fundraising, business development, and design.” She also emphasized the value of contributing to a culturally affirming education initiative during a time we are reckoning with injustice and unrest.
Gabriela Wiborn, Project Coordinator:
“Amidst a global pandemic, I felt it was important for educators like myself to take a leading role in educational delivery. I applied to Chef Koochooloo because I wanted to be a part of the solution in helping keep education interactive and connected during a time in which we needed each other the most. I stayed because I was inspired by my coworkers who were here for the same reasons as me and forever grateful for the impact I was making at a small company for children everywhere.”
Dovlatt Dashtaki, Teacher-in-Residence, Translator, and Content Creator:
“Chef Koochooloo is a place where I can be true to myself and my beliefs. I am not only trusted but also respected and given the opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas without judgement. This team truly brings out the best in themselves and others and we work collectively in order to build a company that will make a lasting positive change in the lives of everyone no matter how young or old.”
Daniel Lin, UI/UX & Character Designer:
“I was looking to build my resume and gain more experience with graphic design and illustration when I came across the Chef Koochooloo job listing. During quarantine, it became a goal of mine to start eating healthier and saw the potential for the future market in creating an app that teaches kids about healthy, sustainable eating practices.”
Jennifer Kim, Visual Designer:
“I joined to expand on my knowledge of UI/UX and gain some real world experience. Within a couple days of work I had already learned so much about the creative process and collaborating in teams.”
Gayathri Prasanna, UX/UI Designer:
“I have been given multiple responsibilities to shape up a better version of myself, not only as a designer, but to understand the product as a whole at Chef Koochooloo. The speed at which learning takes place is at a rapid pace. Being in a community of awesome, dedicated people brings out the best in you. So I’m grateful for this opportunity and, I hope this will be a stepping stone in starting my career.”
Layla Sabourian, Founder and CEO:
“Since the initiation of my startup, I had a strong vision and mission, and I believe that is the reason why I have been able to attract funding. I was having a very challenging time, however, competing with Facebook, Google, and the thousands of other successful startups for attracting and retaining the talent in Silicon Valley. Since the pandemic, I feel that many people have started to reevaluate their values and purpose in life, which has led a pool of new talent to come towards us. I simply love my new team, the amount of respect they have for me, humanity, and our mission. Also with the challenges in regards to schools, now more than ever, people can benefit from our solution if we can have a successful pivot to an online learning tool. I saw this pandemic as a sign from the Universe that we have to keep going, and what we are doing is more important than ever.”
Finally, Jenny Davis, Executive Assistant and newest hire:
“Every one of us undergoes risk-taking, on small scales. Start-up businesses seek to make an impact by standing firm in what their mission is while cultivating a work environment that supports its intention. They have the chance to make change happen, while also taking care of each other within, so that it can continue to sustain itself. I believe in what Koochooloo represents, for kids and educators. I believe in teaching kids, in creative ways. And would like to help.”
During this time of uncertainty due to the ongoing global health crisis and social unrest, team members found there to be no better time to expand on their work experience and do so in a field they were passionate about. Many of our team members found that working at a small startup, gives young people who are new to the workforce, the opportunity to see the many different sides of a company, find their passion, and develop their skills. We came to Chef Koochooloo because we saw the value in a product that is culturally affirming, diverse and holistic. We stayed because we believed in the mission behind the product.