Amatis Culture Series: Leave everything better than you found it

Amatis Culture Series: Leave everything better than you found it

Venture for America Detroit Director Sarah Craft weighs in on identity and community

We’ve had a lot going on at Amatis the last few months. We persevered through quarantine with financial stability, our health, strong customers and channel partners, and were able to help frontline workers by sourcing much-needed KN95 masks. 

More than ever, focusing on our people and culture is critical to success at Amatis. In May, we introduced the Amatis Target Culture with 10 principles we believe make us successful and help us thrive as a business. We expect our employees to embody, practice, and celebrate these behaviors.


Leave everything better than you found it

We invited Sarah Craft, Detroit Director for Venture for America (VFA), to talk with us about “Leave everything better than you found it.” To us at Amatis, Sarah is an inspiring community leader, builder, and advocate for social change.  We’ve observed Sarah embodying this principle in her various accomplishments in advocacy and community building in Detroit. In Sarah’s current post at Venture for America, she finds and places top entrepreneur talent nationwide with Detroit startups, creating economic opportunity for Detroit while equipping new grads with the skills and resources they need to join the workforce. Sarah sat next to us at Bamboo Detroit for quite some time, and helped us recruit two amazing VFA fellows, Rana and Nick.

We’re also inspired by Sarah and the team at Pay it Forward, who began grassroots fundraising during quarantine to enable Detroit Black-owned restaurants to provide meals to the homeless sheltering at Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO). In an email to donors, Sarah addressed how initiatives like this one fuel a much bigger cause.

“This initiative was just a short-term fix. In a city where the median annual income for Black residents is $18,000, homelessness will persist. Black-owned restaurants will face barriers their White counterparts will not confront. In fact, a recent study showed that low-rated restaurants in White neighborhoods see higher growth than high-rated restaurants in Black neighborhoods. In order for our city to recover and thrive, we need to change all of this.”

Sarah shared her philosophy on Identity and Community and how they fit in the workplace. Basically, in order to leave everything better, Sarah encouraged us to make sure that we approach that in context to ourselves and to the Amatis community. 

“In order to leave everything better than you found it, you have to understand who you are and where you come from but also who your colleagues are and where they come from,” Sarah shared. “And you have to understand what your fit is in that community, whatever that community is. Often times we don’t think of our workplace as our community.”

Sarah shared a Venture for America mantra “Be generally helpful.” This got our team asking – how can we be this way if we’re overcommitted?

“Just do it, go the extra mile,” Sarah shared. “In order for you to have that ownership, you have to have ownership over yourself, you have to have ownership over your role, and your community at large.”

Sarah joined the Amatis team for a video call to chat about culture and her journey building community and advocacy in Detroit. 

The math agrees

In typical Amatis fashion, we immediately turned this concept into a data story so we could measure effort vs impact. 

Imagine you made anything in your life or at work 1 percent better every day for 100 days.

Super cool chart credit: Miles Hill, Engineering Manager

Each day is not just one percent, it’s a compounding 1 percent, i.e. day two is 1 percent better than 1.01 of day one. This works in reverse if you’re paying down your mortgage. 

The chart wasn’t the only outcome of talking with Sarah – we had team members reflecting on their work, acknowledging habits to update, and proposals for new ideas come flooding in.

Thank you, Sarah, for this week’s inspiration!


The Amatis Team