Humans of Lob is a project dedicated to getting to know our Lobsters on an individual level. For our ninth entry, we sat down with our VP of People, Anne Wylde Serpente.
I grew up in a very small farming town in Central Pennsylvania. I’m the oldest of three girls and had a really lovely upbringing, with lovely parents and wonderful sisters. But I do always remember wanting to leave my town and having dreams of living in a city. I think that dream drove me to all the things I did from there!
I had some former colleagues who were working at Lob and they brought me in! What really drew me into Lob was the employee experience. When I chatted with the team, they talked all about the employee experience that we were trying to create. The fact that we're not trying to be like every other company in the Silicon Valley, but genuinely trying to create a place where people can learn, grow, and have meaningful professional developments as well as creating an environment of high performance and encouraging people to be their authentic selves. The people's mission is what really drew me in initially, but now I’m passionate about the problem-solving aspect that is very relevant in our industry.
Well, we've grown a lot since I first started! I joined with about 80 people on our team, and now we’re over 200! But the culture hasn’t actually changed. We went from having a fully in-office team to now being mostly virtual. Although I don’t see them in person as often, I still have those close relationships with lots of people throughout the company. I'm just realizing, as we're talking about this, all the things that have changed in my life since I started out Lob. I moved from San Francisco and had my second child, a lot has changed in my life since I started too!
I would have never thought I’d land in HR. I think a younger version of myself would have thought HR was all about rules and compliance. I think what surprises me about this job is just how creative I get to be! How much I get to support people throughout Lob in everything that they do at work, and frankly, outside of work too. Another thing that I really enjoy that may have surprised an earlier version of myself is just how analytical the role is. There is a lot of data that we have at our fingertips, and I spend a lot of time on that data to inform how we attract great talent & create a world-class employee experience.
When the team gets to design experiences, whether that is with prospective candidates or experiences for our team! Designing the experiences that people have throughout the recruiting process allows us to use a lot of creativity. Whether it be by designing training sessions or the different parts of the employee experience like benefits or events, a lot of the creativity comes in there.
A really significant life experience was when I taught Middle School special education outside of New Orleans. I think that really is what drew me to the educational side of working on a people team. It wasn’t that much of a prospective change, but more so, reaffirmed my belief in what is possible within every single person, when given the right tools to succeed.
One of my favorite things to do is hang out with my girls. They just crack me up! They're so fun to spend time with. Clara is four and Charlie is eight months. Clara is a risk-taker, she loves the monkey bars at the park, puzzles, and she’s learning to swim! Charlie adores Clara, they just cuddle up together. Another one of my favorite things to do is to hike. I really enjoy short hikes, spending time in nature. Sometimes I’ll be listening to podcasts, or talking on the phone. Sometimes I go with friends or my husband, but a lot of the time I hike on my own. When I was on maternity leave, when we were in the early baby phases, I would hike every single day with Charlie strapped to me which was really nice. I also love going out to eat and trying new restaurants. San Francisco has a lot of really good pizza restaurants. That's always a favorite.
One thing that I'm continually surprised and impressed by and that brings me a lot of joy are the people at Lob. It's a collection of really smart, hard-working, funny, and quirky people. The fact that Lob’s core identity and personality continues to shine through even in a virtual world, where people think it might not, really says something about our culture.
I think I would be an expert chef. Because I really enjoy cooking. I like baking even more. But I love good food. I’d love to be able to look in my fridge and say “oh this would be good with this” and know what pairs well together. I would love not to rely on a recipe, but be able to create things on the spot. So I think it'd be so cool to just know that much about food and flavors.