[How We Hire] A commitment to learning for campers and staff

Published on: Sep 13, 2019

galileo values

Each summer, over 30,000 kids enroll at Galileo Camps, designed to nurture young minds and foster the next generation of innovative problem-solvers. As Association Director of People Operations, Viva Asmelash helps recruit the 3,000 seasonal staff who come aboard to help run those camps, as well as staff for their year-round HQ offices in Oakland, SoCal, and Chicago. She also co-manages Galileo’s Inclusion & Diversity Initiative, which was recently featured in B the Change, the official magazine of the organization that established B Corp standards.

Something people love about working here: For one, our teams love that we truly live out our mission and values at every level. At Galileo, our mission is to develop innovators who envision and create a better world: That’s the outcome for the 30,000 campers and 3,000 staff who join us each summer, as well as the range of industry professionals on our year-round headquarters team, who enjoy endless professional development opportunities. Combined with a true commitment to equity, high-functioning colleagues, an ever-present familial vibe, and a playful environment, our people feel Galileo is a true home. 

Something we listen for in an interview: Our hiring philosophy is inspired by and firmly rooted in our core company values. We view the initial call as the beginning of a conversation about the ways a candidate has exhibited Galileo values: being visionary, courageous, collaborative, determined, and reflective. Once we’ve identified mission and values alignment, we dig in to learn more about specific skills and interests, and go from there. We seek any and all ways to say yes to great candidates, which includes considering candidates for all current openings, not just the one they applied for.

One way we help new hires succeed: We try to be intentional in all things at Galileo, including onboarding. When it comes to summer staff, we have a robust training program that combines position-specific online tutorials with in-person team-building. That second piece is really important, since our camp teams need to form cohesion quickly in order to truly rely on one another in creating a summer of fun-filled learning for both campers and each other. When it comes to our HQ team, we take care to create a warm welcome for new team members; we’ve found that small touches like a personalized welcome poster and a company-wide introductory email go a long way! We also have a program which pairs new hires with a veteran employee (usually a cross-functional colleague) as a personal and professional mentor. That program has a major impact on new staff. 

How we advance staff diversity: Creating welcoming spaces for campers and staff has always been part of our ethos. In 2017, we launched our internal Inclusion & Diversity Initiative. We believe that building a diverse team begins with an inclusive environment, where a full range of campers and staff can thrive – across race, the gender spectrum, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. This is why we’ve invested in an ongoing education and engagement plan on inclusive practices. Every year, our HQ team attends 6 to 8 education sessions, keeping our commitment to inclusion top of mind, and effecting true change.

Something cool we do to support staff: One of the most incredible things about working at Galileo is our commitment to professional development, and one key to that is the employee-manager relationship. Every single person at Galileo has a weekly one-on-one check-in with their manager where the employee drives the agenda: a time to discuss current projects, long-term goals, growth, and more. This truly puts each person in the driver’s seat regarding their development, with a manager whose goal is lifting you up so you can achieve your potential. Not many organizations invest this sort of time in ongoing development, and our teams value that.

Why our office is great: Our offices are filled with summer camp spirit all year: warm, inclusive, and fun. It’s not unusual to see people wearing camp swag – like a banana suit – on a random Tuesday, a camp prank (balloon-filled office, anyone?), a trio of staff working on a puzzle over lunch, or a few “Gali-dogs” running around shared spaces. You’ll also see inspiring reminders of our mission and values. Our teams can’t help but feel like their best, most authentic selves at HQ.

Galileo is a certified B-corp that operates 70-plus camp locations throughout the Bay Area, Southern California, and Chicagoland, featuring programs designed to give kids the skills and experience to become courageous, solution-oriented innovators. You can learn more about Galileo through their website, or by following them on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.