Where are you headed? How will you get there? Why does that matter?
It’s normal to wrestle with these questions. But where do you take them? For our team, there’s nothing quite like sitting down with our Founder, Clay Mathile. Here’s what Jennifer Rohren (Marketing Coordinator), Dave Dunaway (Business Advisor), and Ashley Mercs (Intern) learned from a recent lunch with Clay.
What did it feel like to sit down with Clay?
Jennifer: As with many organizations, Clay believes his people are the most important asset. So these lunches gave him an opportunity to connect with Aileron’s employees, and an opportunity not only to share our gratitude for Clay’s generosity but also to connect with the founder’s vision he established for Aileron.
Ashley: In my role as an intern, my perspective is a little different. To hear what he had to go through, and how it all worked out, it shows me that he really understands the things that I am going through. He made himself—and entrepreneurship—more manageable and approachable.
Dave, you have a unique perspective because you engaged with Aileron for a long time as a client and have recently joined the Aileron team. What was it like for you to step into that room and hear Clay’s thoughts?
Dave: Aileron, along with the influence of Clay and all the people here, took me from a place where I was desperate. I mean, I thought I was going to lose my business—so I owe him and this place a great debt of gratitude. So I’ve asked him, what can I do to help? And he encouraged me to pay it forward and to help others out when I can—because he had a lot of people help him out along the way. And the thing is, I have too. But when he encouraged me to help others—I mean that’s what brought me here. That’s why I’m a Business Advisor.
How did the time you spent with Clay impact your vision of our community?
Jennifer: Clay’s four cornerstones in the founder’s vision are in such great alignment with Aileron’s strategy—and looking ahead, every aim we have is towards implementing a plan to fulfill that vision. We are going to continue to learn and provide professional management to the organizations we work with. Meeting with Clay just provided more clarity that we’re working towards the founder’s vision coming to life and fulfilling everything that he intended Aileron to do.
Dave: Everything goes in cycles. The economy has been on a good business cycle for a few years now—but I’ve heard that things might be starting to go the other way, which can make it difficult to think about the future. Something that has brought me peace of mind has been the network of people here. At Aileron you’re a part of something bigger than yourself—not just the company, but a community. And there’s great comfort in moving forward knowing that even in the uncertainty you’ve got people to lean on here.
Any final thoughts?
Ashley: There are a lot of famous founders out there that don’t have time to connect with their employees. But this opportunity has shown me that Clay cares about his original passion and his employees—he’s not just some name that you see on the website. It’s inspiring to know that the founder cares and to be given this opportunity to connect with the founder.
Dave: Meeting with Clay reminded me that the main thing is having a passion for something that you’re excited about. And if you have a passion, then just go for it and figure it out as you go. If you’re going to wait until you have all the conditions right before you act, you’ll never get anything off the ground. Follow your heart, follow your passion, and go do.
Most people get stuck in jobs that they really don’t like doing or don’t want to do, and that’s not the greatest way to live your life.
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