Welcome to our weekly corner: Getting to Know. Every week, we’ll take a few minutes to catch up with a Claira team member to help our readers and users get to know them better. You know what Claira does, so let us highlight the people behind the machine and what makes them an expert in workforce development through different questions. Hopefully, this will give you a glimpse into their personalities and even their competencies.
This week, we’re getting to know Elan Kawesch, the Chief Product Officer at Claira. Elan is a lifelong entrepreneur with a background as a founder and strategy consultant. He’s a native of Boston, and being a leader in SaaS is his dream job! Elan holds a MA in International Economics and Finance from the Brandeis International Business School, and a BA in Business from Brandeis University.
Why is working in SaaS your dream job?
In many traditional businesses, the depth of impact that a firm can have on society is largely capped by distribution constraints and a linear process. What is the best way to make this widget? How many widgets can I produce? Where can I send them?
But for us, the agile nature of SaaS product development allows us to respond quickly to customer needs, and we can distribute our software instantly and infinitely. Every day is different, and every day poses new and interesting challenges that I get excited about solving.
Additionally, we have the power to make measurable improvements to the lives of our customers. At Claira, every day is focused on not just putting out useful products, but also on changing the way society looks at the future of work and the crucial role that work plays in the betterment of people’s lives. We’re changing the way opportunity is distributed to talent, which is super exciting for me as a member of the team.
How has your role at Claira positively challenged your beliefs and approach to startups and business?
Before Claira, the majority of my work experience was in nonprofit, where value is measured in impact rather than return on investment and profit. Entering the startup world, I expected that everyone would only be focused on ROI. However, I was surprised to find that both internally and for many of our clients, impact on keeping their teams happy and engaged is equally important to profit.
One of my favorite podcasts is How I Built This - hosted by fellow Brandeis grad Guy Raz. At the end of each episode, Guy asks his guest how much of their success they attribute to luck, and how much to pure hustle. Every entrepreneur gives a different answer on the spectrum. For me, my experience at Claira has strengthened my belief that the answer is that you have to be prepared for luck. It takes a unique mix of grit and determination mixed with lucky breaks and privilege to succeed.
How do you think Claira will help shape the future of work?
There’s been a lot of buzz in HR and the media about the gig economy. This is the idea that in the future people won't have full time jobs, rather they will provide services on-demand. Uber for everything, in other words. I don’t think this is going to be the case universally. While certain areas of work might lean into the gig model, I think most organizations will instead look to create an internal cross-functional workforce that still shares the long term human connections that work brings. In turn, Claira is going to provide them the data they need to make informed decision to plan and make changes on the fly to best match their people to work.
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