Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

Meet The Dream Team Behind the Scene: Introduction

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Welcome to the “IB Backstage” series! In celebration of InnovatorsBox’s 6th year anniversary that’s coming up in November 2021, we are highlighting the stories of our incredible team members.

From August to December 2021, we’re opening the curtains for you to see the “IB Backstage” and meet us behind the scenes.

Thank you for being part of this journey with us and we look forward to sharing many more years of learning and growing as innovators together! 

When you have fun, you can’t help but grow. 

I have always longed for finding a dream team who I enjoyed working with and could grow alongside. I wondered, ‘what would it be like to be part of a team where you can celebrate being you, get to work on meaningful projects, and be able to challenge yourself beyond your comfort zone’. Not only that, but also knowing that others have your back and you can truly lean on when needed. Is that truly possible? I have read about it, heard wonderful things about it, but never had I really been part of such a team in a consistent way through my former jobs. I had friends, mentors, peers, and teams – and while collectively those help you grow in many ways, but I never had ‘a dream team’ consistently. So, I wondered… How can you build this coveted ‘psychological safety’ in the workplace that is truly ever-changing?

But as I continue honing my craft as a creative culture and leadership coach, I realized how humbling this journey of building a dream team truly is! Is it created overnight? No. It also isn’t created by pushing flashy marketing graphics or billboards. Nor is it done by adding kombucha on tap, introducing fancy board games, or by furnishing the office space with cushy sofas and ping pong tables.  Sure, those are nice and often welcomed additions – however, those rarely come handy when people are fearful of speaking up, sharing ideas, challenging each other, and showing up as who they are.

It is created by being intentional about what you do, what you don’t do, and how you engage in every single conversation, interaction, and exchange you have with one another.

What are you doing that helps people encourage each other to be who they are and shine in their best strengths? 

How do you build the dream team? 

I’m still learning. And all the things that I’ve learned in my journey to where we are as a team has been truly humbling. Building a great team is anything but a breeze, as any earnest leader will tell you. I have made all the mistakes that I, as a leader I am today, would want to avoid in my early days of building InnovatorsBox. And I am deeply thankful to all my friends and the colleagues from those early and humble days for their patience and persistence in helping me be the better leader I am today.

The challenge of building a new culture and company from scratch is that everything you do becomes a signal and an affirmation. However, it isn’t until more time passes that you realize your one careless comment may have led to hurt. Or that in taking so much pain from others, telling yourself to ‘suck it up’, that you faced burnout yourself. I thought that I was being clear and thoughtful, but in hindsight, I realize that I was still expecting too much and in the process, not helping my team learn how to grow in the early years. I also thought I had clear communication boundaries but I didn’t know how to tell others that just because I tend to overwork and work at odd hours, as a Founder, it shouldn’t mean that my team needed to work around the clock too.

Building InnovatorsBox and the team we have today has been one of the most humbling and enriching journeys. And we’re not done yet. There is still a magnitude of things yet to be learned on how to do better for the sake of my team. There are so many things I can learn to do better to support their well-being. And as we remind ourselves about our journey as an innovator, there is so much I get to carry back to my clients, communities, and myself in this process.

This is why, I’m deeply humbled to be where we are today. 

In November 2021, InnovatorsBox will be 6 years old

What a milestone! What started as an idea of helping more people to be creative has become a journey of empowering people around the world and building a global dream team. We have so much more to still learn and improve upon. But to be where we are today and to dream where we could go tomorrow have only been possible because of the people we have in our team. 

This is why, in the next five months – from August 2021 to December 2021 – I would like to introduce you to my team! Yes, every month, I will introduce you to four to five friends at InnovatorsBox who I have an honor to work with! I’m going to ask them questions. There are some questions I’m personally curious about and I think through those questions, you’ll enjoy getting to know them from a different lens as well. Most importantly, I hope these stories remind you how you are not alone, and that your voice and story matters. 

Like everyone, COVID has been a difficult year for us. Our revenue plummeted 90% and we’re still working our way back up. But we’ve pivoted. We’ve listened. And we’ve grown in capacity, capability, and in talent. Our team has tripled and we’re growing even more. And while our team is remote and part-time due to the structure of our workstyles, every single team member is key to who we collectively are at InnovatorsBox. None of them leave my thoughts as we work on new client projects, revisit community projects, and explore new creative initiatives to help upskill and reskill the global workforce with creativity. 

I feel so lucky to work with such amazing beings. How we work hard, play hard, imagine possibilities, and make more dreams a reality is incredible and humbling. 

I feel so blessed that InnovatorsBox has been the perfect excuse for all of us to come together and make an impact. And I can’t wait for you to get to know them more too.

Thank you for being part of this journey. 

And thank you team, for coming with me on this journey together. 

Starting this week, we will start featuring incredible stories of our team members for you to get behind the scene ‘sneak peek’ into who they are, what drives and motivates them, why they do what they do, why creativity is important to them, some fun facts about them and more. Not only that, but our team members will also share their tips… from how they decompress while under stress, advice they’d give to others in the same space (or not), and lessons they learned through their journeys as innovators.

So, stay tuned. We’ll be sharing the first story on Aug 6th, then on each Monday after that.

We can’t wait to welcome you to our “IB backstage”.

Love,
Monica Kang

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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