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Betterment’s nearly 200 employees come from all different professional backgrounds. They have no shortage of crazy stories about their previous jobs, such as sitting in the office in wet clothes after taking the ice bucket challenge, or shaking hands with Warren Buffett.

They also come from all over the world, have eclectic tastes in music and books, and heatedly debate the merits of coffee over tea, cats and dogs, and—perhaps most relevant—iOS and Android (iOS, obviously).

What Betterment employees do have in common though, is that they are taking what they learned in their former roles and applying it to building the largest independent robo-advisor.

Here, meet a few members of our team.

MarshayClarkeName: Marshay Clarke

Role: Customer Experience Associate

Hometown: Manassas, Virginia

What did you do before Betterment?
I was a Banking Analyst for J.P. Morgan Private Wealth Management.

Any crazy stories from past jobs you’d like to share?
There was a company-wide ice bucket challenge and I participated without a change of clothes—I sat in the office soaking in my suit for the rest of the afternoon.

How is working at Betterment different from your last job?
I feel like I’m rewarded every day based on my work at Betterment. We are always working on something new and innovative. I feel our clientele also understands that we are working to change the industry for the better, changing their attitudes of traditional financial institutions.

People here are amazing, cordial, and unbelievably smart. Yet, I don’t feel intimidated asking anyone questions, voicing my opinion, or even reaching out to collaborate on a project or initiative.

I also get to save vending machine money because I have constant access to beef jerky, bananas, and chips in our well-stocked kitchen!

Anything specific you’re saving or investing for right now?
My main priorities are paying down credit card debt and student loans.


team_kenName: Ken Yang

Role: Senior Designer Manager

Hometown: Rockville, Maryland

Name a piece of technology or an app that’s completely changed your life. Instagram has changed my life…for the worse. I find myself looking for the next “grammable” moment instead of just enjoying experiences. It’s never good when you visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and your first thought is, “How many likes would a photo of this get?”

What are the three things in life that are most important to you? Family, friends, and hobbies—especially hobbies. Without any of those three, life gets lonely very quickly.


AlianaMelendezName: Aliana Melendez

Role: IT Operations Associate

Hometown: Jersey City, New Jersey

What did you do before Betterment?
I worked at Oscar as an IT Engineer, and before that I worked as an assistant editor in post-production for a PBS documentary.

Anything specific you’re saving or investing for right now?
A second place that’s close to the ocean so that I can quickly get to the beach when the weather is great. More short term however, is saving for a Tesla in case my current car dies.

If you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid of studying mechanical engineering, because the worst that could happen is performing poorly and having to switch majors, which I did anyway, ha.


Ben StewartName: Ben Stewart

Role: Software Engineer

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

What did you do before Betterment?
I was a Global Market Strategies Analyst at The Carlyle Group.

Any crazy stories from past jobs you’d like to share?
Dr. Dre (the rapper) was frequently in the office since the company owned 50% of Beats By Dre headphones, prior to its sale to Apple. This led to interesting hallway encounters with his entourage and tons of free headphones.

How is working at Betterment different from your last job?
Betterment is more team-oriented, transparent, and rewarding. I love what I do!

If you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Listen to your dreams, they are smarter than you are.

“You can’t possibly imagine what the future will hold for you. It will be better than you could ever imagine.”

-Sarah Michaelson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, on advice for her past self

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Name: Sarah Michaelson

Role: Senior Marketing Manager

Hometown: NYC, baby!

How is working at Betterment different from your last job? I can bring my baby to work.

What was the last live concert you saw? A puppet show at a one-year-old’s birthday party. It wasn’t bad.

If you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be? Life is long. Let go of the past. There is a lot of stuff that happens, and you can’t possibly imagine what the future will hold for you. It will be better than you could ever imagine.


Michael BallardName: Michael Ballard

Role: Mobile Product Manager

Hometown: Needham, Massachusetts

Where did you work before Betterment? I worked at an internet company in high school, as an English teacher, then actor in a T.V. commercial and music video while freelance web developing in Japan, in nonprofits, as a consultant at NGOs in Kenya and Vietnam, as a chief technology officer of a startup, and then my favorite gig to date—Betterment Product Manager!

What are you saving for right now? To buy a piece of Chelsea in Manhattan.


Paddy

Name: Patricia “Paddy” Estridge

Role: Software Engineer

Hometown: East Sussex, United Kingdom

What was the craziest thing that happened in one of your past jobs? When I was first in Dubai at Google, the office was only eight people, and there was no reception or security desk. People came to the office constantly to ask us to remove, add, or find things on the internet. One guy even came to ask us for the satellite footage of his business being broken into. It was really hard to explain that we didn’t watch everything all the time, or control everything on the Internet.

What are you saving for right now? Retirement, and a beach house in Rio de Janeiro, just because.

If you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be? Learn to program. Seriously, I wish I’d started sooner.


Ross---IGName: Ross Florance

Role: Executive Chef

Hometown: Morristown, New Jersey

Where did you work before Betterment? I worked at Le Bernardin, in Europe for six months, and then at Per Se.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened at a previous job? There was a time when Bono and Bill Gates were fighting over who would pay the dinner check.

What are you saving for right now? An apartment with a backyard in Montréal.


Arielle-IGName: Arielle Sobel

Role: Senior Public Relations Associate

Hometown: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

What did you do before Betterment?
I was an Account Executive at a global public relations firm, Hill + Knowlton Strategies, in their technology division. My clients were Fortune 500 companies like Deloitte, CA Technologies, and Ford.

Any crazy stories from past jobs you’d like to share?
At my previous job, within the first few months, I got the opportunity to attend a new business pitch for a really large technology company. At the time I really disliked public speaking and this required me to speak in front of over 30 executives. When I walked in the room I noticed a famous celebrity sitting in the meeting and was so starstruck I couldn’t even speak.

How is working at Betterment different from your last job?
The culture at Betterment is incredible. You create your success here and I love the independence that you get. My previous job was very corporate so it’s really nice to have this freedom now. Unlimited time off is really the best perk.

If you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?
During my senior year of college, when all of my friends and I started applying for jobs, I kept comparing my potential new position and salary to that of my friends. I did end up with a great first job out of college, but now I know that everyone’s journey is different. Your career may run at a different pace than others’ and that’s okay! It’s called a career path because it’s the path made for you, and no one else.


Martin

Name: Martin Kang

Role: Software Engineer

Hometown: Tenafly, New Jersey

What’s the craziest thing that happened to you at a past job? In the height of the financial crisis, in late 2008, I was sitting on the equities trading floor of Goldman Sachs. Right before lunch time, two men in suits walked out of the elevator. The bald guy signaled to the white-haired guy to walk to my aisle. The white-haired guy walked to me, held out his hand and said, “Hi, my name is Warren Buffett.”

(This was shortly after Warren Buffett announced that he is investing $5 billion into Goldman Sachs. The bald guy, Lloyd Blankfein, was bringing Warren Buffett around the trading floors, and I was in one of the lucky aisles that these gentlemen stopped by. I thought it was pretty cool that my idol just walked up to me to introduce himself. Just a normal day at the office.)

How is working at Betterment different from your last job? As an engineer, I get to dedicate more time thinking about software, learning about software, and writing software.

What are the three things in life that are most important to you? Family, humility, and continuous learning.


Team-Monica-1

Name: Monica Hamilton

Role: Software Engineer

Hometown: South Windsor, Connecticut

Name a piece of technology or an app that’s completely changed your life. I looooove Trello. I planned my wedding with it.

What was the last good book you read? Right now I’m reading “Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. I can’t believe it took me so long to get around to it. She’s such an inspiring person.


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Name: Anthony Scarpaci

Role: Acquisition Marketing Manager

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

What’s the funniest thing that happened at a former job? I once had a business trip the week of my birthday. When I came back to the office the following Monday, I found that my co-workers had designed, printed, and adhered Justin Bieber-themed vinyl car wrap around my entire desk. Later that day, friends outside the company called me to let me know that a photo of it hit the front page of Reddit.

How is working at Betterment different from your last job? Transitioning from working at a Fortune 300 company to working at a startup has been quite an eye-opening experience culturally. There is so much contagious energy here and everybody is extremely passionate about what we are doing. It really gets me fired up!

What are you saving for right now? Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro—I’ve been eyeing it for quite a while but the recent move to NYC has depleted most of those funds.

Do you prefer cats or dogs? Dogs—but my girlfriend has a cat who I am warming up to. The cat’s name, you ask? Dark Chocolate Love Muffin. If It was my choice, I would’ve named it Vader, Boba Fett, or RoboCop (the original, of course).


experts-huang-lisa@2x

Name: Lisa Huang

Role: Quantitative Portfolio Researcher

Hometown: Orange County, California

Where did you work before Betterment? I worked at Goldman Sachs as a quantitative strategist.

How is working at Betterment different from your last job? The culture at Betterment is great. People are very helpful and very collaborative. Also, I can wear tennis shoes to work.

What was the last live concert you saw? Never been to a live concert…

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Do what you love.


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