ELEVATE 2023 Career Fair Kickoff – Employer Intro – Vannevar Labs (Video + Transcript)

June 7, 2023

Breanna Carodine (People Operations Specialist at Vannevar Labs), Caitlin Stangland (Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Vannevar Labs) and Ann Zeng (Software Engineer at Vannevar Labs) talk about the company’s culture, values, and mission, as well as the opportunities for growth and development within the organization.


Breanna Carodine (People Operations Specialist at Vannevar Labs), Caitlin Stangland (Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Vannevar Labs) and Ann Zeng (Software Engineer at Vannevar Labs) talk about the company’s culture, values, and mission, as well as the opportunities for growth and development within the organization.

VANNEVAR LABS combines top software engineering talent with decades of mission experience to get state of the art technology to the people that keep us safe. Vannevar Decrypt is a foreign text workflow platform built for national security.


Check out open jobs at Vannevar Labs!


Angie Chang: We are here today to kick off our career fair session with Vannevar Labs, and I want to introduce Breanna.

Breanna Carodine: Hi everybody, super happy to be here and to talk to you guys all. My name is Breanna Carodine. I work for Vannevar Labs as the people operations specialist, and that just means I basically work with a lot of onboarding stuff and employee experience and a couple of other things like that. I’ve worked here since December of last year and it’s been such a great company so far.

Breanna Carodine: We’re growing so fast and we’re doing a lot of really great things. Some of my favorite parts about the company is the way that we value certain things. Transparency is really important to us. We want to make sure that everyone is aware of everything that’s going on behind the scenes. We’re not afraid to share some of our trials and tribulations with each other but also celebrate our successes.

Breanna Carodine: One of the things that we really love is that we are a team of Jedi, meaning that all of the people who work here are really good at what they do, and that means that we can accomplish so much more. And everyone has very similar mindsets around being user and mission focused on our work.

Breanna Carodine: Everyone comes together with the same mission, being really great at what they do so we accomplish so much. Also, a value that I think is really important as that we put your wellbeing first. Something I tell every new hire who meets me and everyone within the company, “You cannot do your best work if you’re not your best selves.” And we truly, truly believe that here.

Breanna Carodine: We hope that everybody who comes into this company understands that we have time that you can take off. We have mental health benefits so that you can always be working at your best selves because we truly, truly do care about that.

Breanna Carodine: We are also a remote-first environment so that you can create the environment around you the way that it’s going to be best for you to do your work. I know that’s really great for me because sometimes I don’t need a lot of people around to get a lot of work done. Sometimes, I remove myself from this space and go to a coffee shop and work in a space that I can have all that energy, so that’s really awesome.

Breanna Carodine: Just a little bit about Vannevar and our mission, our basic spiel is that we bring together multidisciplinary groups of people with a wide range of experience and over 40 years of military experiences, engineers from some of the top tech companies and startups, and a passion for delivering mission-critical tools to support public servants on the front lines of the country’s most important national security problem.

Breanna Carodine: A lot of the work that we do, we work right alongside with the Department of Defense and we do some really critical and important work for the country. So to get into a little bit more of those positions and even more details, I’m going to pass it over to Caitlin.

Caitlin Stangland: All right. Hi everyone, so excited to be here today. My name’s Caitlin, I’m based in Northern California, I am a senior recruiter here working on technical and non-technical positions. I’ve been with Vannevar now since January. It’s gone really quick, it goes fast here. And some of the open roles that we currently have, I’ll just give high level overview.

Caitlin Stangland: Currently, we have our mission team and mission roles. Those are broken up into groups, mission success and mission development. Mission success, think of it as customer success within an organization. So most profiles we’re looking for are people with military backgrounds and then have worked within a customer success team at a tech company. So they’re used to working and communicating with clients.

Caitlin Stangland: These positions, our employees on the mission success team are communicating with our customers within the Department of Defense. And there is frequent travel involved with these roles. Mission development, think of it as growth and sales. Usually, we’re looking for someone with military background, and active clearance, and have that sales background and mentality. We also have various engineering roles open.

Caitlin Stangland: We offer internships. Currently, we have deployment lead internship openings for this year. We’re actively recruiting on those roles. We also currently have an opening for a data researcher position. This role’s actually very highly confidential so I’m not able to say too much about what this position does. Then we also are currently looking to build out our finance department. We have a controller opening right now who would own all of the accounting function at Vannevar and would build out that team.

Caitlin Stangland: Those are currently high level overview of our current openings. You can see them all posted on our site and on LinkedIn. Usually at Vannevar, our interview process, we like to really keep it to the same process across all positions at the company. Always starts with a recruiter screen, then a hiring manager interview dependent on the role.

Caitlin Stangland: For mission roles, we usually like to include a decom, think of it as like a conversation prep document that we would send you prior to meeting with the hiring manager so you have a focus of that interview. From there, there’s usually homework or a technical assessment. And then the final part is a top grade interview that’s usually one hour long where someone at the company just gets really, it’s just a lot of questions about your background and goes kind of role by role. So we like to just streamline it and keep it as quick as possible.

Caitlin Stangland: And overall, like Breanna was mentioning, we have awesome benefits. The company culture I love, the startup environment, Vannevar, we’re fast-paced, it’s very collaborative, we’re growing like crazy. But first and foremost, I feel like everyone just genuinely really likes each other.

Caitlin Stangland: We do a really good job of hiring nice people. Every team, no matter who you’re working with, they just do a great job of collaborating with one another. When I joined Vannevar, I did not have a defense tech background, so this was new to me and there was a learning curve there. And I never felt like no question was off limits, no question’s a bad question here.

Caitlin Stangland: Everyone’s open to educating and just giving all the information that you need to start your position at Vannevar. And we have great benefits, competitive pay, equity, the flexible working environment, remote working environment. We do have the flexible PTO policy.

Caitlin Stangland: Mental health like you were mentioning earlier, we definitely prioritize that so we do have a mental health benefit. And overall, I just feel like we’ve done such a good job of creating such an amazing culture. And I’m excited to talk to more of you later. All right, and I’ll kick it off to Anne.

Ann Zeng: Thanks, Caitlin. Hey everyone, my name’s Ann, my pronouns are she, they, I’m a software engineer here at Vannevar Labs and I’ve been here for a little over a year now. Also, my internet has been going on and off so I hope I don’t cut out. Well, I’ll do my best.

Ann Zeng: I currently work on the team that focuses on collection and ingestion of the foreign media that powers the Decrypt platform. Like Breanna said, we’re focusing on solutions in the national security space. And one of our biggest products is called Decrypt.

vannevar labs intro at elevate

Ann Zeng: Let me talk everyone a little bit about day-to-day life as an engineer. We’re at about 30 to 35 people on the engineering department among a couple of different teams. I wouldn’t say that the team boundaries are super solid. Somebody described it as a semi-permeable membrane. There’s lots of projects that are across teams. We really welcome people to advocate for themselves in terms of what they want to work on, what they want to learn, and to the extent that there’s room to have people work on things slightly outside of their job description. That’s definitely still there. I mean, we are a startup. No one’s going to say, “Hey, we don’t want you working on more stuff. Why wouldn’t we want people to work on more stuff?”

Ann Zeng: In terms of the tech that we use, it kind of depends on the team, but I would say broadly Python, Node, React, TypeScript, Postgres, OpenSearch. Our stuff is deployed in AWS so yeah, if you have any experience in any of those or are you interested in any of them, feel free to come by and say hi.

Ann Zeng: Because we are remote first. We’re pretty understanding about people’s time zones. There’s no hard start or stop times for working hours, like if someone messages me but it’s like 7:00 AM my time, nobody’s like, “Why aren’t you answering my messages?” For required meetings, at least on the engineering side, we’re pretty light on those, sprint rituals, standup retro planning refinement, one-on-ones with your manager. Those are usually the required ones.

Ann Zeng: We really encourage people to sit in on other meetings. So there’s an engineering department wide round table, there’s a company-wide demo space for engineers to show off like, “These are the things that we’re working on.” I love to lurk in different Slack channels just to see what’s going on. We really encourage people to get involved or to just spread transparency about the progress of work, that kind of stuff. Like Caitlin and Breanna said, we’re trying to solve problems in the national defense space and we want to do it with some full people. I’m really excited to meet everyone. Please feel free to come by to the booths. Thanks.

Angie Chang: Thank you so much for these great introduction to you all and the roles and the teams. We’re going to meet you in your booth in about 10 minutes. And now, we’re going to move on to our next session. Thank you so much, Vannevar ladies!

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