BigPanda HEART award winners donate to charities close to their hearts
Every year, we recognize Pandas that went above and beyond to demonstrate BigPanda values in their work every day. BigPanda’s values are Hunger, Extreme ownership, Active transparency, Relentless customer focus, and one Team. This year, BigPanda selected eight HEART award recipients that demonstrated these values. The winners all selected a local charity to which BigPanda would donate on their behalf. Keep reading to see why these Pandas won and which charities are close to their hearts.
Andrey Kitsen, Principal Solutions Architect
Andrey continually goes above and beyond to solve problems that we haven’t thought of yet. One example is when he scripted out the entire onboarding process and automated it. He reduced the basics from what could take 40 hours to about two and a half minutes. He then handed it over to the product team so they could better understand the ins and outs of what happens with customer onboarding. Collaborating closely with other teams and helping them be successful is the one Team mentality and Andrey exemplifies it.
Andrey donated to the Union Gospel Mission Sacramento. The Union Gospel Mission Sacramento is a local mission in the heart of California’s capital that has supplied food, shelter, clothes, and a life-changing Gospel message to the homeless for over 60 years. “I would like to support Union Gospel Mission here in Sacramento, CA. This is a local, non-profit homeless shelter I’ve been involved with, serving the community and helping the poor with a safe place to eat and sleep.” -Andrey Kitsen
Conor Castronovo, Senior Analyst Relations Manager
Conor takes Extreme ownership of our analyst relations program. He has demoed every square inch of our product and has led many analyst meetings over the last year. We have never had a better relationship with Gartner than we have right now. Conor’s mentality every day is to exhibit Extreme ownership and do whatever it takes to get things done.
Conor donated to The Guadalupe Center. Guadalupe Center’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee. Since 1984, Guadalupe Center has been achieving this mission and making a significant difference for students and families of Immokalee. “The Guadalupe Center is special to me because it focuses on breaking the cycle of poverty through education. Within the last five years, the Guadalupe Center has grown from providing for 250 children to now almost 2,000 spread across three programs. The first program is The Early Childhood Education program starting from infancy to age 5. The second program, After School Tutoring, allows students in kindergarten to 2nd grade to make exceptional gains in their education. The final program, Tutor Corps, sets high school students up for success on SAT/ACT, college applications, and graduation. Without education, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s crucial for a child to have an education to set them up for a successful future, and that’s exactly what the Guadalupe Center provides.” -Conor Castronovo
Marli Dussault, Talent Sourcer
Marli scours the internet looking for great talent and helps us to organize all of our search work in the United States. She joined us last year, having never done this before, and has shown an intense Hunger to continue and stay with it. Because of her efforts, we have ended the year in a much better place than where we started.
Marli donated to CARE’s Turkey and Syria Earthquake Fund. This fund provides emergency aid, including food, shelter, hygiene kits, cold weather supplies, and cash assistance. “CARE is a transparent organization, with 90% of the funds it receives going directly to people in need. I chose the Turkey and Syria fund because all of the people affected—specifically, the people of Syria—need all of the help they can get. They’ve faced death and destruction for 12 years, and this natural disaster adds another devastating blow to the innocent people of Syria. I’m hoping this donation will help provide some relief, and I am so grateful that BigPanda is giving me the opportunity to donate to this amazing organization.” -Marli Dussault
Jenny Lifshits, Talent Acquisition Team Lead
Jenny really represents the one Team mentality at BigPanda. What Jenny has done for the engineering recruitment is outstanding. She has built the team with an ideology based on data and Extreme ownership and keeps the employee and the recruitment experience top of mind.
Jenny donated to Keren-Or Farm. Keren-Or Farm is a mutual rehabilitation experience with a vision of founding a haven where both animals and humans receive the help they need in a mutual rehabilitation experience. The farm has over 250 tenants, of a wide variety of animals in need of rehabilitation, including donkeys, goats, pigs, disabled dogs, blind dogs, fighter dogs, and survivors of abuse and neglect.
Ofir Baron, Software Developer
Ofir was an internal transition from the engineering team to the data platform, bringing the knowledge, experience, BigPanda culture, one Team mentality, and Extreme ownership. He helped build, with very strong engineering excellence, the data platform that is now serving the products and the revenue upsell.
Ofir donated to The Michal Sela Forum (MSF). In October 2019, Michal Sela was murdered in her own home at the hands of her husband. In May 2020, the Michal Sela Forum (MSF) was established in order to save the life of the next Michal. The MSF represents a revolutionary way of combating domestic violence through innovation and technological solutions. They promote out-of-the-box thinking, personal entrepreneurship, public awareness, and responsibility.
Sarita Zhu, Senior Accounting Manager
Sarita is a go-getter, demonstrates Extreme ownership, works under very little supervision, and kicks butt! Accountants like stability, structure, and predictability, and ours have had a whole new revenue-generating model and packages to adjust to. Sarita worked hard on our new consumption model pricing, getting internal stakeholders involved as well as getting the recognition policies approved by Ernst and Young.
Sarita donated to two charities. Stop AAPI Hate helps fight racism and hate incidents against Asian Americans and other people of color in the U.S. The Syrian American Medical Society Foundation is a global medical relief organization that provides medical aid and support to communities impacted by the Turkey/Syria earthquake.
Matt Hey, Senior Director of Enablement
There are many values that can be attributed to Matt but one of the big ones is one Team. Matt is somebody who is truly reaching across everyone inside of BigPanda to work together, and he has the company’s best interests at heart at all times.
Matt donated to Cincinnati Children’s. Cincinnati Children’s is a not-for-profit hospital and research center. Donations help transform care for children through innovative treatments, pioneering research, and medical education. “I wanted to donate to something local to Cincinnati, but they also do a lot of research and help all over.” -Matt Hey
Joe Masello, Great Lakes Regional Vice President of Sales
Joe has been at BigPanda for almost six years, and he exemplifies Relentless customer focus. He is always putting our customers first, is always thinking about them, and helps us all come behind and support our customers.
Joe donated to Big Hearts of Fox Valley. Big Hearts offers assistance to over 16,000 children ages 0-18. Volunteers work closely with D303 staff who help to identify families that are experiencing financial hardship impacting the parents’ ability to provide gifts to their children during the holidays and basic items throughout the year. “It is a veteran-run local charity that my family and I have supported for over a decade. They provide assistance to families in our school district that are in need.” -Joe Masello