Welcome to our MyVestor Spotlight series, where we highlight what makes MyVest so special – our people!
Meet long-time MyVestor Joe Freund, Senior Director of Platform Engineering. Joe is an award-winning tech manager who says about MyVest, “One of the basic tenets of MyVest is ‘Do Great Things Together.’ And that really defines the company. We’re friends, we’re colleagues, we support each other, and we encourage each other to excel. As far as a workplace goes, I can’t think of one better than that.”
Tell us about your role at MyVest.
As Senior Director of Platform Engineering, my role is very broad. It Includes incorporating new technologies into our platform, making enhancements that bolster the performance and robustness of our application suite, increasing developer productivity, and streamlining how we build, test and deploy our software. It’s a very rewarding job because much of my work centers around helping others in the organization succeed.
What has been your career path? What brought you to MyVest?
I never really intended to have a career in the software industry. But I went to Stanford, which is very tech-focused, and while there I took some computer science classes because their CS program was so highly regarded.
I needed a job when I graduated, so I went into technology consulting. Working as a consultant wasn’t really for me though, since I would often be taken off of projects before I could see the impact of my work. So I left and worked for a streaming media startup. That was much more satisfying, as I had a chance to work with a close-knit team and help shape the product we were building.
When that company was acquired, I wanted a chance to replicate that experience. I found MyVest, back when it was a startup, and I’ve been here ever since — mostly because of the people and the mission.
What do you like most about working at MyVest?
Two things: the people and the mission. MyVest is lucky to have a team that is smart, diligent, and above all else respectful of one another. That respect is critical — it’s much easier to get things done when you can rely on teammates who will assist you as needed and work with you to help you achieve your goals. That respect is institutionalized as well; MyVest fosters an environment where employees can excel by supporting a healthy work-life balance, providing training, and making sure each employee has what they need to thrive and grow.
At the end of the day though it’s not just how you work together that’s important, but also the impact of your work. And while there’s a ton of innovation happening in the Bay Area, many tech products are somewhat frivolous and some — in my opinion — are actively harmful to those who use them.
MyVest’s mission is to help ordinary families achieve better retirement outcomes. And that’s a good one. Our work has a very real impact on the quality of life of the tens of thousands of families whose portfolios are managed by our software.
What do you like to do for fun?
I travel a lot, spend plenty of time with friends and family, and am strongly interested in music, literature, and philosophy. I was a competitive fencer for quite a while. I also enjoy giving back to the community.
Tell us about your community involvement.
Six years ago the founder of ShelterTech, Darcel Jackson, issued an open challenge to the tech community. “How is it,” he asked, “that in a city so renowned for innovation, a fundamental problem like giving the most vulnerable members of the community access to the assistance they need seems so intractable?”
So we pulled a team together to build solutions to do just that. ShelterTech is a local non-profit that seeks to use technology to help people experiencing homelessness in the Bay Area. At ShelterTech, we partner with local ISPs to provide free wi-fi to people living in homeless shelters and single room occupancy housing.
We also partner with the city government to provide a portal that catalogs organizations that provide services to people experiencing homelessness and helps connect them to what they need.
And we’ve come a long way. We’ve provided reliable access to data for thousands of underserved community members, and our portal now has almost ten thousand unique users per month.
What is the most enriching part of your involvement with ShelterTech?
Homelessness is one of the most serious problems facing San Francisco. It’s too big for any one person to solve, but it’s very rewarding to be able to put the skills I built in my career towards helping address that problem, even in a small way.
How can others volunteer and get involved?
Volunteer for Sheltertech.