Five Questions with Everlaw’s First Chief People Officer, Anna Meyer
Today we welcome Everlaw’s first Chief People Officer, Anna Meyer, to the company. A seasoned people leader, Anna will drive all aspects of Everlaw’s employee success function. She brings decades of experience from large companies and startups alike, including Intuit, GE and, more recently, PerimeterX, AppDirect and SmartThings.
Anna joins Everlaw at an exciting time, with 76% employee growth over the last year. She recently shared with us how she plans to embrace Everlaw’s cultural foundation, the common thread between startups and jazz, and why she sees her primary role as building bridges between employees and leaders.
Let’s start at the beginning… As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was never the kid who knew I’d be a doctor, lawyer or social worker. But I always had a sense of the activity I wanted to do, which was connecting dots, building bridges and helping people solve problems.
As an only child, I was always very aware of my surroundings. I developed an intuition about how I could make things even better for the people around me. I saw myself almost as becoming a mediator, even before I knew that word. And that’s what I’ve done for my whole career, even before joining HR teams.
What drove your career shift from working at large organizations like Intuit and GE to private, founder-led companies like Everlaw?
After leaving Intuit, I took a year off and came out of it wanting to do something different. I had worked in amazing cultures at big companies for more than 15 years and learned a ton, and I wanted to apply those learnings to earlier-stage companies that were still building and defining their cultures.
Joining a startup was a whole new world. I felt like I had been trained in classical music at GE and Intuit, and I knew how to play Mozart really well. Now, it was time to try playing jazz with new musicians who didn’t read music in the same way I had been trained. I learned to adapt and change my language, my approach and my speed.
Everlaw brings together the classical ‘symphony’ work that I loved at GE and Intuit with jazz – the creativity, fun and agility of a startup.”
Everlaw is the perfect culmination of my career so far because it brings together the classical “symphony” work that I loved at GE and Intuit with jazz – the creativity, fun and agility of a startup. People view classical and jazz as so different, but at the end of the day it’s all music.
As Everlaw’s first Chief People Officer, what’s your vision for strengthening the cultural foundation the company has built?
Everlaw has a sense of authenticity and care, and a lot of that comes from AJ – the founder sets the tone for everything at a startup. He’s surrounded himself with top-notch people who create a sense of belonging and engagement. Everlaw already has world-class employee engagement scores. For its size and scale, it’s quite far ahead of most companies in terms of culture and investment in its people.
So, why hire a Chief People Officer? As Everlaw continues to grow, it will become increasingly difficult for AJ and the leadership team to personally connect with every employee. But there are ways to take the philosophies and culture that they have already built and scale them as we expand. That’s where I come in.
What’s your favorite way to form connections with the people in your organization? How do you gather and implement their feedback?
First and foremost, the people function must know the people. So much of our role is talking to employees and understanding what’s important to them so we can build the right solutions for them. In my first 30-60 days, I plan to have conversations with frontline employees and managers to understand what they love about Everlaw and what they think could be even better.
These conversations are essential in helping me gain knowledge, connect dots and build new bridges. The more conversations I have, the more I can see what matters to everyone – and what we can build and create in the long term.
Tell us more about why you feel personally connected to Everlaw’s mission.
Growing up, my parents instilled in me the value of always telling the truth. I took that philosophy into my career, and I’ve always tried to tell the truth – even in situations when it wasn’t the most popular thing to do. I’ve never known how to not be honest. It feels almost karmic to work at a company whose value system matches mine and whose mission is to lead the world to finding the truth.