“Be on a mission to build social value” is one of the values NeuroFlow was founded on. As she mentions below, Ellen McGeoch, our Senior Research & Operations Manager, aligning on, sharing, and upholding values are essential to building an award-winning company culture. Ellen exemplifies this particular value in her amazing contributions to our work with and supporting the overall health of our active duty military.
Ellen takes time to share the lessons learned throughout her time at NeuroFlow with other companies and entrepreneurs eager to make a positive impact. In this interview, Ellen takes a look back on the early days of NeuroFlow, discusses what makes our culture so great, and shares what has her excited about the days ahead for the company!
Q: You’ve been essential to our work in the government and military sector. This can be a rewarding but difficult process, what draws you to it or gets you so excited about it?
A: Thank you! Surprisingly enough, I really enjoy the rigid administrative aspect of it. I love the structure around government work, it’s like figuring out a puzzle and can be really satisfying when you’re done. Also, I’m a firm believer in having the tools you need to succeed at your job, this includes our nation’s service members. After our initial round of customer discovery for the government and military, I understood the impact our technology could make and I was all in. It’s clear there are some great tools and programs that are offered to our service members, but there are clear gaps that need to be addressed.
Q: Not only are you a NeuroFlow team member but you also hold some roles that allow you to give back to the entrepreneurship community, how’d that come about?
The great thing about being an early employee at NeuroFlow is seeing all of the work that goes into creating a company. There are a lot of lessons learned in the process, and I love finding ways to help others make their journey a bit less stressful. Last year brought on some unexpected opportunities to work with MIT Hacking Medicine, OHSU Invent-a-thon and Stanford’s COVID-19 Policy Hackathon. I had the opportunity to mentor teams from around the world on things like business plans and pitch decks, as well as judge final rounds and select the winners. It was remarkable to see what a team of strangers can come up with in 48 hours when they have a passion for healthcare and helping others.
Last year I was also asked to be an expert reviewer for the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program; I’m happy to follow in the footsteps of our COO Adam Pardes on this one. This appointment is extra special to me since my first project at NeuroFlow was managing our NSF Phase I submission. It’s amazing to be able to sit on the other side of the table and be part of the process in helping companies succeed. Definitely a full-circle moment and glad to do my small part in encouraging innovation in healthcare.
“One of my earliest memories at NeuroFlow was sitting in our shoe box-sized office and reading through the values and saying what each one meant to us. We have carried on versions of this in our onboardings since then and I think it has really kept our culture intact. “ – Ellen McGeoch
Q: You’re big on culture, what tips do you have for early stage companies trying to build/maintain one?
The first thing every company should have are values. Post them on the wall, talk about them, and hold everyone accountable to following them. If you operate and hire according to your values, you can’t go wrong. One of my earliest memories at NeuroFlow was sitting in our shoe box-sized office and reading through the values and saying what each one meant to us. We have carried on versions of this in our onboardings since then and I think it has really kept our culture intact.
As an early stage company, I would say remember that your employees are people. My favorite thing about NeuroFlow is that it’s always been us against a problem, never us against each other. There really isn’t time to operate any other way. Remember, these are the people you are going to spend a lot of time with; you’ll experience the highest highs, the lowest lows, and life-changing events together – good and bad, professionally and personally. There will be great days and there will be not-great days, but everything will work out as long as you all treat each other with respect and are aligned on your mission.
Q: As employee number four you’ve seen so much in just a few years, what are some of your fondest memories of NeuroFlow’s early days?
A:If I had to sum up the early days of NeuroFlow it would be two words: fun and frugal. The great thing about this company is we truly enjoy spending time with each other, so we can make anything fun. Many memories of 5:00am train rides, packing marketing materials in suitcases (shipping was a luxury), staying with friends in the area and finding cheap eats when we would have to travel. Our Seed Round celebration was splurging for pizza for lunch. We spent Fourth of July together at a Phillies game in 2018 and had an in-office Ping Pong Tournament in 2019. We’re huge fans of Pep Bowl, it was our first ever team outing and we return every year; although I think at this point we can’t all fit there at once. None of these memories are lavish, but they are some of the best and I’ll look back on them fondly.
I guess I’ll end with a third word: moving, and we move everything ourselves for the most part, so each time is its own unique adventure. I think we’re in our seventh office at this point, since we keep expanding, but I’m hopeful in saying our newest office in The Bourse will be our home for a while. We’ve already made some pretty great memories since I think we can all say the wildest thing has been remotely doubling the company headcount since March 2020.
Q: Big year ahead in 2021, what has you most excited?
A: Seeing our exponential growth has me so excited for what 2021 has in store for us! We’ve already had so many great announcements in the first month I can’t wait to see where the year takes us. Every year I am absolutely blown away by all we accomplish, I look forward to continuing our expansion on all fronts and helping as many people as we can along the way.
Interested in joining Ellen and others on the NeuroFlow team? Check out our career opportunities!