As part of a yearlong celebration of our 40th anniversary, Progress would like to introduce you to some of our fantastic longtime employees who have made us who we are today. In this post, meet Leah DePolo, director of events.
Leah is based out of Massachusetts, but her job in events has taken her all over the world. Close to home, she has encyclopedic knowledge of Progress—names, dates and places—but what she cherishes the most are the relationships she’s forged.
Events planning is one of those all-inclusive jobs, and Leah has not only interacted with people in just about every department at Progress—sales, engineering, finance, marketing and facilities—she’s like one of the family. Leah is the first to ask about your kids or give an employee something to bring home to a family member, “just because” or buy you lunch to celebrate your win. She’s like an aunt, a sister or a friendly neighbor always willing to help. And through all of it, she’s a leader who offers specific and thoughtful praise while remembering the little details that make you feel special.
Around here we like to say we’re #ProgressProud. There’s a good chance Leah invented that term, or at the very least helped inspire it.
Here’s how our interview went down:
When I started at Progress, we had one product and it was called Progress. Over the years with growth and acquisitions our portfolio has changed tremendously.
With no disrespect to any of my managers or coworkers, the person who taught me the most was one of my managers—Jeff Clark, former director of corporate marketing. Working for Jeff came at a time in my career and life that was especially memorable. He taught me so much about the business and our products – especially when our portfolio was growing. Jeff put emphasis on and encouraged work/life balance.
Early on in my time at Progress, our team moved to a different location in the building at our Bedford, Massachusetts, headquarters. I am an early bird and each day there was one other person in as early as I was. That person was Mary Szekely (a Progress cofounder and STEM pioneer). Each morning we were the first two cars in the parking lot. We bonded and formed a friendship that I will always treasure. We talked some great talks and she had great advice for me when I needed it.
Although I have worked here for almost 27 years, I have never been bored. When I came to Progress, I had been at my previous company for 13 years. I told myself I would never stay at a company that long again and I truly expected this to be my transition job—stay two years and move on. 😊
Progress is a great company that has always treated its employees well. They’ve given us the budget and freedom to put on first-class events—especially our sales Circle of Excellence trips, which always include giving back to a community we visit. It is a stable company, which is very comforting during tough times. And some of my closest friendships have been formed here.
Those of us who have been with the company for a long time have had the pleasure of seeing our coworkers families grow up around Progress. We’ve had children come to our annual Halloween parties, and then later come back to work the party as adults. I have so many cherished memories of working with great people and getting to really know them.
Years ago, we had company trips. If we made our financial goals for the year, all employees went on a weekend trip. These trips were for non-sales and were three-night, four-day trips. We had both local trips (New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont) and away trips—usually to Florida. You could also take a guest, family, etc. I have not heard of any other company that did this.
Although I’ve been here for 27 years, I don’t feel like I’ve aged 27 years! Working at Progress has provided me with an opportunity to travel all over the world. From all over the states to many countries in Europe to Australia, Africa and Brazil—the list goes on and on.
I really miss the traveling—it's been almost a year. I also miss going into the office and seeing my co-workers, like you! I’ve never been a work-from-home person so it has been an adjustment. It definitely has benefits, but I would like to get back to the office at least a few days a week.
It’s funny that you don’t know what you miss until you can’t do something or see someone. I have made a list of people I need to get together with and weekends away I want to take. The thought of going shopping or to a restaurant without a mask seems so wonderful. The things we take for granted. And, of course, go to a Red Sox or Patriots game.
To get to know other Progressers like Leah, read more of our Progress employee interviews here.
Dave Pierce was the employer brand manager for Progress.
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