People and Opportunity: Why Collibra is the #31 Best Medium Workplace

Cody Schrotel presents on stage in front a screen that reads ReUnited Collibra 2022

Collibra is thrilled to be named the #31 Best Medium Workplace by Great Place to Work®. This ranking is especially meaningful as it represents a milestone for us: It was not long ago that Collibra was a small startup with fewer than 100 employees; now we’re 1,200+ Collibrians strong and counting. Through this period of rapid growth, our collective commitment to creating a positive culture where people can do their best work holds steady. 

To commemorate this honor, we talked with Cody Schrotel, Collibra’s VP of Talent Acquisition. Cody has been with Collibra for five years and has worked with our leadership team for seven. Thanks to his tenure and position as a talent acquisition leader, he has witnessed significant growth and change at Collibra, and is well-versed in what makes Collibra a uniquely great place to work.

What drew you to Collibra?

My path to Collibra was somewhat atypical. I first got to know Collibra and its founders as my client at the executive search firm I worked for. We specialized in mid-to-late-stage startups within the venture community, and I was always enamored with the stories of building and scaling something. After years of pitching founders’ stories and visions for their companies, I realized that I wanted to shift from headhunting to building something from within. I wanted to be part of a growth story. 

I sat down to evaluate my career opportunities using the same methodology I recommended to the executives I helped hire. Any company that aligns with your personal values and meets at least three of these criteria is worth considering: 

  1. Do you believe in the product, its competitive advantage, and its ability to meet the market’s needs?
  2. Does the company have a large addressable market?
  3. Does the executive team have a proven record of success?
  4. Do the investors have a history of success?

Collibra exceeded my expectations on all four. They weren’t just building a product — they were defining a category. In 2015, everyone was talking about big data, but only Collibra was thinking about how organizations could use, maintain, and protect data at scale — what we then called data governance and has evolved into data intelligence. Felix, Stijn, and the other leaders were not only intelligent and driven, but also humble and kind, and they had a proven group of investors backing them. There was no doubt in my mind that working at Collibra would be a career-defining opportunity. 

How has Collibra changed since you started? What makes you excited for our future?

When I joined, we were a tight-knit team of 150 people globally, working together to build a product that would transform the way organizations use data. We all had to be aware of the overarching goals and things that were happening across every team because everything had to work in concert. Even though my title was Manager of Talent Acquisition, I played that role and much more. That was the case for everyone else, too. Everyone did a bit of everything because it’s what we had to do to succeed. 

We’ve grown rapidly to 1,200+ globally, and the company has become more disciplined and rigorous over the years. We’re getting better at looking for the big, strategic opportunities, and putting the processes in place to help us realize them, rather than going for every interesting idea. Look at how we started: We were founded as a data governance product and evolved over time to build a data intelligence platform that is the system of engagement for data. 

Another thing that I appreciate is how we think about the employee experience. We have programs and benefits that are typically only found at companies two or three times our size, and we continue to add and improve these offerings using feedback from Collibrians. Some examples are our return to work program for people who have been on parental leave, flex funds to support wellbeing, and our equity and impact communities. 

What makes Collibra a uniquely great place to work?

Of course, there are the obvious reasons: the proven product, market opportunity, and competitive position. These things are appealing to anyone looking for opportunity and stability. What sets Collibra apart, however, is how we promote ambition and collaboration in one place. 

While many startups reward ambition, we have created a company that encourages teamwork and makes space for great ideas to flourish. Collibra is a great place to work for people who enjoy identifying opportunities, bringing others along with them, and pushing those ideas forward together. We take pride in how we work with one another. 

We also reward people who are willing to learn — learn the product, learn about our customers’ needs, learn new skills. I think this is one of the reasons we’ve seen many success stories come from people who didn’t necessarily have tech backgrounds. We provide a lot of room for growth, and we look for people who will take initiative. 

My job is all about finding and hiring great people, but it has to be a fit on both sides. When I talk to candidates, I’m upfront about this. Many problems to solve means lots of ambiguity. Change happens quickly and often as we adapt to evolving customer needs. Some people will love working here, and others will not. It’s not a place for people who want to be shown exactly what to do. Neither is it a place for people who will steamroll their colleagues in the name of getting things done. “We are one Collibra” is a company value we take to heart.

What are some of your favorite things about working for Collibra?

The people are the number one thing I love about working at Collibra. Collibrians care about the work they do, and they care about each other — and I’ve seen this since day one.

I believe that mutual respect is one of the most important things you can have in a working relationship, regardless of what you do or what team you’re on. I can honestly say that’s something I have with my fellow Collibrians.

I’m grateful for the many growth opportunities I’ve had during my tenure. While I had a ton of experience in the world of executive search, this was my first internal talent acquisition job, and I was not as well-versed in navigating internal processes. Leaders at Collibra have trusted me time and time again to take on new projects, try new things, and challenge myself. 

Don’t get me wrong. You have to earn that trust by taking initiative and delivering results. But if you’re looking for a place to rise to new challenges and learn new skills, Collibra is a great place to be. I’m not the only one who can say this, either. I know numerous people who started at the same time as me — in many different roles — with similar career trajectories because they were encouraged to stretch and grow. 

The people and the opportunities brought me to Collibra at a pivotal point in my career. Years later, they continue to be why I love being a Collibrian.

How Great Place to Work Makes This List

From Great Place to Work: Great Place to Work selected the Best Medium Workplaces by analyzing the survey responses of over 200,000 employees from Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies with 100 to 999 U.S. employees. Company rankings are derived from 60 employee experience questions within the Great Place to Work Trust Index™ survey. Great Place to Work determines its lists using its proprietary For All methodology to evaluate and certify thousands of organizations in America’s largest ongoing annual workforce study, based on over 1 million survey responses and data from companies representing more than 6.1 million employees, this year alone. Read the full methodology.

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