Company Culture

Meet Guru’s companywide event planner, interior designer and all-around workplace experience whiz

Chelsea Cox discusses her professional development at Guru, including details on her first-ever interior design project for the SaaS company’s Center City office space.

Guru's Center City office.

(Photo by Sam Markowitz)

In March 2018, Chelsea Cox was burnt out as an executive assistant in New York City. That’s when she heard about an office manager job opening at Guru Technologies in Philadelphia.

“I didn’t like my job and that feeling took a lot out of me,” she said. “I was looking for a way I could use my creativity.”

There was potential for the role at Guru to expand, so Cox took the leap. Four years later, she’s the workplace experience manager at Guru — the maker of a knowledge management platform that integrates with tools like Slack, Google Drive and Microsoft Teams to streamline communication. The hybrid company is dual HQ’d in San Francisco and Philly.

In her words, Cox curates the feeling you get when you walk into either of Guru’s bicoastal offices. When she started, Guru was on the 11th floor in its Center City building and has since taken over the 9th and 10th floors. Cox organized the community events and concerts that Guru hosted on its 10th floor prior to the pandemic and has recently begun offering again.

As the company expanded, Cox worked with contractors and selected furniture to create a welcoming, comfortable space. She didn’t study interior design, but she said she loves the creativity and challenge of designing the space where her coworkers come together. For inspiration, she turns to Architectural Digest and tries to keep other peoples’ preferences in mind.

Chelsea Cox. (Photo by Sam Markowitz)

She gained confidence after receiving positive feedback about the design of the 10th floor.

“Not everyone wants to sit at a desk all the time,” Cox said. “People work differently and we want the space to provide options that reflect that. We’ve been able to give the team most of what they requested, such as quiet spaces, collaborating stations and more huddle rooms.”

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“Maybe one day we’ll get the highly requested nap pods,” she added.

Curating Guru’s in-person element is only a portion of Cox’s job. It’s important to ensure remote Guru team members have a similar experience as those who come into the office, she said. In practice, that looks like monthly snack boxes shipped to employees, food stipends to match the in-office lunches Guru provides and curated virtual events.

Read this Q&A with Cox to learn about Guru’s culture and what it’s like to be an event planner during COVID-19.

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Guru has defined values as a company, such as curiosity and not taking yourself too seriously. From your point of view, what is Guru’s culture and how do you curate experiences that match it? 

Guru’s culture constantly shifts. As people grow and the team changes, it can’t stay the same because the people aren’t the same.

In general, Guru feels like a place where you can come and be who you are. I think it’s really important that we honor that by creating experiences that match the different types of people that we have.

You were responsible for maintaining a busy in-office events schedule when COVID-19 hit. How did the lockdown affect your job?

We went virtual like so many other companies. We had concerts, cooking and craft classes, and a host of other things, but Zoom fatigue took over and most people were wondering when we were going to return to normal. It was a challenge for me as someone on the workplace experience team because I wanted to please everybody while I was still freaking out internally. But, it’s in our nature to pivot. Everyone on the employee experience has the job of putting the team first to create those experiences that make Guru a good place to work. It was very strange for all of us.

COVID-19 or not, what are some of your favorite events you’ve planned recently? 

In March, Guru had our first in-person company kickoff in two years. More than 100 people got together for a retreat at Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York.

Those moments, and I hate to say it, always make me want to cry. There’s nothing like seeing this thing that I’ve planned from scratch come together, and watching the team enjoy themselves.

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Companies: Guru Technologies
People: Chelsea Cox
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