On the first day of my summer internship, I looked at the expansive, white building that houses the Rackspace headquarters and wondered what I had gotten myself into. The first thing you notice about the space formerly known as Windsor Park Mall is the scale of the building: the immense, cavernous, beautiful space. In size, the renovated mall looks similar to the Empire State Building, laid flat on its side. As soon as I set foot inside the building proper, I was confronted with a maelstrom of new sights and sounds: the sales team erupting in applause to support a teammate who had just closed a sale, a giant slide running from the second floor to the first floor of the office, meeting rooms with every surface optimized for use with dry erase markers, and much more. The former mall , now called “The Castle” is a 1.2 million square-foot structure and houses one of the largest tech companies east of Silicon Valley.
It was another typical (or is that not-so-typical?) Friday here at Rackspace. We had another class of graduating Rookies – and a celebration welcoming them to the Rack. We had celebrated Food Truck Friday, during which several food trucks come to our Castle headquarters at lunch. And we kicked off a bowling fundraiser supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters. And that’s not all.
During my first interview at Rackspace the lingering question was, “Are you going to miss speaking Spanish?” At the time I was transitioning from my role as Executive Assistant at El Pais: Washington DC Bureau, where I had spent the better part of two years speaking only Spanish, and three years prior living in Spain. It was a valid question, and initially there seemed to be limited opportunities for me to incorporate Spanish into my work life here at Rackspace. Lucky for aspiring Rackers, that’s starting to change.
For years, we’ve prided ourselves on our quirky culture at Rackspace. We strive to create a comfortable environment where Rackers are inspired to volunteer their best each day – and a lot of that inspiration comes from fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.
I recently spent a week being a camp counselor for a group of 10- and 11-year-olds at Camp Okizu. The mission of Okizu is to provide peer support, respite, mentoring and recreational programs to meet the needs of all members of families affected by childhood cancer. Okizu offers week-long camps to children with cancer, as well as their siblings, in addition to weekend “family camps” that serve as occasions where parents can come together and share their experiences caring for a child with cancer.
A friend and former employee of mine was accepted as a Code for America Fellow for 2013. If you’re not familiar with it, Code for America is a non-profit organization that links up skilled technologists—developers, researchers, designers and product managers—with cities that need to have their technology updated. Fellows are elected for a year, and they are paid a “living wage” during that time.