CAIS has become almost as well known for its culture as it is for transforming the alternative investment community, and that’s been intentional; from how we interview and recruit talent, to how we create an engaging experience for our people, how we align incentives, to how we communicate with alumni. Our culture is up front and center every day and we believe it is our most important competitive advantage.
So how did we get here? All stakeholders, from those who work here, to our clients and partners, are deeply committed to our mission of transforming the world of alternative investing for financial advisors, asset managers, home offices and investors. The passion for our mission is palpable, whether you’re in the office, in a meeting, online or at an event. Our mission has become an industry rallying cry.
Core values drive our culture
Our core values support our mission and shape our culture. They also educate our clients and potential clients on what we are all about and what they can expect when they work with us. Our core values help us recruit and retain the best talent. One of the first questions we ask is, “What is something difficult you’ve had to overcome?” We look for people who can own it…people who have an entrepreneurial spirit, who aren’t afraid to take risks; builders who have grit and imagine what’s possible. We empower people to find a way and find a better way to solve problems and innovate through collaboration. Success is a team sport at CAIS. You can feel the positive energy of teams working closely together, building on ideas and truly caring about one another.
It starts at the TOP
Most of the CAIS leadership team has been together for 10 years and in that time, we’ve seen great successes and have worked through many challenges, growing from 20 to over 300 people, in the US and globally. Fast paced growth, technological advances, economic, social and political unrest have certainly tested the strength and resiliency of our culture. The leadership team lives, breathes and models our values day in and day out and this helps keep our culture strong. If you walked into a CAIS executive committee meeting, you’d see the trust and caring our executives have for one another. You’d also see intense, healthy and respectful debates to get to the right decisions on all areas of the business. We are a well-oiled and sometimes squeaky team!
Values evolve with strategic objectives and growth
Some aspects of our culture have evolved as our company expanded and our industry changed. In the early days, for example, we were committed to punching above our weight class. That core value worked when we were a start-up, a smaller company with big dreams, working with giant ecosystem partners in the alternative investment space. A decade later, we no longer need to punch above our weight class…We are in a different weight class altogether! We are leading the way in transforming alternative investing. The industry has taken notice…our clients and stakeholders see us as trusted, inventive, connected, transformative and vital.
Overcommunicate: the core value that ties it all together
Communication keeps everyone abreast of what’s happening within CAIS, helps foster great teamwork and keeps our stakeholders aware of how we are working to always keep them at the center of everything we do. Openness, honesty and transparency in all of our communication builds trust internally and externally. And of course, listening and asking questions shows respect and encourages collaboration. We discuss our values and culture every day. You can say we’re obsessed! We’ve become experts at asking questions…How can we help our clients be more successful? More efficient? More productive? How can we help advisors enhance their client’s portfolios? How can we continue to transform the world of alternative investing? We continue to learn and innovate.
Culture champions are made, not born
Building a champion culture is like building a champion sports team. We play to win. Just like a sports team, a strong culture requires a shared vision and goals that everyone is working towards. This creates a sense of unity and purpose among team members. Clear and consistent communication among team members builds trust, respect and accountability. Having a strong leadership team that walks the walk inspires and motivates the team. Building and maintaining a strong culture takes commitment and grit. As more people join our company, our corporate culture continues to evolve. We pride ourselves in creating a work environment that’s a safe place for employees—where they can be their authentic selves and not minimize who they are or what they have to say. We hope we are setting a standard that our industry peers will follow because we believe success in this industry will come from investing in your people, building trust in all your relationships, and fostering transparent communications among all stakeholders.
On a personal note, there is something special going on at CAIS: we have built a culture where our people care about each other’s well-being and success in a way that fosters a drive for building and innovating—And every day, I am excited to work in a culture that embraces those that build, innovate, and think on behalf of our clients and the industry.
Note: CAIS Core Values are in bold: Own It; Find a Way, Then Find a Better Way; Success is a Team Sport; Overcommunicate; Play to Win; Be Your Authentic Self