When people remark to Kevin Foley how exciting and cool it must be to work at a fast-growing company, he has to agree. However, it can also, at times, be a little overwhelming.
“We were around 70 people large when I started here in 2009, and now we’re supporting 1,400 employees, with locations all over the world,” Foley notes. “It takes steady footing and patience to ride that fast-moving train—or the ship, as it gets rocked from side to side.”
Foley has the constitution to ride the train (or ship) wherever it might go. As director of real estate and workplace services for MINDBODY, a San Luis Obispo, California-based company that provides cloud-based business-management software for the wellness-services industry, he’s charged with not only opening new locations around the United States and in other countries but also bringing a sense of uniformity to a company that’s growth has, at times, outpaced policy and procedure.
“The really interesting thing about fast growth is that it forces you to dial into what is both most important and most critical,” he says. “When you do that, you leave a wake of stuff behind you that you hope to get back to.”
That wake can contain everything from design uniformity to safety procedures at each MINDBODY location—important facets that Foley has been sure not to leave behind as the company continues its growth. In the past year, Foley has brought on an operations manager and personnel dedicated to planning and design as well as safety and security in an effort to bring a stronger foundation to the company’s various locations.
The attention to jobs that might otherwise be overlooked has been there from the start for Foley. After a stint in the retail industry, Foley found himself applying for a job at MINDBODY in 2009 and was offered two different roles: one in sales and one in customer service.
“I wasn’t passionate about sales and I’d ‘been there, done that,’ so I took the customer-service route,” he recalls. “Anybody that was hired in those days had to work at the front desk for a while to get a feel for who the people were and how the company worked from the inside out.”
While others looked to bring an end to their front-desk shifts as quickly as possible, Foley says, he insisted on holding on to the duty as long as he could. “I remember looking around and saying, ‘Well if I don’t want to go into customer service, what can I do?’” he says.
From his vantage point, he could see people doing odd jobs and tasks that no one else wanted to do. One such area was order fulfillment. Foley spoke with the manager about helping that area of the company, and within a year he was managing it. With that promotion, he began going around the rest of the company, talking to managers, asking them what their pain points were, and trying to see how he could help.
“I started supporting everything from business-card orders to construction for tenant improvements,” he says. “I kept my ear to the ground and gave my opinion, whether it was asked for or wasn’t. I just kept driving. It’s great to work for a company that recognizes that desire and willingness and gives employees the flexibility to run with it.”
That flexibility has allowed Foley the ability to help set up 11 locations, including spots in the United Kingdom and Australia. The Australia experience, in particular, he says, helped guide the philosophy he now adheres to in his role.
“I didn’t have a travel budget to open that office,” he recalls. “It was all based on late-night conversations, sourcing the right construction team, networking with existing furniture providers to see what they could do there from here. I learned that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. If you’ve got the right team around you, you can really do tremendous work in a short amount of time. I couldn’t do what I do without my workplace team. What once was a one-person show is now a lean operations team that I’m extremely proud of.”
Now, Foley says, the goal is to bring a uniform company image and culture into all its offices. First, he says, is the company’s executive building, which consists of multiple suites the company has acquired over the past decade as it has grown. Right now, it’s not uncommon to walk from a space with brown shag carpeting to another with LEED-certified flooring.
“It’s important that people feel branding and consistency in our environments,” Foley says. “I’m excited to start going back into these environments we’ve touched in the past few years and not only form that uniform look but spread it around the globe.”
Defining that look might take a little time, but Foley says he looks forward to the challenge and appreciates the freedom he’s been given to experiment.
“MINDBODY has given me tremendous flexibility and trust,” he says. “I go out there and get the job done; leadership has been gracious to allow me to fail, identify how I’ve failed, and go out and fix it. My favorite part of the job is driving to be better.”
Photos: Michelle C. Torres-Grant/MCTG Photography