Embracing Midwestern Character in Tech: An Interview with Maven Wave
Maven Wave, a Chicago-based technology and consulting company, is more than just that. It is a group of dedicated people with “x-factor qualities” that aims to lead companies into making the shift to digital with solutions that are agile, rooted in analytics, and built in the cloud.
With clients ranging from Nielsen to Abbvie and technology partners like Google, it is obvious Maven Wave is doing something authentic within the tech sphere. One of three founders, Jeff Lee, attributes much of the company’s success to the talent that works there. Primarily recruiting people from engineering and business programs within big ten universities, including University of Illinois, Lee elaborates on what “x-factor” qualities looks like to him and the Maven Wave team.
Lee explains that the x-factor doesn’t point to the smartest person in the room, but rather to someone who is “likeable, curious, charismatic, approachable, hardworking and a natural problem-solver.” This very strategic understanding of extraordinary soft skills — the attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with others — distinguishes Maven Wave within the world of tech consulting, and what allows their practice to work with such established clients while maintaining the privilege to be selective in their hiring process.
Having Chicago as homebase means a great deal to Maven Wave. For starters, the founders are Chicago-bred and rely on the city’s perks to recruit and retain top talent — vibrant neighborhoods, diverse housing, an unparalleled lakefront and system of parks, world-class culture, dining, sports teams and education. They appreciate the convenience of servicing clients around the globe from the Central time zone, and recognize the ease of getting a nationally-dispersed staff together on a regular basis. At the same time, Maven Wave is proud of the company’s Midwestern character, and partnering with clients “on their race to digital transformation with staff who are quietly confident, not arrogant.”
Finding the right location for Maven Wave’s headquarters has taken the company a few years to solve, and they are delighted to call 71 S Wacker home since September 2016. The elegant, soaring design makes an immediate impression on clients and recruits alike, and the building’s walkable proximity to all modes of public transportation is essential. As Lee explains, “Since ours is a headcount-driven business, the velocity of our growth is dependent upon being able to scale our need for space in ways that are timely and efficient. The team at 71 S Wacker has been incredibly accommodating and flexible, allowing us to take on more square footage as we need it. Working from our unique people-focused platform, we are able to participate in — and help grow — Chicago’s technology ecosystem, while providing an outstanding, exhilarating work experience for all. With these advantages, we are able to seek the new frontiers and play a meaningful role in the race to innovation.”