Archive: Dec 2020

Meet Josh Ottow, Director of Talent and Organizational Development

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At Gray Optics, we make a promise to our employees — an opportunity to build their dream job. We actively work with every employee to define what they are most passionate about and align the activities that provide maximum value for our company and their career goals.

Josh comes to Gray Optics to help the company be the highest-functioning and positive workplace possible. Our company is growing and we want to grow smarter, not merely faster.  Josh’s prior role as a leader of large, complex organizations will be invaluable to support the Gray Optics’ team be the best it can be.  Josh also serves as a leadership coach, mentor, and adjunct professor in graduate leadership studies at AICE, New England College.

Describe your role at Gray Optics.

As Director of Talent and Organizational Development, I’ll focus on building systems and protocols that foster a high level of individual staff member efficacy, combined with a positive and productive team collaboration.  The first, and most important, facet of this goal is to ensure that Gray Optics is hiring the best possible team members and successfully integrating them into our organization.

My other important role involves continued and sustained monitoring of the culture and climate of the organization and leading specific strategies to ensure that Gray Optics remains the best place to work and to grow as a professional. This work is incredibly exciting to me as it sparks my passion for helping people develop into their best possible selves.

What are the key philosophies that drive your work within the organization?

As an organizational leader, I am inspired and driven by the work of Israeli-American Behavioral Economics Researcher, Daniel Ariely, of Duke University.  Dr. Ariely completed comprehensive longitudinal researcher into the question, Why Do People Feel Good About Their Job?  His research uncovered two factors that are present within any organization with a high level of employee efficacy and satisfaction:

  • There is a clear and common purpose for the work (i.e. the work is bigger than itself and it is leading towards something special)

  • There is a strong sense of connection to others around that shared purpose

In my 14 years’ experience as an organizational leader, I have always sought to not only ensure that I have these two features in my own work, but to take direct efforts so that it belongs to every member within the organization.

How can you be helpful to prospective candidates that are considering a career with Gray Optics?

We know how exciting it can be to join a dynamic and growing organization. And, we know that a career change has emotional demands associated with understanding the new organization, getting questions answered, moving in, learning key roles and responsibilities, and getting going on this important work. My role is to be the “concierge” for all new members of the organization, serving as the point person all way from recruiting to onboarding and beyond.  We know that any hiring process is a two-way street where both the company and the candidate are feeling each other out. We hope that this clarity of communication will help prospective candidates best gauge the fit in our organization.

I encourage any prospective candidate to reach out to me for an exploratory conversation and to learn more.

What can team members can expect from you?

As a fellow human being sharing a work space (either in person or the online environment), my colleagues can expect me to be honest. I believe in the importance of authenticity, especially with interpersonal communication and feedback.  Another primary driving value for me is that family comes first.  I know that I can only be at my best with teammates, clients, and prospective candidates if I attain a healthy work-home-life balance. I actively promote and model this value within the Gray Optics organization.

What activities do you enjoy outside of work?

I bake homemade batches of 100% sourdough bread, bagels, and pretzels every weekend.  In fact, our founder, Dan Gray, gave me my first starter six years ago and it is still going strong.  As a bread minimalist, my ingredients include ground wheat berries and fresh Maine spring water and nothing else!

On the weekends, I volunteer to teach Boot Camp for New Dads, a parenting class taught at local hospital maternity wards through Maine Boys to Men. In addition, I teach the 5th Grade Judaica class at Congregation Bet Ha’am.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn, or contact our team to get in touch.