20 Years At Carnegie Has Taught Me That Teamwork Is Still the Foundation For Success and Innovation

20 Years At Carnegie Has Taught Me That Teamwork Is Still the Foundation For Success and Innovation

By Alexis Wagman

The essence of an organization is built by the people within it. Molina Joseph has helped steer the ship for almost 20 years by being a friendly face of Carnegie on both the client-facing and internal side of business as a Receptionist and Finance Administrator. 

Molina Joseph in 2006

AW: It is so rewarding to have long term members of our team that have helped steer our success as an organization. Can you share your Carnegie origin story, and how you got started in this field?

My Carnegie story began in 2004. I originally came in to replace another employee who was being transferred to another department. This was a great indication that as an organization, employee growth was possible. I took the role of receptionist/finance administrator but my role has continued to evolve as these last 20 years have passed and our organization has grown.

Molina looking at a scrapbook made by internal Carnegie employees.

AW: 20 years is a huge achievement for both Carnegie and yourself! Congratulations. Looking back, has there been any moment of your career that stands out as a rewarding experience? How did it make you feel?

As I look back, watching Carnegie and our teams evolve and grow both together and separately is very rewarding. But personally, an experience I remember often is winning the Employee of the Year award. This was at my first-ever Carnegie Christmas party – you can imagine the surprise. I had already felt that in this workplace they prioritized people in ways I haven’t experienced before, but it was so unexpected to be recognized, because I didn’t even realize that my contributions were being noticed. I'll never forget that feeling, like I was a part of something bigger and I was valued. I was extremely grateful.

A collage of Carnegie Employees throughout the years on display in the warehouse. 

AW: I can relate; that validation that comes from being a part of a bigger mission is empowering. How do you feel the people of a company impact its success? 

I think when a workplace is designed to make everyone feel like they’re a part of something – a bigger purpose – that's when the magic happens. That’s when you see teamwork and motivation increase and when you can see a company’s ethos in action.


AW: I'm glad you brought up company ethos. A company can have a mission statement and defined values but if it is not practiced internally, individual career accomplishments AND successes as a team might not reach their full potential. Is there a specific project or accomplishment that you are proud of? 

There was this sample project I once had to complete with a tight turnaround time and I remember being very nervous about it. I took a minute to myself to take a deep breath and realized that this was a challenge that I was capable of overcoming. Having the support of a team and an environment that sincerely believes in your capabilities and growth, I was able to complete the project in a time frame I didn’t expect. 

AW: It’s such a universal experience that quick turnaround times sneak up on us and can be stressful to deal with. Are there any specific challenges you enjoy tackling besides beating the clock? 

I love making sure that our people are taken care of. What I am best at is being a foundation for our team, and helping steer the ship. I look to make things that might be overlooked seamless. Whether that be addressing payroll or administrative tasks, no matter how small or menial, everything is vital to the bigger picture. 

AW: Definitely, we rely on you so much! Now, I know we have talked about the importance of the people we work with, but I'm curious… Have there been any mentors or supporters you want to spotlight as being influential during your career at Carnegie?

Hands down, my mentor is Christina, our Director of Human Resources. Something we don't talk about enough is that working as a team is just one element of teamwork. Sometimes teamwork looks like helping guide or nurture each other. Yes, we all have individual responsibilities, but once again the magic is when we come together, and she has been my right hand throughout these years. 


AW: I also feel like the impact of having peers/colleagues that you can rely on helps support everything we have talked about thus far. Would you agree? After 20 years, how important do you think having a unifying mission is for a company?

It’s very important. In our industry specifically, every company is ultimately responsible for helping shape the built environment. If we zoom in even more on the sustainability sector of our industry, when we advocate and innovate for healthier environments, we are ultimately talking about the health of the people who interact with them. We, as an organization, need to be unified in our mission to help people, and that starts by making sure we prioritize the same things internally with our team to inspire perseverance and performance. 

AW: Your experience and viewpoint in this industry is invaluable. If you were to look back and give yourself one piece of advice when you started your career in the biobased space, what would it be?

We have always been in the business of finding sustainable solutions for designers. I started in 2004 and at that time we didn’t have any biobased products but we were unified around making sure we had the most sustainable options on the market, and a human-centric outlook. As we have continued to innovate and claim our spot in the Biobased space, I feel like our mission strengthened, and our vision got even more clear. In light of that, I'd probably tell myself to stay focused. To me, I have learned that focus is what gives clear vision and direction, and it's been wonderful to be a part of that here at Carnegie. Cheers!


About the Author

Alexis Wagman is the Content Marketing Specialist at Carnegie. Passionate about what connects all of us, she seeks to leverage creative Marketing and design to communicate real stories.