Giving Thanks

November 1, 2013

The month of November is often recognized as a time to express gratitude as we end the month with Thanksgiving and enter the holiday season.

Many of us at Crux Collaborative have been working with each other for the better part of a decade. We are a close-knit work family, and throughout the years we have shared many aspects of our lives with one another – we’ve celebrated each other’s ups and have provided support in times of need.

This year, as individuals, we’ve had a lot of personal milestones to celebrate and be thankful for — Teri welcomed a new baby in June, Annette was awarded a Grand Champion ribbon for her cookies, John was elected to the Board of Directors of Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Mike bought a new house, and after 8 continuous years of diligent work, Tony changed his youngest daughter’s last diaper!

There are many things we are thankful for that are unique to each of us, but there’s one thing that we share with each of our colleagues – we consider ourselves fortunate to work at Crux Collaborative.

Recognized As Being a Great Place to Work

We value our culture and this year it was a special honor to have it recognized and awarded. Crux Collaborative made the list as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2013 by Minnesota Business magazine. And not only were we recognized as one of the 100 Best — we were awarded Second in Class in the small companies category.

The award recipients for each category were chosen using data gathered from an anonymous employee satisfaction survey. There was no prompting or leading by management; we submitted heartfelt and genuine input for why it’s great to work at Crux Collaborative (formerly EatonGolden). Only the top Minnesota companies as judged in areas such as work environment, employee benefits, and employee satisfaction were selected for inclusion in the list.


“[Crux Collaborative] is a fantastic place to work. The physical space fosters creativity and focus, the leadership is highly engaged and accessible, and there is shared respect and contributions from employees at every level of the organizational structure.”

– Anonymous Employee Survey Response

The 100 Best Companies to Work For event was held June 6th in Minneapolis. Going into the event, we were happy to just be listed as one of the 100 Best. Our excitement and pride grew that evening as the emcee announced the winner for Second in Class in the small companies category – it was us. Our table erupted with cheer and many tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebook messages followed as we shared our excitement.

“We’re #2 Small! In the Top 100 Best Companies in Minnesota to work for, that is! Never been so proud to be small and #2 at the same time. It was a crazy night with my co-workers and friends- filled with laughter, fun, and of course, coffee. Going to bed grinning about it all.”

Mahtab Rezai via Facebook

This is a special award for us because we all contributed to winning it — not just by submitting employee satisfaction surveys — but each and every day we contribute to making this a great place to work.

The Differentiating Factor

There are a lot of companies in the Twin Cities that have great office spaces, generous vacation packages, or kitchens stocked with healthy snacks. These things all contribute to making Crux Collaborative a great place to work but what really sets Crux Collaborative apart as a great place to work, is the people — and how we work together, and support one another.

At Crux Collaborative there is constant collaboration throughout the lifecycle of every project. It is this collaboration and cooperation that allows every team member to be able to have an impact while doing what they love. There is a shared belief here that our strong workplace culture shows through in our work and ultimately improves Crux Collaborative’s bottom-line performance.

Community Outreach

We also support each other in the causes that are near and dear to each of us as individuals.

When John and Emily’s son, Julian, passed away from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2011 it impacted us all. That year, John created a “Joggers for Julian” team where participants walked or ran in the annual “Time to Fly” event that supports Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF). The entire Crux Collaborative staff participated in honor of Julian’s memory that first year.

Over the last three years we’ve continued to support this cause not only through our annual team participation in Time to Fly, but also by providing pro bono services that benefit CCRF, and fundraising in some unique ways including a bake sale by Annette and “Paintings for Julian” by Katherine. This cause is especially important to John and this year he was elected to the Board of Directors of Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

Similarly, when Mahtab’s sister-in-law passed away last year, the Stephanie Church Memorial Foundation was established in honor of a remarkable young woman whose life was cut short in a tragic accident.

Mahtab was able to turn a family tragedy into something positive with the help of the staff in setting up the Stephanie Church Memorial Foundation — including the fabulous (responsive!) website that the Crux Collaborative staff created for the foundation pro bono. To date, over $20,000 has been raised for the foundation to create a scholarship to help aspiring speech pathology students who intend to work with children.

Giving Thanks

It has been a terrific year for us. As we enter into the holiday season, we would like to extend our thanks to our clients for allowing us the opportunity to work with you this year.

There have been a number of challenges we have weathered and conquered together over the last year. From product launches, the adoption of new technologies and standards (hello, RWD) and their associated challenges (accessibility concerns, anyone?) – to the Affordable Care Act and all of the related revisions, enhancements, and updates to the healthcare sites we work on together.

We’re thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with our clients to do what we love. We love that together, we get to make a meaningful impact by making the web applications and sites that people need to use in order to conduct the daily business of their lives easier to use and understand.

We look forward to continuing to improve user experiences with our clients and each other and to facing and conquering all the new challenges the coming year will bring.

By Annette Gustafson
Senior Interface Designer

Annette has over 15 years in creative design for interactive experiences. Her design aesthetics and attention to detail can be seen through all stages of the collaborative process; from the initial sketches to the final deliverables.

View Annette's Bio

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