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Gusto Eng Highlight Sequence: Shawn Stewart | by Kim H. Nguyen | Gusto Engineering | Apr, 2023

This weblog collection is devoted to celebrating our Black, Latinx, and Ladies Engineers who’re making an affect within the lives of our Gusties and Gustomers (Gusto clients) day by day.

As we speak, we’re spotlighting Shawn Stewart, who has been with Gusto for two years. He’s at the moment the Head of Engineering for the Payroll Experiences group, leveraging 20+ years of enterprise engineering expertise, to assist scale Gusto’s pleasant expertise up-market to serve bigger and extra advanced companies.

Our interviewers are Jeff Dunn and Kim Nguyen. Jeff works on Gusto’s Invite Workforce to rent software program engineering expertise, whereas Kim builds options to enhance the companion developer expertise as a part of Gusto Embedded.

Shawn: I joined Gusto two years in the past, and I’m the Head of Engineering for the Payroll Experiences group, answerable for a big floor space of payroll, together with time monitoring, at Gusto.

I labored in quite a few industries, however all with a deal with serving to individuals remodel their lives by work. That journey took me to Constancy investments, the place I supported their 401k monetary merchandise. It additionally introduced me to LinkedIn, a really nice useful resource for serving to individuals discover alternatives. I lower my enamel in enterprise payroll at Final Software program, and at last I arrived at Gusto to deal with payroll for small companies.

Shawn: I joined Gusto within the peak of the pandemic. At the moment, the work panorama was shifting extra to distant work, and folks had been discovering that they wanted to get their workers registered within the states that they lived in. We rapidly responded and launched a state registration undertaking so companies might correctly register their workers and stay compliant inside the tax codes. I’m actually pleased with how we had been in a position to execute on that and ship worth to our clients in an unprecedented time.

Shawn: Each single day, our clients are on the forefront of our minds. We’re continually getting suggestions instantly from our clients, and biking that into our roadmap. I like that we get to take care of that sort of relationship with our clients the place we will co-author Gusto’s options collectively.

I keep in mind a case particularly, the place a buyer utilizing a CSV obtain characteristic in one in every of our reviews wished to have the info organized and formatted for higher compatibility with Excel and Google spreadsheets. An engineer on our crew was in a position to rapidly reply to that request, and we labored along with the shopper to fine-tune the group and formatting — it rapidly grew to become some of the used options shortly after.

Small companies are central to the American financial system and prosperity, accounting for over 99% of all companies with paid workers. I’m proud to play a job in supporting their progress by Gusto.

Shawn: There’s a variety of recommendation on the market concerning the completely different expertise individuals ought to purchase or the applied sciences they need to be taught. However my recommendation is to dig into the way you strategy issues. My distinctive trait is my options perspective and the best way that I see issues. In the event you can hone in on enhancing the way you see issues, it’s going to make the most important distinction in your profession.

For instance, once I take into consideration how a Payroll Admin may use Gusto, I don’t simply take into consideration how they may use the options and instruments within the product we’re constructing. I take into consideration the entire pre-work a Payroll Admin may have to do earlier than they even log into Gusto. This angle helps me higher perceive the right way to clear up for a way our clients strategy the product, not simply the utility of the product.

Shawn: Haha, I don’t know what a typical day is! Or perhaps a typical week! That’s as a result of I’ve seen a variety of fascinating challenges crop up day by day at work. I hardly ever see the identical issues twice!

But when I might break it down, a part of my day is spent caring for my groups — I’m a giant a part of a fair bigger crew, with people working all around the world. Which means checking in, connecting, celebrating their triumphs, collaborating by the challenges or being concerned in standups. Typically my function is to maintain issues light-hearted and inform some jokes, and to search out out what’s occurring in individuals’s lives. Different occasions my function is to search out methods to assist help my groups, particularly with what they’re having issue with, and deepening {our relationships} with cross-functional companions.

The opposite portion of my day is spent getting a way of what’s occurring within the financial system and with our clients, and bringing these holistic insights again to our roadmap to see how we will make sense of it strategically. This required a variety of knowledge evaluation on how properly our options within the product and the enterprise are doing total, and generally speaking on to clients to raised perceive the sentiment behind the info.

Shawn: I believe leaning into the enterprise worth and the shopper affect in every part that we’re doing is one thing I’m studying an awesome deal about at Gusto. Beforehand in my profession as an engineering chief, I’ve been involved with unlocking enterprise worth by engineering efforts. However right here at Gusto, the acute focus and empathy we’ve got for our clients is what I’m studying is one in every of Gusto’s key differentiators.

Shawn: I grew up in South Florida, which wasn’t on the time referred to as a giant tech hub or tech scene. So LinkedIn has been a giant useful resource for me to succeed in out to people and keep related. Nearly all of my learnings at this part of my profession relies inside the relationships I construct and understanding what the tech panorama is, all of which I can do on LinkedIn.

As for function fashions, I’ve had the fortune of getting labored instantly with some great leaders. Joanne Rodhe, and my present supervisor at Gusto, Rohini Pradeep, have been extraordinary.

Shawn: I’ve made it a dedication to make the annual pilgrimage to AfroTech. Once I went to my first AfroTech, it was held at a small convention corridor at a mall. And now it’s advanced into this huge world occasion! I attempt to keep as energetic and concerned in official and unofficial black tech organizations. I proceed to function a member of /dev/coloration for the reason that early days, and that group has been some of the instrumental in serving to me serve the black engineering neighborhood by mentorship and fellowship. Past that, I do weekly, month-to-month, and informal chats with former and present co-workers, and folk I’ve networked with. I spend a variety of time between the South Florida and San Francisco space, and staying in contact with these teams is one thing I spend a variety of time on whereas I’m there.

Shawn: I completely love this query. I at all times inform this story concerning the renaissance artists Bernini and Michaelangelo. You’ll discover Bernini’s fingerprints throughout Italy, throughout many artistic endeavors. Bernini was extraordinarily productive — he might run circles round Michaelangelo within the quantity of labor he might produce. However at any time when Michaelangelo produced artwork, he would transfer artwork ahead. So I might say to sturdy productive engineers, it’s extra about asking your self the query, “given my expertise, how can I transfer this artwork ahead?” That might be my recommendation for folk to have essentially the most affect.

For the love of our craft, I hope the reply to this query is completely different for everybody.

Shawn: Gusto is the primary place the place I really feel utterly protected to convey my true self to work on a regular basis and that may be celebrated throughout the board. It actually shines by not simply in our insurance policies, however in the best way we discuss product improvement and work together with our clients. We’ve made a variety of tough selections that not a variety of corporations would make as a result of we maintain a people-first mentality. We are going to eternally have fun and shield humanity, range and integrity — by our work, service and product.

Shawn: Sure after all! Recognize you for having me.



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