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  • Dan Berger

Finding Belonging in the Workplace



From time-to-time, as I reflect on the eight years of being the CEO of Social Tables, I get sad that I don’t keep in touch with more of my former teammates. As I process these feelings, I am filled with gratitude for what we accomplished together and trust that they are all doing well. When I started ST in 2011, I set out to create a simple app to help guests at events feel a little less awkward. The idea was simple: create a digital community out of every table at a wedding so that people can mingle online before the event. If they got to know each other prior to the event, the thesis was, they’d have a better time during it. Thanks to the commitment of hundreds of employees and the patronage of thousands of customers, this seating chart app went on to create a new software category (event design) and, while doing so, being recognized as a top workplace by multiple outlets. It’s one of my proudest achievements – the company whose mission was to bring people closer together at an event also brought people closer together at work. I have a treasure trove of emails, notes, texts, and cards from former colleagues that I have saved as reminders of the impact we had on them but, as time goes on, I hear from them less than I would like. Despite the fact I miss them, what gives me comfort is knowing that many of them are still connected to one another. They are friends to this day, some are colleagues in new places, and a few are even partnered. They’ve found belonging and I’m thankful to have played a role in their journeys. For me, admittedly, I’ve found less belonging (from a professional standpoint). Over the last few months I've come to realize that part of the reason I created the culture that we had was to find a sense of belonging myself. Being away from my own company has left a hole in my heart that I yearn to fill with a new venture. This past Thanksgiving, I spent a lot of time thinking about how grateful I am for what I’ve had. While I'm eager to find belonging from another role, I can't push it. Until I do so, I'll keep writing my book on this very topic. 😊

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