When Jason Calhoun left home to embark upon his career, he never thought he’d be coming back home to the Pacific Northwest. But we’re really glad he is doing just that. He’ll be joining the Allovus family as Vice President of Operations.
Allovus: Can you tell us a little about your background?
Jason: I went to Central Washington University for two reasons: 1) Because they had a good graphic design program and that’s what I thought I wanted to do for a career and 2) Because they had a good diving team. Hayley and Rob and I were all on the diving team together in Gig Harbor—so that was important to me to continue. The three of us went on to dive at Central as well.
The way I helped pay for my schooling was to become a Resident Advisor (RA). As an RA, I became fascinated by student development, and so I switched gears midway and got a degree in education so I could work in Higher Ed. I did that for a few years down in Portland—and then I had to make up my mind if I wanted to pursue graduate work so I could stay in Higher Ed or do something completely different and break into Corporate America—which is what I ended up doing.
Allovus: How did you get your start in Human Resources?
Jason: I kind of fell into HR. I had no idea what HR was about, I just knew a lot about training people and recruiting people. That kind of led my career in different areas of Human Resources, most of which have been with technology companies. The first HR gig I had was working with a union shop in Beloit, Wisconsin. It really was crazy. I didn’t like it. I moved to Chicago within a year and started working in the technology industry. After living in Chicago for about 8 years, I moved to the Silicon Valley and was happy to be back on the west coast. Most of my family lives in the Tacoma/Gig Harbor area. I’ve lived there for about 9 years now.
Allovus: What made you decide to join the Allovus team?
Jason: About a year ago, I was having dinner with Hayley and Rob. Hayley said, “We really need an HR person. You should come join us.” And I said, “You’re really sweet, that’s very nice of you, but you don’t need me! You need an HR Manager. You need somebody who is in the nitty gritty, and a small company like Allovus probably doesn’t need someone with a corporate level of business experience. And she said, “I don’t know, just think about it.” Then Rob said, “Uh oh. You do realize this is going to happen, right?”
I was happy at my previous company, and I wasn’t really looking to make a change. But when I was ready to move on, I started talking to a small PR agency in San Francisco who is even smaller than Allovus (35 people). They talked about why it was so important for them to invest in a strategic HR and Operations person like me because their product was their people. What they do is to provide amazing individuals as support for other organizations.
It dawned on me then… Why was I denying at least a thoughtful conversation with Hayley and Rob? Maybe I should consider a company the size of Allovus. So, I called Hayley and said, “I’m serious about moving, and if you guys are serious about having a conversation, let’s sit down and discuss what you need, and see if someone like me would be a good fit for your company.” I flew up to Washington in early July. I told my family that this was really unlikely to turn into something. But it was a wonderful two days there, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I got to meet people like Liz and Alan and Karen. I’m like, oh my gosh, these are my people. I love these people! From there it was really easy to say yes. Even though I had no interest in moving back to the Pacific Northwest—I don’t like rain. But all the stars aligned, and I think it’s really good for our family; a wonderful opportunity. I always jump in with feet first.
Allovus: What is your title and what will you be doing for Allovus?
Jason: I’m really not big on titles, but I’ll be the VP of Operations. I’m going to focus on the internal and support mechanisms that keep the business running. Hayley is going to focus on business development and account management. I’ll be working with Erin, Liz, Charlie, Shannon, Heather, and Karen.
Allovus: What do you hope to accomplish at Allovus?
Jason: My hope is that I get to somehow help a company evolve and grow and find out who they are. It’s important to me to have creativity and the ability to push the envelope a bit, or maybe think about doing it a different way. Hayley was interested and open to conversation and ideas; it’s really what she was looking for.
Allovus: Your family! Tell us about them.
Jason: In my immediate family, there’s my partner of 10 years; his name is J. And we have a 4-year-old daughter named Savanna. She became part of our lives when she was 2 months old. She was part of the foster/adopt program. My nephew, who is 13, is also adopted. I have 4 foster siblings—so that’s always been a part of what our family looks like. Every time I came home to visit, there was someone new who was calling my parents “Mom and Dad.” We are really lucky. It always felt great to know that other people saw how cool my parents were. I was 40 when I became a dad. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
On that note, we know that Jason will fit right into our own Allovus family. We hope you can all meet him at our upcoming Open House on September 10th!