“Welcome! Come to the kitchen, we have food and coffee!” These are the first words that greet me as I walk into the Windward office for the start of my summer internship.
Situated atop a 360-degree-view skyscraper, Windward embodies the avant-garde Israeli tech startup vibe: no dress code, early morning yoga, World Cup screenings, and casual conversations with the CEO. It’s every millennial’s dream.
My Windward life begins in the Sales department, with an in-depth on-boarding and fast-paced introduction to professional life. I marvel at how employees balance high-pressure work with a relaxed atmosphere, discussing multi-million dollar deals one second, and the correct way to eat Tim-Tams the next (note: both are complicated).
Global languages course seamlessly through the office, bouncing from colloquial jokes in Hebrew to formal presentations in English and phone calls home in French – all as coworkers come to and from meetings with clients all over the world. This multinational excitement binds the company together, motivating us to keep up with our work, and making the “l’chaim” shot of rum to celebrate the recent $16.5 million fundraising all the more gratifying.
What interning at Windward has made me realize is that I ultimately want – and need – to work somewhere that aligns with my own values, like comfort, flexibility, and food. Windward prizes hard work, concrete contributions and individual achievements, and an incredibly high quality of people that can’t be easy to find. Some of my friends in Tel Aviv, working at other startups, brag about how little they have to do, or how great it is to put in just four days a week – after all, it’s only an internship, and the real fun is having an epic summer in Israel. But I quickly learned that staying late at Windward to finish an important slide deck, do an extra hour of research on a new project, or spend time in the office learning about my coworkers’ fascinating lives, is in fact a critical part of the epic-ness of my summer in Tel Aviv.
Although I have less than a month left, I know I won’t forget the foundations this experience has helped me set for future endeavors, both personal and professional. I will proudly wear my Windward hoodie and backpack back to the United States, hopefully bringing some of that maritime magic home with me. And, of course, I will never improperly eat a Tim Tam ever again.
Eric Stinehart is a summer intern at Windward