Creating a Corporate Culture that Lasts, with Everett Harper

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According to Everett Harper, “there’s no perfect culture…from a DEI perspective or even just a business perspective.”  So if it can’t be perfect, how do you start to build a solid corporate culture that lasts?  For individuals, it includes hard work, intentional recovery, and finding a purpose. For companies, it’s about supporting all of that and more.

Everett Harper is the CEO and Co-founder of Truss,  which designs, builds, and scales modern software that exceeds standards for speed and security. He’s the author of the upcoming book, Move to the Edge, Declare it Center, available March 22, 2022.


Jackie Ferguson: Thanks for listening to this episode of Diversity Beyond the Checkbox. Today’s guest is Everett Harper. Everett is the CEO and co-founder of Truss, which builds software and infrastructure to help companies scale and modernize. Everett has written for Forbes, Fortune, and Tech Crunch, and has been a featured speaker at Dent, Techstars, Dreamforce, and Women 2.0. Everett, thank you for being here today.

Everett Harper: Yeah, thank you. I’ve been looking forward to this as good to see you again.

Jackie: Yes. So Everett, let’s jump into your background, your family, a little about your identity, whatever you’d like to share.

Everett: Yeah. So, I was born in the Hudson valley of New York. to IBM parents. And they came from, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in particular, a neighborhood called Homewood, which has a big legacy. And we have a connection there. and they came up in the early sixties, in order to start working at IBM.

And my mom was a secretary at first, in those days, when she became pregnant with me, she was not able to. continue working. IBM didn’t want pregnant women in the office. So she decided, well, that’s more important to do a family that for 10 years came back and then, worked her way up from being a receptionist or secretary in those days to actually passing the test to become programmer and wound up having a 30-year career as a programmer.

From the end of mainframes all the way through the Dawn of PCs and pretty amazing given she did not have a college degree, neither of my parents did. So that was definitely part of what was going on at home.

Jackie: Love that and just, you know, for our listeners Everett, and we discovered this in our pre interview, you and I are both from the Hudson valley. I think we went to the same high school, John Jay High School. Is that right?

Everett: that’s correct.

Jackie: And then our parents, well, my mother specifically, both of my parents are from Pittsburgh, but my mother specifically is from Homewood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So ever from here forth, we are officially cousins.

Everett: That’s right. That’s right. You went to Westinghouse right?.

Jackie: Yes, that’s right. That’s right.

Everett: Exactly. So we went, legacy of high schools across multiple states.

Jackie: I know, I love that, you know, it’s such a small world. And then of course, you know, in the Hudson valley, my parents also worked at IBM. So, it’s so amazing, like how connected we are and, and this is our, our first meeting. It’s the funniest thing, but I love that. What a small world.

Everett: It is that, it’s one of those, it’s one of those things about being connected as well. That there’s always often places where people can be connected if they kind of take a little bit of time to dig in a little bit further. So, I appreciate being asked the question about background, cause we never would have discovered that.

Jackie: That’s right. And, and, you know, I love your point just now, because if people take the time to talk, right, and they’ll find that they have more connections than they think. And I love just extending my family to new cousins.

Everett: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Cause we don’t have enough clearly.

Jackie: That’s right. All right. So let’s talk about how you got started in your career. What did you think you’d be doing? And I love to ask this question because so many times young folks coming right out of college, they think they need to have it all figured out, but I’m interested in learning a little bit about your story and what you thought you’d be doing. And then just tell us about the tr the journey that you took leading up to Truss.

Everett: Sure. Let me take two steps back and then go forward. So I grew up Hudson valley. Played soccer from age 6, wound up going to Duke university as a biomedical and electrical engineer, won a national championship at soccer, first in Duke’s history.

Full Episode Transcript

Diversity Beyond the Checkbox is brought to you by The Diversity Movement, hosted by Head of Content Jackie Ferguson, and is a production of Earfluence.

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