Angeline Tucker Executive Interview
Apr 12, 2022
5 MIN READ

How the Future of Work is Changing with Angeline Tucker, SoundHound’s VP of People and Culture

“I found SoundHound’s culture unique because it didn’t fit my preconceived notion of what a Silicon Valley startup might be like. I was expecting a very engineering-focused kind of hard-charging type of culture. Instead, there is this kindness and consideration for others,” says Angeline Tucker, SoundHound’s VP of People and Culture. 

Meet our Executive team! We’re kicking off our Executive Interview Series with the inspiring Angeline Tucker, SoundHound’s VP of People and Culture. In the interview, she discusses her background, why she chose SoundHound, what working during a pandemic has been like, the future of work, professional advice for other HR professionals, and more. 

This is the first in a series of executive spotlights. Stay tuned for more great insights from our executive team and C-Suite in the next few months!

Q: What is your background? How did you get into this field?

Angeline: I started as a consultant, and I had an engineering degree. I was not that great at programming, though. I was doing a lot of client-based work, and they said, “Hey, would you like to help us out with new hire orientation?” We were doing hyper-growth hiring with a ton of new people coming into the company.

For a six-month rotation, I did a new hire orientation and a five-week orientation for folks onboarding into the culture, introducing them to what the company was about. I kept going from there and just continued in different HR roles because I liked it.

Q: What made you decide to join SoundHound?

What was important was that the culture, values, and mission resonated with me and were aligned with my own values.

I love the space that SoundHound is in. I think it’s super exciting around voice AI and what we can do with the technology. From a company perspective, I like the culture and the leadership team. It seems different from a typical Silicon Valley startup, and the way people interact with each other and treat each other resonated with me.

Q: What has it been like joining SoundHound during such a pivotal year in the world?

I thought it would be hard joining in the middle of a pandemic. I wondered how I would navigate something that I normally did in person? Oddly, it turned out to be good because it allowed me to experience what a lot of our employees and people around the world are experiencing. 

So I interviewed, onboarded, and have been doing my job fully virtual for the last six months. It’s forced me to be creative and engage with people in different ways and learn new skills that I didn’t have before.

Q: How do you envision the future of work?

I think the pandemic has changed the future of work. We had already been talking about competition for top talent and how difficult it is to find talent now, but the pandemic accelerated a lot of these discussions. How we find talent and how people work now is completely different than what it was 2 years ago.

I think that employee choice and flexibility are going to move to the forefront. We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the Great Resignation, and the data is showing that people are quitting jobs, leaving jobs, and reflecting on what it is they want to do. What they look for in jobs now, I think, is very different. They want more job satisfaction. They want more flexibility. They want to feel more connected to the company because if they’re going to spend that time there, they want that time well spent and aligned with what they want in their own lives.

Q: How do those concepts guide your leadership of the people initiatives at SoundHound?

The changes from the pandemic in the past 2 years have affected how we look at people and initiatives and put employee flexibility and choice at the forefront. Any kind of initiative we have, we think about how it makes SoundHound a great place to work. How are we enabling people to work both virtually and in a hybrid fashion? How are we enabling them to also take into account their own wellbeing? 

Since we’re working in such different ways now, every initiative or program that we think about, we always want to apply these different lenses on them to make sure that whatever we implement, it’s furthering this new future of work that we’re seeing.

Coming into this role at SoundHound, we had goals around building up the people and infrastructure, focusing on communication, leadership, and different aspects of the culture. Given the needs that we have now to work more virtually or in a hybrid model, we’ve accelerated some of the initiatives.

Are we offering remote or hybrid options to employees going forward? Because that’s an important question that we’ve accelerated. How can we enable people to work more effectively in a virtual environment? Since so many of our employees are doing that now, that is a big question. 

We are asking if there are ways that we can get things done without meetings. Could that meeting have been an email? As an example for leaders, it’s also important that we’re equipping them with techniques on how to manage performance and encourage career development for their employees and team members, regardless of where they are.

Q: What makes the SoundHound culture unique?

I found SoundHound’s culture unique because it didn’t fit my preconceived notion of what a Silicon Valley startup might be like. I was expecting a very engineering-focused kind of hard-charging type of culture. Instead, there is this kindness and consideration for others, which was unexpected. 

It is still a very engineering-focused company, but there’s also the diversity of all the folks who do linguistics, as an example, that adds this interesting dimension to the overall culture and feeds this diversity in the company.

The other aspects of the culture that I like and that I found were specific to SoundHound are this intense curiosity from all people on multiple topics. There’s an openness to discuss a variety of topics.

I also like that there’s a genuine regard to help each other on a team. I know everyone always says, oh yes, teamwork. But when there’s a problem and people post it, everyone will try to figure out how to either solve the problem or make it better. There’s a very collaborative aspect of the culture.

Q: Can you talk a little about the plan for SoundHound ERGs and what has already been done?

Yes. One of our female engineers in Toronto actually reached out and said, “Hey, is there a way I can connect with other female engineers or women?” And I said, “Yes, let’s start an ERG (Employee Resource Group) to find others who might have similar interests or desires.” She found a handful of folks who were excited to get this started.

They pulled together and had their first event, which was a speed networking event. I think there were around 25 folks who attended. I’m super excited to see where that goes. 

Q: What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve received?

Probably the best piece of professional advice I’ve received is from one of my prior leaders who told me, “Perception is reality.” Even if you believe that this is how it should work, that everyone should understand this, if someone is coming to me and saying they don’t understand or they feel differently, I need to understand that their perception is their reality. That has served me well in so many situations to understand people’s perspectives.

Q: What advice would you give to someone in your role? 

The piece of advice I would give is that I always want to work myself out of a job. I think that having a strong bench and growing people is extremely important. So going into a role with the mentality of how quickly I can grow other leaders to do what I’m doing so that I can move on to do other things is something that has served me well.

Q: What is an accomplishment you’ve had at Soundhound that you’re exceptionally proud of?

I feel like it’s too hard to just pick one accomplishment out of the last six months. The team has been incredible. We’ve rolled out so many different things, including our first employee engagement survey and also a new workplace model for reopening our offices. I think if I had to pick one, though, I’m proud of what we’ve done from a diversity perspective. We’ve started two new employee-initiated ERGs. They are a Woman’s Affinity Group and also an ERG for LGBTQIA, which is great. 

We recognized Juneteenth and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation because it’s important that we support the diversity in our communities. I was proud that, as a leadership team, we’ve decided to add both of those to our formal paid holidays. 

At SoundHound, we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore SoundHound’s independent voice AI platform at SoundHound.com and register for a free account here. Want to learn more? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.

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