Anne has been working for Brightspot since August 2012.
This month, Rose went on the record with Anne Ulrich, our chief coffee officer and Director of Details at Brightspot, formerly Perfect Sense. Anne plays an integral role in building culture and keeping our team fueled throughout the day. Rose and Anne discussed what led her to switch from a career in sales and marketing to baking, her cabin on the Shenandoah River and her role in setting the tone for everybody who walks into our office.
Where did you work prior to Brightspot? What brought you here?
I worked at Northside Social, which is a bakery, wine bar, and coffee house in Arlington. I am a baker by trade, but I ended up here because I know Parker. He had coached my daughter for years and was a regular at Northside Social. We kept in touch and when Brightspot was looking for a barista about a year ago, he reached out to me and here I am!
Can you tell me more about your role at Brightspot?
Very simply, I make a lot of coffee for a lot of people every day.
From coffee, to lunches, to Valentine's Day guessing games, you play a central role in creating the company culture for Brightspot. What do you think is most important to building a special company culture?
I think the most important part is making everybody feel welcome. Greeting every person that comes to our office with a smile is hugely important and makes everyone feel at ease. Whether it is a candidate coming for an interview, a customer meeting with our team, or just an employee showing up for work, I want them to feel welcome, because if you feel valued in your workplace it will make you a better employee. I just try to play a small part in making that happen.
What traits or characteristics are most important to making you successful at your job?
I think having a background in hospitality is very helpful. Knowing how to work within the restrictions of timelines and budgets is also critical in my role.
Previously, you worked as a baker. How did you get first get interested in baking?
I had a mid-life crisis and decided to go to culinary school seven years ago to learn how to bake. Previously, I was in sales and marketing, so I completely changed gears. It was definitely the right move. Ending up at Brightspot was the best thing has happened in the past year.
Do you have a favorite treat you bake for special occasions?
Pie! I love pie! I love all kinds and enjoy experimenting, but my favorite is rhubarb.
Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working for Brightspot?
Oh, I love all the people! Actually I just love everything about my job. I plan and organize behind the scenes stuff that makes Brightspot a special place to work and I get to manage budgets which I find enjoyable. Also, I really enjoy making coffee and learning how to make new espresso drinks.
What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
I have a cabin in the Shenandoah and enjoy spending time there hiking and kayaking. It's on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, which is a great place for tubing. My hobby is taking care of the cabin. It's a lot of work, but definitely a labor of love.
What was the most recent book your read? What was it about?
I recently read The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. It was my book club's book. It was a murder mystery about a woman who only killed people she loved. It was a suspenseful, creepy, dark-humor novel, but I don't think I would recommend it.
You were very involved in the Northern Virginia Swim League as team rep for the McLean Marlins. What did you enjoy the most about summer swimming?
I loved being a team rep, it was so much fun. The best part was that it was a whole family activity with my daughters swimming and me running the team behind the scenes. We all went to the meets and social events and got to spend time together. My kids swam for a long time, so being involved as a team rep allowed me to know everybody and make many special relationships.