The Download: Melissa Phillippi, Co-Founder & CEO, WorkDove

Melissa Phillippi is Co-Founder and CEO of WorkDove. Helping people be great and the organizations they support thrive is what motivates and inspires Melissa on a daily basis. It’s also her background for co-creating WorkDove in 2015. [The startup was originally called Performance Culture before re-branding as WorkDove in early 2022.]

Leaning on years of coaching and training business owners, HR leaders, and their staff, Melissa partners with the WorkDove team to create meaningful workflows and performance and talent management apps that work. Prior to Melissa’s years in business coaching and consulting, she served as a CFPⓇ professional.

1. What is in your pockets?

I usually am seen at the American Tobacco campus with too many things on my person. I really need to pare this down. I always have a laptop bag with me. It’s easy to, on the fly—especially with today’s kind of working environment—to be able to be able to work from any location. So, during the work week, you’re always going to see me with a laptop bag that’s got too many things in it.

2. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?

At WorkDove, our tagline is to bring peace to the workplace. We do that through more effective communication between employees and managers. We are a performance and talent management Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). There are a lot of things out there that do something similar. What makes us different is that we actually created WorkDove out of real field work.

We were consultants first, who were charged with helping create healthy, high-performing teams. And people are people, no matter what industry you’re in. So being able to figure out that human behavior is this way—and then create workflows that actually align with how the brain works—was how we approach that and how we design the application. We always try to make it more and more intuitive so that you have to spend less time on the tech and more time on the conversations. That’s really what WorkDove is.

On Sept. 12, we launched a new WorkDove product called WorkDove Ignite. The genesis of this is that over time, we have absolutely become more and more robust—as a lot of tech platforms get—and a great solution for upper-mid market. Obviously, that’s also a longer sales process and we ended up noticing that sometimes, it was just too much. It was just too many things. It was almost overwhelming.

So we wanted to strip it down to the basics of good performance management. If you can only do one thing this year, and even maybe next year, how do we have good, continuous coaching conversations with our check-in app? How do we lead up to a well-created and well-conducted performance review? And how do we have peer-to-peer recognition along the way that celebrates those behaviors that are aligned with the organization’s core values? WorkDove Ignite takes those three main core apps and packages it, now in a fast onboarding that you don’t have to pay separately for. It’s a quick uptake, and it’s a much more affordable price point than the rest of the platform. We’re really excited about being able to reach another group of organizations that maybe were just not ready for the full platform so that we can continue to bring peace to the workplace.

3. What is your favorite coffee spot?

The Oak House here in downtown Durham. I just love the coffee spot and it was even more fun to find out that it’s actually owned by a family that we go to church with and are friends with.

4. What keeps you up at night?

The personal world. I would like to bring some authenticity to the startup world by saying there are some things that we’re all afraid to admit. But the thing is, we’re actually always thinking about it. Everybody thinks about your product. Is it working right? Do you have product-market fit? We all worry about revenue, we all have our personnel challenges. We all worry about economic headwinds. We kind of all are thinking about the same things, my startup founders and I, and it’s keeping us up at night.

5. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?

Mateo, right down here close by the office. It has great wine, food, and appetizers.

6. What is next for you or your organization?

At this stage, it’s really about scaling. The last two years and the Jurassic capital investment [from Durham’s Jurassic Capital in late 2020] was all about helping us grow up and get clearer about who we are and where we’re going and what problems are we truly solving. Now it’s about really scaling the sales engine, customer success, and marketing side of things. Luckily, the product is already fantastic, and we continue to grow it. At this point, it’s just about lather, rinse, repeat.

About Brooks Malone 92 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and Raleigh Founded.