Top-notch employees from the businesses ranked first in Madison’s best places to work

A business is only as good as its best employees

In the following edited Q&As, we asked two employees from each of the businesses ranked first in their respective categories about what makes their company a Best Place to Work.

Carex Consulting Group (No. 1 in Small: 10-50 employees)

Stacey Dougherty (left) has been a candidate relations specialist — or, as she calls it, a “talent matchmaker” — for the past two years with Carex Consulting Group. Before working with Carex as a candidate relations specialist, Kevin Rilea (right) left Madison after college to work at Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis.Top-notch employees from the businesses ranked first in Madison’s best places to work

With so many startups in this city, why did working at Carex appeal to you?
SD: I love working for a high-functioning, innovative team that is so passionate about the work we do every day. We try new things, fail fast, work really hard and have fun doing it.
KR: I found Carex through a startup careers page and was very intrigued by the mission. Carex took a field that historically has been commission-based — and one in which people were looked at as commodities instead of actual people — and completely changed the game. I can be completely transparent and open with our candidates based on our business model. The real hook that made me settle on Carex was the team. Rachel, our CEO, empowers all of us to work in our own unique ways and to collaborate and ideate every day. She really believes in trying new things and learning from them, even if they might fail.

Why do you continue to work for Carex?
SD: Everyone on our team is hardworking, transparent, innovative, fun and so passionate about the work we do. We try new things, aren’t afraid to fail and truly work in a team mindset. We trust each other and celebrate each other’s successes.
KR: This is one of the first jobs that I’ve had where I actually get excited about going into work. I love the people I work with. We make sure that for our own team, everybody participates in the interview process and gets to voice their opinions about people being the right fit or not. Everybody really cares about each other and has each other’s backs.

What do you like about working in Madison?
SD: Madison is a great place to work because of the amazing opportunities available in the area. Madison has a really strong startup ecosystem, with companies that are solving [difficult] problems and positively impacting people’s lives for the better every day.
KR: It’s an innovative city and continues to grow. The city has so much to offer to people of any age and only continues to expand in terms of the things you can do here. We’ve added an entire professional soccer team, a new huge music venue, and it seems like every week there’s a new restaurant or a series of new events.

Hampton Inn & Suites Madison/Downtown (No. 1 in Medium: 51-100 employees)

As the breakfast lead for Hampton Inn & Suites Madison/Downtown, Aurelia Sales (left) makes sure guests are happy during breakfast and that meals are fit for vegetarians or those with gluten allergies. Elissa Mitchell (right), a guest services representative, helps at the front desk by interacting with guests.Top-notch employees from the businesses ranked first in Madison’s best places to work

What are some of the things you enjoy most about working at Hampton Inn & Suites?
AS: The company will try to keep you with them, so they give you many benefits. The other part is they are very nice people that I’m on the team with, and also our manager here is very kind.
EM: Honestly, we’re all very friendly — every time I come into work, I’m working with one of my friends. And it makes us work that much better together because you’re comfortable enough to ask for help.

What makes the city of Madison such a good place for you to live and work?
AS: I have kids in school, and we see it as a good fit with the district. The other good thing is I live close to home, and my shift ends around 1 p.m. so I can take care of my kids. All I can say is I love it!
EM: My favorite part of Madison is definitely in the summer because we have things like Art Fair on the Square. There’s so much to do and there is always something going on.

Nordic (No. 1 in Large: 101+ employees)

At Nordic, Melissa Flores (right) is a senior analyst in the managed services department who supports two clients on the East Coast. Bridget Bell (left) works as an account director on the company’s client partnerships team.Top-notch employees from the businesses ranked first in Madison’s best places to work

What attracted you to Madison for work?
MF: The opportunities for young people in Madison are growing at such an exciting speed. I also love following all the entrepreneurs and startups that are taking flight from Madison.

Can you tell me why you chose Nordic?
MF: I chose to work at Nordic because I wanted an intellectual challenge (I definitely got what I asked for!) and to work for a company with a lot of growth opportunities.

What motivates you to continue working with Nordic?
MF: I want to stay because I get a lot of satisfaction from working for a company like Nordic that cares about me, cares about our clients, cares about our clients’ patients and cares about our community. I feel great working for a great company.
BB: It is absolutely the people. It’s about being able to really feel that I can trust my colleagues, and that they have not only the best interest for our company, but also for the patients and families that we serve and for each other. I love my job. I’m pretty lucky because this is the only place I have worked where I have absolutely been embraced for being who I am. I am unapologetically myself and yet it’s embraced. That’s really encouraging as a loud, outspoken gay woman to have that because that doesn’t always happen.

What do you enjoy about living in Madison?
MF: I love Madison’s energy and passion for all things Midwest: lakes, beer, cheese curds, etc.!
BB: Probably the number of different types of activities. There really is something for everybody, and it is a really good vibe for families.

Claire VanValkenburg compiled this Q&A.

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