Did you know that you can take the pit of an avocado and grow it into a tree that bears fruit within a matter of years?
Neither did I until, after a long day last July, I stumbled on an article about it while deep in an internet rabbit hole. Inspired, I walked into the office the next day and said, “Let’s just try growing one and see what happens!” It was a crazy—maybe even stupid—idea; I had never kept a plant and none of us knew a thing about growing a tree. But we decided to just take a risk and throw ourselves into trying something new as a team.
That’s what we do here at Paro: we take smart risks, because we believe that trying something new and creative and failing is better than not trying at all.
Thus, Javi the avo tree was born.
This is one of the reasons I fell in love with Paro.
At the beginning of my journey here, we had no idea what we were doing and we were constantly pursuing new, creative growth strategies with startup clients. Once we started to see some success with that, we challenged ourselves to do something more, like working with small businesses. Once we started to establish ourselves in that space, we knew we had to keep moving forward and try something new. That’s another one of our values — at Paro, we never settle. It keeps us challenged and engaged, and I find that extremely exciting.
Working at Paro means being comfortable not knowing exactly what to expect, but going after that new project anyways. It means never being complacent. And, in the case of Javi, working at Paro means saving the pit of the avocado you ate for lunch and trying to figure out a way to suspend it in water so it grows roots. Turns out it’s harder than you think… which is why I needed a little help from the team!
None of us were gardening experts, but we all came together for little Javi because, here at Paro, we have each other’s backs. He wasn’t just my crazy “pet project.” It literally took everyone on our team, from the intern who built the boat that cradled Javi as an avocado pit in water, to all my coworkers who continued to feed and water him once he finally pushed out his first roots and was transferred to the pot. No single person has all the answers here (especially about growing an avocado tree).
After two weeks, we saw roots. And after three weeks, we saw our first stem. I could barely believe it!
It might be cliché to say, but at Paro, we truly are focused on winning together as a team. We can take risks because we’re there to help each other and develop every project as a community. Little Javi would never have grown into the adolescent plant he is today if it were just up to me, but luckily, our little guy flourished with the devoted attention of every person in the office. And Paro would never have grown if all of our teams weren’t devoted to constantly helping each other overcome obstacles and challenge assumptions together.
It’s been nine months and he’s two feet tall with leaves and everything, and an indispensable part of our team. He just keeps growing and staying healthy, all thanks to our collective efforts. Javi’s growth represents my entire experience working at Paro: starting with a unique, newfound idea and working to turn it into something that grows and brings the team together.
At other companies that I’ve experienced, I simply got plugged into executing a rigid, existing strategy. But at Paro, because we’re young and growing (like Javo), I’ve been a part of creating processes and values for a breathing, dynamic organization. I like to say that I’ve been building the ride rather than just being along for the ride.
Because we take risks, because we never settle for the established “way of doing something,” and because we always have each others’ backs, everyone here has that same opportunity to make their impact on growing Paro as a company—and, of course, on growing Javi!
About Alex Loewenstein
Alex is Paro’s Manager of Business Development and Inside Sales. He graduated from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 2014. He is Paro’s current office 3-point shooting champion, and prefers Detroit-style Coneys over Chicago dogs.