“We’re a people company,” said Andera Chief Financial Officer Chris Burns, speaking about the organization’s new offices. In November 2011, Andera moved from its two Westside locations to Downtown Providence, collecting its 87 employees under the same roof. Burns was the architect of this seismic company shift.
“With our old setup, connecting as a group was really difficult,” he said, walking past a common area where the motto “All Together Now” is stenciled on the wall. More than ever, he appreciates having impromptu meetings, or a collegial “by-the-way” thanks from a colleague for the open-plan atmosphere. The environment in which the company now exists means bright ideas aren’t lost through decentralization; they can be harnessed and successfully employed. After all, Andera is a people company – thanks to Burns.
Andera’s business is to provide customer-acquisition solutions to more than 500 progressive financial institutions nationwide, using multichannel software applications to improve their account opening, loan origination and lead-generation processes. In other words – thanks to Andera – a potential customer can be solicited, acquired and then walk into a bank or loan office, either physically or remotely, and apply using a tablet or smartphone.
Andera recognizes that banking has become less face-to-face and more interface to interface. Burns’ role in the midst of this trend has been to fortify business and grow it. Developing relationships with new investors, overseeing negotiations, managing acquisitions and generally having a guiding hand in all things financial has defined Burns as a cross between a very senior factotum and entrepreneurial Super Glue.
On the wall of the lobby is another symbol of the company’s ascending track. Less a representation of Burns’ logistical prowess, the collage made from tiny pink and green pigs shows the number “2.5.”