Beyond Birthdays: Our Culture Committee Creates Meaningful Company Culture

After-School All-Stars is on a mission to be a great place to work. In addition to regularly seeking out feedback from employees and implementing responsive policies, we formed the Culture Committee to uphold our organizational values (entrepreneurial, collaborative, transparency, accountability and proactive) but also, to make After-School All-Stars an engaging, inspiring, meaningful and fun place to be every day. Employees volunteer for quarterly stints and are responsible for planning birthday and tenure celebrations, holiday parties, roundtable discussions and other responsive programming. Hear from the 2018 Winter committee, headed up by Breana Conner and Melody Aminpour.  

Why did you join Culture Committee?   

Melody: Because Breana asked me. 

Breana: Because I knew I would be great at it. 

Melody: To offer more insight… It was 8:30 in the morning and I had just gotten to work.  I went into the kitchen to make coffee and Breana popped up with “a Very important question to ask.”  And that’s when she asked if I would join her on the Culture Committee. It’s worth noting that she already had a pen with her, ready to sign us up.  

Breana: I chose to team up with Melody because I know that we have distinct and diverse perspectives and lived experiences.  We have a unique opportunity as the Culture Committee, within a rapidly growing organization, to foster meaningful conversations.  We identify individually as Black, Iranian, Jewish, Queer, and First Generation American.  I want to cultivate conversations that are inclusive and in alignment with the diversity that we share as a team, but also, which mirrors the diversity of the youth we serve.  We couldn’t just do birthdays when we had February (Black History Month) and March (Women’s History Month) in our hands! 

What do you think the Culture Committee means to the organization? 

Breana: The company’s value of transparency really resonated with Melody and me.  Organizationally, we define transparency as: “We are honest with each other. We ask for help.  We give credit where credit is due. Transparency enables the team to support each other in doing their best work.  It is every employee’s responsibility to share ideas, challenges, and needs openly.” When I consider what is important to me about a workplace I look for a sense of safety and value.  I think that the Culture Committee can assist in offering both of those things to our professional community.   

Favorite event/thing about the Culture Committee? 

Melody:  Originally, we were hesitant to provoke a conversation about equity and civil rights for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  Both of us were relatively new to the company and unsure of the atmosphere within the organization.  Our intention was to begin a dialogue but we were concerned about how it would be received.  In the end, we decided to go for it because we value a professional environment that makes space for honest and real conversations. 

Breana: And we were very pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback and engagement that we were met with.  After that event, I felt very thankful for everyone’s time and candor.   

Melody: Because of our MLK Day conversation, we decided to continue to focus our tenure’s attention on cultivating dialogue and addressing the issues that affect our staff, community, and ultimately the youth we serve. As a committee, we are excited to continue celebrating Black History Month with themed content shared weekly, and for March, a celebration of women!


Our thanks and appreciation to Breana and Melody for embracing transparency and making this quarter’s Culture Committee a great example of how we are striving to make ASAS a great place to work!