In order to highlight the amazing local businesses in Florida’s 47th District, the Anna For Florida campaign has launched “47 Means Business,” an ongoing blog series to spotlight local business owners in Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, and throughout the district.
Our blog digs deeper into local businesses by collaborating with business owners to showcase their success and to identify what the legislature can do to support them. Together, these profiles come together to create a larger picture of the amazing diversity and ingenuity of local business owners that Anna hopes to serve and represent in the Florida House.
Team Anna: What inspired you to start your small business?
Cassandra Wilcox: I started Code Hangar with two other software developers on my team at a company where I had worked for four years. The three of us all quit our jobs at about the same time — two of us on the same day. We were frustrated by the way the organization we worked for was being run. It was very bottom-line focused. It didn’t pay its female employees well. Our team was never given the resources it needed to deliver quality work on-time, even though we had very large contracts. Many of us were expected to work extra hours in return for promises that were never delivered. Basically, we couldn’t stand any longer to work for an organization that didn’t value its employees or its customers as much as it valued closing big contracts.
We could have looked for jobs anywhere else, but instead we started Code Hangar to set an example for how we believe businesses should be run. We wanted to prove that it was possible for a company to deliver excellent service to its customers, to be generous with its employees, and to give back to the community where it is privileged to thrive.
For me, Code Hangar’s growth, and our ability to deliver excellent software faster than any place else I know, is a result of our commitment to building an environment in which our teammates and our clients are able to do our best work together.
TA: What is the most exciting part about owning and operating a small businesses?
CW: The most exciting thing about running my small business has been learning how to take my skills as a software developer and technical problem solver, and apply it to building an organization with processes that optimize my team’s ability to produce great work, live our best lives, and contribute back to the community where we got started.
TA: Describe a perfect day at work.
CW: Code Hangar is a fully remote company, so my perfect day starts on my front porch with my dog in the yard and a cup of coffee. I’m reading updates from my team in Slack that let me know what everyone will be working on throughout the day. Perhaps we have a sprint review with one of our clients, who I’ll meet at East End Market, then pull up the rest of our team on Video chat. I might screenshare with our front-end developer to help her solve a tricky issue. I may review a design prototype with our UX designer to make sure it meets our clients requirements. I’ll most definitely spend time chatting with my best friend and CTO about our next hiring moves and what the weather is like in Ecuador. Although he was born and raised in Florida, but has been living the digital nomad life since we started the company three years ago. If it’s the day of our monthly all-hands meeting, we’ll spend an hour sharing all of Code Hangar’s high-level financials with the whole team, celebrate our successes, and look forward to what’s coming next.
TA: Are there any current policy issues impacting your business? If so, how?
CW: Health insurance is difficult for us. As a company trying to set an example for how businesses should compensate and reward its employees, this is super important to me, yet it’s still difficult for us to provide health insurance benefits to our employees in the current ecosystem. We do plan to provide health insurance benefits to our employees somehow in 2019, but I’m still not sure yet what the best options are for an organization of our size.
TA: What could the legislature do better to help you thrive?
CW: Provide a better path for small businesses to provide healthcare benefits to their employees.