The Foursquare family is made up of many unique and talented people. Each one comes from an entirely different background, and brings something new and essential to our team. To show off the many skill sets and personalities we have on board, we’re launching the “FSQ Faces” series.
Meet Teddy Kolva, a manager on our Business Development team who joined Foursquare about three years ago. To learn more about how Teddy came to Foursquare, how his career has grown since joining our team, and where to find the perfect dive bar in Williamsburg, check out the Q&A below
Can you tell us a little bit about your current role and responsibilities at Foursquare?
I lead our partnership with Amazon and Amazon Web Services (AWS). I help to create a co-selling relationship with AWS so that our customers can access Foursquare products in the Cloud or wherever they’re already working with technology today.
It’s tradition at Foursquare to share a fun fact when you first join. What was your fun fact?
I grew up in the same hometown as Taylor Swift, and we went to the same high school.
What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
We’re working on integrating Foursquare’s entire suite of enterprise products into the AWS Marketplace. In doing so, we’re able to meet new and existing users of FSQ products in the environments they’re already working with. So, if a data analyst is already working with AWS data tools, they can access FSQ data in that same ecosystem. I think that’s a pretty meaningful objective, given just how many customers rely on AWS today.
How did you end up at FSQ? What has your career journey been like?
Someone on Linkedin reached out to me, and I was really intrigued by Foursquare’s vision of servicing enterprise customers and the proven effectiveness of its ad tech solutions. I could see that the company was pursuing interesting pivots in strategy, and that’s what initially drew me to the company.
How has your career grown or changed since you joined Foursquare?
My initial role was in account management, working to ensure client satisfaction. Today, I’ve taken on a role that involves thinking strategically about how our entire company’s mission can be furthered through a relationship with a Cloud technology partner like AWS. I’m also thinking and working more cross-functionally across product and engineering and sales teams.
How has Foursquare changed since you started? What positive evolutions have you seen within the company?
Foursquare is constantly evolving, which is really exciting. Recently, we’ve consolidated our strategy and built a robust enterprise identity. Our senior leaders have a clear picture of where the company needs to be in the next few years.
What advice would you give to other employees looking to grow within Foursquare?
The number one thing you can do is embrace how friendly and cross-functionally minded people are here. It’s so worth it to reach out and befriend an engineer, or someone on the product team – even if you’re not working on the technical side yourself. Having empathy and an understanding of their working style ultimately expands your opportunities. Your job may be somewhat siloed, but if you can extend and build relationships even remotely with other teams, that definitely increases your exposure and broadens your horizons. You might be able to move from account management to business development, for example.
What sets Foursquare apart as an employer? What about the culture makes you excited to come to work?
Most people here have a very clear understanding of what they need to do every day to be successful. We have a lot of low-ego, highly-creative problem solvers working at all levels, and that helps build a really nice culture. We’re about improving the overall output through learning, failing, and trying again without shame.
Why is diversity equity and inclusion important to you, and how does Foursquare’s culture embody these values?
Foursquare invites a diversity of opinion and thought that challenges you. This openness makes our own thought processes better, and also fosters the sort of low-ego and lighthearted culture that makes Foursquare great.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I would say, “shed the Imposter Syndrome.” Make sure you know that you do deserve to be where you are, and you are equipped to face the tasks and roles that you take on.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to watch sports, read, and travel. I’m not a daily runner, but I do like to squeeze in a few runs a week to feel good about myself. I’ve really gotten addicted to the runner’s high.
What is a book you’ve recently read, or a podcast you’ve recently listened to that you would recommend?
I like mystery beach reads, but lately I’ve been reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, which is Teddy Roosevelt’s biography. It’s just a perfect portrait of leadership, and fits into that idea of confidence and reminding yourself of your own self-worth.
What is the local hidden gem that you would recommend to people?
Midway on Grand Street in Williamsburg. It was the first bar I visited after the COVID restrictions opened up.