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Team Landed

Personal Development: How Landed Invests in its Employees

Henry Demasco | 20 May 2022

Saige Clawson was clicking through her junk email when she saw one from her local arts society.

It was promoting the group’s five-week printmaking class, and Clawson decided it was just what she needed.

Saige art 1An example of printmaking work by Saige Clawson, Operations Associate at Landed.

“Growing up I took weekly art classes where I learned to oil paint. But as an adult, I haven't given myself opportunities to practice and stretch my artistic abilities,” said Saige, an Operations Associate at Landed. “I had never done printmaking but had always thought it would be a fun art form to practice. Landed gives us a yearly budget to use toward personal development, and I knew that this was the perfect thing to use some of that money for.”

Landed employees have access to $5,000 per year on personal development activities that help them grow their skills, build connections within their community, and try new things. Reimbursable expenses include educational classes, personal coaching or counseling, and membership fees for community and professional groups. Landed’s founders decided to offer the perk in lieu of things like catered lunches and in-office dry-cleaning services.

“While those are generous perks, we have found they don’t do enough to improve employee connection, growth, or engagement,” said James Cleveland, Landed’s Head of People & Culture. “We see a much greater impact on well-being and performance when employees have agency to choose their top personal or professional growth option. Investing in our employees in this way strengthens the bonds of our team and ultimately yields better business outcomes.

Sam Epstein, Landed’s People Operations Manager, spent a portion of her budget on fees to play in an all-women soccer league.

“Soccer is one of my greatest joys; it restores some individual balance and competitiveness in my life outside of working and parenting,” she said. “It keeps me grounded and I am genuinely able to show up as a stronger, more present Landed team member because of what I can do outside of work, with Landed's support.”

Annie Vasishta, a Landed Team Experience Lead, also used some of her stipend to get moving. She started fitness sessions at an Oakland, California gym, and found both a great workout and a community.

“It's a communal gym and I've made some of the best and most inspiring friends there,” Annie said. “Everyone there helped keep me sane during the pandemic.”


Landed's Annie Vasishta (back left) with friends from her Oakland, CA gym.

Landed Product Designer Ulu Mills has been using her personal development allowance to chip away at finishing her master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design.

She attended the Pittsburgh-based university full-time and in-person before joining Landed, and is now doing so remotely. She’s learning not just how good user experience (UX) design can help customers navigate a company’s website, but how design affects everything.

“What it’s really helping me to do is refine my own perspective on how design can impact the world,” she said. “Training in the hard skills needed to be a successful UX designer is rather easy to obtain, but certain design decisions literally change culture — ideally for the better.”

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Kathy Denning was building a canoe.

Kathy Denning used Landed's personal development budget to learn to build a timber-frame canoe.

“Taking a cedar-strip canoe-building class had been a dream of mine for 15 years,” said Denning, Senior Director of Customer Sales. This year, her personal development budget will next be used to learn how to build something even bigger.

“I'm going to northern Minnesota to learn how to build a timber-frame structure,” she said. “My plan is to come home and build a gazebo with the knowledge.”

Team Landed

About the Author

Henry Demasco

Henry leads brand marketing at Landed, bringing experience from various marketing roles at two other venture-backed real estate brokerages (Compass and Side). He began his career in the creative agency world, and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and Oxford University.

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