Transformation Series: Sandra Klanjian

Sandra Klanjian, Assistant Controller

I was born and raised in Lebanon, and when I was 18 years old, my family made the decision to move to the states for a better future. When we got to LA, I was faced with the decision of what field to study and ultimately make a career in. I was always into sciences and math but picked accounting because it felt like a safe choice. This was definitely a departure from what I envisioned my future looking like — I’ve always felt passionate about finding a way to leave my mark or make  a difference in others’ lives. The accounting field felt limited in that regard, but I tried to find a balance and went into tax accounting so that I could at least help companies find ways to save money. This felt like making a difference to me! While it started off great, I slowly started coming to the realization that I wasn’t getting enough satisfaction out of my work. Additionally, I was at a massive corporation and felt highly replaceable. So, I started casually exploring other opportunities and shifted more towards corporate accounting instead of tax accounting.

In late 2015, I started at Snap and it was exactly the change I needed at the time. It was a fun fast paced environment with lots of room to grow, and made me feel like a valuable part of the company. I could actually see the direct impact of my work and how it affected growth and helped to establish new processes. The amount I grew and learned in such a short period of time was so valuable. While it was really intense, I knew from that moment I joined that I would never want to work for a large corporation again. 

While at Snap, one of my former colleagues reached out to me about another opportunity that I decided to go for. The company was fully remote and based out of NYC with employees across the states. While I was given great exposure to C-suite executives and the opportunity to work on many different projects, the fully remote environment posed challenges for me. I am an 86% extrovert who feeds off of other people’s energy. Working remotely made me feel like a solo captain leading a ship. So, I started looking for a new job again and that’s when I came across VideoAmp. After extensive research I applied and met with the team and really liked everyone I met with. I really enjoyed hearing their experiences and seeing how much they believed in the company and its mission. When I got the call about the offer, it was an easy decision. The irony is after quitting my previous job and just after three weeks of being at VideoAmp, COVID happened and the world went fully remote. While I was concerned about going back to being remote, the environment at Videoamp still felt so collaborative. It might sound cheesy but we all really did feel like we were in it together which made the transition back to being remote a lot easier. 

One thing I truly appreciated as quarantine settled in for all of us were the weekly all-hands meetings that went into effect right away.  In these meetings we heard directly from our CEO Ross and other leaders about how the business was doing, the challenges we were facing and how we could all effectively work together on making things better. I think this type of transparency was important in setting the right tone for the company and holding ourselves accountable when times were really tough. Unexpected situations come up at every company and there are stumbles along the way, but learning from these types of experiences and working on becoming even better for it in the end is what’s important and that’s exactly what I got to see here at Videoamp. It speaks volumes in terms of having everyone on the same page and working towards the same goals. It’s really inspiring to see how much our teams really believe in VideoAmp’s mission and what the company is capable of.

What I also love about the company culture is the flexibility and focus on wellness. Being remote has its challenges but our team’s flexibility has definitely allowed me to focus on things outside of work that help keep me sane especially during the unprecedented times we went through in 2020. Focus on both mental and physical wellness is really important and it’s so refreshing to work at a company that provides so many avenues and options to support employees in that way. 

Joining a company at an early stage means there’s so much room to shape the processes and how your role fits within them. Things are fluid and constantly evolving as the company grows which allows us to think about the next stages and exciting future ahead. My time at VideoAmp has allowed me to see that accountants aren’t just part of the back office crunching numbers all day, but that we can also focus on building relationships across the organization. I love that about VideoAmp, because I really got to find the balance I was looking for — doing something fulfilling and feeling like I’m able to leave my mark and make a difference.