I caught up with Andres and Nicolette Moreno (pictured), co-founders of Open English, Latin America’s leading online English language school, at the Coconut Grove-based company’s opening of its new and very cool 10,000-square-foot headquarters earlier this month. I heard about the company’s off-the-charts growth, now with 1,500 employees globally -- and about half of those hired within the last year -- serving more than 50,000 students.
So it’s no wonder the
company needed a human resources executive, but it didn’t
follow the traditional rulebook. Instead it hired a "Director of Happiness" — Alain Lagger. CEO Andres Moreno explained that creating a positive and cooperative culture is extremely important but challenging with employees all over the Americas, including fast-growing offices in Caracas, Bogotá, São Paulo and Panamá. As one of the Director of Happiness’s first major projects, Lagger organized the first edition of “Life Changers: The Open English Cultural Summit” this week in Bogota, bringing together Open English team members from across the region for the first time.
As to the Grove headquarters space, it was more than a year in the making, which seemed like "a lifetime" for a company used to working at lightning speed. The dilapidated gym space was gutted and rebuilt with glass offices and lots of open collaborative working space over three floors for the 50 employees at the corporate headquarters. Space to grow? “We’re already running out of room,” Andres said.