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Illuminate Education

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Illuminate Education Employee Reviews about "illuminate"

Updated Apr 7, 2020

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Found 24 of over 184 reviews

2.5
32%
Recommend to a Friend
29%
Approve of CEO
Illuminate Education CEO Christine Willig (no image)
Christine Willig
68 Ratings
Pros
  • "Feels like you really make a difference to the future of kids and their education(in 11 reviews)

  • "Illuminate Education is full of some of the most passionate people anywhere(in 9 reviews)

  • Cons
  • "Do not expect that kind of camaraderie at Illuminate(in 25 reviews)

  • "New CEO has no clue how to use the software(in 12 reviews)

  • More Pros and Cons
    Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.

    Reviews about "illuminate"

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Sales

      Oct 13, 2017 - Sales in Irvine, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      *Great work environment *Amazing Teams *Work from home options

      Cons

      None at the moment. I love Illuminate.

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    2. 2.0
      Current Employee, more than 5 years

      Senior Leadership Running Company Into Ground

      Jun 20, 2019 - CX Team in Irvine, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The people are the secret sauce of Illuminate. This company, especially the customer facing teams, are educators at heart and will go above and beyond for educators every single time. We have great tools and great people. They're also fun to be around and don't take themselves too seriously. This company has a heart and has the potential to make a major impact on student outcomes.

      Cons

      New CEO has poor leadership skills and does not appear to understand the SAAS business. Senior leadership continues to grow while benefits and client facing employees' positions are eliminated to "cut costs." Recent layoffs have resulted in the immediate dismissal of key, long time employees who were integral to the success of the organization. This is a business and reductions are a necessary part of business sometimes but the way that the reductions were handled by the leadership team was dismissive of the employees and educators that we serve. Senior leadership team has neglected to rally the new organization around a common company culture or values which is one of the reasons morale is currently so low. It seems as if they see culture and values as compliance rather than the rock from which the organization must be built. It's time to replace the C-Suite and get Illuminate back on track to fulfill its promise to educators.

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      37 people found this review helpful
    3. 2.0
      Former Employee, more than 8 years

      Original Purpose and Vision is Gone

      Apr 7, 2020 - Anonymous Employee in Irvine, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      This company started in 2010 for teachers and their students, by teachers, keeping the VOC or voice of the customer in tact and purposeful for more than 5 years until a change in Executive Leadership took place. All employees felt with purpose and drive, willing to go above and beyond for school districts and educators across the country, without any remorse or complaint. In fact, most of the original company still gets together today. We had a lot of growing pains, but we did in together, keeping our mission to serve and help educators across the country close to our hearts. With any startup with had our challenges, but worked together to come through to the other side. Our benefits were too kind and often reflecting back, we were a bit spoiled but it was because our Executive Team believe in taking care of their employees when in turn, take care of business, and it did.

      Cons

      When Executive Leadership changed, followed by 4 acquisitions and mergers at the same time, while also not embracing the culture and history of all companies before becoming one, there was an animosity driven from Executive Leaders (not the rest of the company) that trickled down, turning the product, its tools, and its impact into being disliked, unused, or hard for educators. It also came with disdain from what the original companies built, which was successful (I mean, why would they merge with the larger legacy company?)! Most of the legacy staff from the company is now not involved, fired, or let go from the company altogether. Their new goals and mission does not aligned with what educators are needing or saying. If they focused on embracing the history, culture, and talent of all legacy companies to pave the way for a new Illuminate, they would be much better off right now than they are.

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      27 people found this review helpful
    4. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Leadership needs to Change; not a rewarding company to work for

      Jun 21, 2019 - Anonymous Employee in Irvine, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Some departments are able to work remote-if you are applying and interviewing and told you can work remote I wouldn't believe them. Make sure to get it in writing! Aside for CEO, senior Leadership and Upper level leadership great co-workers

      Cons

      CEO Upper Leadership Senior Leadership The CEO does not know what she is doing, leadership wastes money on extravagant trips, flying around the country, trade shows and more. So much money is wasted on Leadership the company laid off 53 of their backbone employees, this is sure to bite them in the rear once the new school year begins. Management is terrible! No one at this company is there to benefit you. No room for growth or opportunity. There is no company culture, the merger still feels like a divide. Leadership is lazy and rude prepare yourself to be told you are not a significant member of the company, you don't bring value and your job is not needed (all real worlds I was told by Senior Leadership to my face in a meeting!) Several employees have been treated very badly, yelled at my managers, sued the company and more. Illuminate is a downward spiral. The company will lose all employees in the coming years if things do not change.

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      29 people found this review helpful
    5. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      CEO is Sinking the Company

      Jun 21, 2019 - Product Manager in Irvine, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The office is centrally located, the people are really nice to work with, the heart of the company is focused on changing education.

      Cons

      There was a 5 way merger with Illuminate and the new CEO that was hired to run the business is a joke. She doesn't understand how to run a software company and has a dictatorial management style. She questions if you speak up and thinks having a good culture is not important. She continues to hire her friends in senior executive positions because she wanted to give them a "chance" at that role. Sales are down yet she continues to hire executives with bloated salaries to make more bad decisions. The HR department is full of hot air as they are focused on talking more than supporting the employees. There is no where for the employee to share grievances as the HR department shares the same sentiment of the CEO. The company is full of who can pat who's back at the executive level. They don't care about the employees that do the work and the really smart ones who knew the business were either fired, laid off or quit. The board would find their ROI would increase if they replaced the CEO.

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      29 people found this review helpful
    6. 2.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      One-legged Megazord

      Jun 20, 2019 - Customer Success 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The teamwork and dedication of the client-facing side of the company is inspiring, and the shared personal commitment to teacher and student success as we work hand-in-hand with clients energizing. The company was built on this commitment to children and the professionals who serve them, and this heart and deep team culture is why most of us came to work there.

      Cons

      Since the Megazord merger, the CEO has demonstrated a lack of understanding of what makes Illuminate unique, and SaaS in general. One has to wonder if she has so much as tried to use the software outside of content. Recent layoffs have seen our deepest customer-facing talent and most gifted CS and professional leadership summarily dismissed, while retaining a bloated management bureaucracy with unclear roles.

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      31 people found this review helpful
    7. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Bullied Leaders who throws you under the bus at all cost

      Dec 10, 2019 - Engineer 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      - Remote work - decent pay and benefits - still has PTOs (when they are approved) - Decent team to work with

      Cons

      Lots of cons where do I start: - No communication between the different teams - Bad managers making you duplicate work constantly - Getting thrown under the bus when leadership fails - No backfill for past engineers. Instead of replacing people that have left, others inherit the workload. As a result, everybody is overworked and stressed. - Tech debt is through the roof. Instead of fixing the bad infrastructure, let's add more features and increase the load. We need money. - Constantly stressing over cost (poor leadership planning). - There are 2 state as an engineer at illuminate: fire & pause. We're told that we need to get this thing done right now, and forget your life or your family. Then, we're told, it's not urgent anymore to wait until leaders have made further decisions. My current manager is a bully who does not take blame for anything. Instead, he finds ways to make you do the work, and when things do not go according to plan, he throws you under the bus. We are constantly doing the same work over and over again, because of his poor leadership style. He tries to get you to work on your paid holidays, but then pretend that he never once asked you to do that. There is no papertrail to prove your point, so he gets away with it. He tells you that you cannot take vacations on specific months (due to high testing season), but refuses to put that in writing. Who wants to work for a manager that you cannot trust. You never know which version of him you're going to get, as a result, you're constantly worried when coming to work. He created a very hostile environment for everybody. He is not flexible for you, but demands it of you.

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      19 people found this review helpful
    8. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Fake positive reviews after negative reviews

      Jul 3, 2019 - Layoff Avoidance Engineer 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      I'm collecting a paycheck and hopefully a vested stock payout when we sell or I get laid off, which is probably the more likely of the two. The people that have stuck around despite the loss of culture, loss of benefits, and loss of vision are all there for you, despite the top-heavy hierarchy constantly trying to squeeze every last drop of life from them.

      Cons

      TLDR - Stay away if you're looking for a job. This place has become a toxic, corporate bureaucracy that rewards only the top management. You won't see the culture that used to be here that made this place amazing. You won't see job security. You won't see supportive leadership. All you'll see is cuts, layoffs, and cronyism. The longer explanation - Don't believe the positive reviews that seem to all happen directly after a string of negative reviews. If you follow the reviews in chronological order, you'll see the pattern of HR and management creating positive reviews to try to keep the company rating from tanking. While a lot of the negative reviews come as a result of a layoff and may seem spiteful on the surface, I can tell you they are 100% accurate. It really is this bad. This is not the amazing company it used to be even just a year ago. It's literally falling apart from the foundation up. The worst change that happened after the VC(Venture Capital) takeover and the 5 way merger was the change in management. Our previous CEO, and the founder of the company, was someone you could really stand behind. He was a visionary in this sector, and in life in general, and he really made you want to be more than what you thought you could be. His leadership and guidance made Illuminate the company it was. It felt like home, and the people felt like family. I've never missed a leader more than I miss the founder. Things were really, really amazing here until the VC pushed him out and supplanted in a new corporate CEO. That CEO was a shock to most people because he was pretty corporate leaning. However, he still valued culture and what made Illuminate great(it's people, aka, the secret sauce). Even though it was a change in values and culture, it was still culture. It was a change most were willing to accept. Then came the merger. The VC combined 5 companies into a single Illuminate. The second CEO was out in an overnight change, and a new CEO was in... and that's when things really went downhill. The current CEO is a lifeless puppet for the VC. She has no vision, no compassion, and no idea how to foster visionary growth. Under her "leadership", the company has seen 2 major rounds of layoffs in a single year, equating to about a 20% reduction in workforce across all departments. The first round was because of "redundancies" caused by the merger and overlapping roles. A lot of the people had no direct replacements or counterparts in the merged companies, so some layoffs were just flat out confusing to try to understand. In some cases, the layoffs resulted in entire departments being gutted and merged into others, leaving no one behind to address their prior duties. Shortly after the first cuts, upper management started getting hired. Emails read "Happy to announce the new VP/Director/Sr Manager of X" directly followed by "we worked together at X". It was in your face, blatant cronyism without any regard for the message it sent after a dramatic layoff. So people started leaving on their own accord, and vacancies in the lower ranks started piling up. So much so that some departments or teams were operating at double capacity due to the unwillingness of leadership to hire actual workers. They'd hire managers to fill unnecessary top level go-between positions, but not people doing the actual work. They needed to cut costs, but they kept hiring more and more $100k+ a year positions. It made no sense. Fast forward a year, and here we are again... the second round of layoffs. This time, there was no rhyme or reason. People producing at the top of their teams, making significantly less than others who weren't producing, were cut without notice. They just came in to work in the morning, were greeted by login errors, and told they weren't needed anymore. 50+ people... cut at a whim because "we weren't fulfilling our financial obligations to the VC and it's investors." All the while, we have more contracts and RFPs coming in than ever before, we're operating on skeleton crews on some teams, and people are doing 12+ hour days(myself included) to try to keep things afloat. The result is the same pattern of senior leadership hires and another company acquisition. We just keep piling more and more problems on top of an already broken and top-heavy structure that rewards only those at the top. Additionally, these top down price cuts hit benefits too. Health benefits were dramatically reduced to give all 5 companies a "comprehensive and market competitive program that balances the imperatives of employee satisfaction & retention and the recruitment of great talent with expense stewardship." What this essentially equated to is about a $5k-$7k yearly reduction in take home salary to most employees due to increased health care premiums. Not only were we now paying more for insurance, but the insurance was utter garbage. Want to see a doctor because you're sick? That's a $230 copay. Want to fill a prescription that used to cost a $20 copay? That's $100+ copay now. Coworkers with families are telling me that they have had to let their children go without treatment when sick because it would be the difference between the ability or inability to buy food or pay bills that month. I'm thankful that I don't have a family to support, or I wouldn't be able to go through the struggles that my coworkers are going through.

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      44 people found this review helpful
    9. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 3 years

      Toxic! Avoid the "New Illuminate" at all costs

      Aug 22, 2019 - Anonymous in Irvine, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Work from home flexibility, Macbook

      Cons

      Layoffs, firings, mass exodus of employees. The secret sauce of the original Illuminate that made clients fall in love with both the product and the company is completely gone.

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      22 people found this review helpful
    10. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 5 years

      Changed for the worse

      Mar 3, 2019 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Fantastic people that started the company and stuck around as long as they could (a lot are gone or leaving). Beer and kombucha on tap

      Cons

      This company used to be such a transparent, open, and encouraging company. After the merger that all changed. The senior leadership changed hands and decided to completely change the company culture. Instead of being open and transparent, we were told that we didn't need to know things anymore. Instead of leaders driving decisions and encouraging growth the new leaders left employees to make big decisions and blame them if it fails. Good ideas are taken by your lead and shown as their own instead of giving credit to the team. Also, notice how all the good reviews are from July and happened within days of each other? That's when Illuminate merged with other companies and people were told to leave good reviews to offset the bad ones. A very telling sign of where the company headed and is still heading. Essentially this company has gone old school corporate - they want you at your desk, doing as you're told, and not questioning senior leadership. They really don't want your opinion just your production. It's become so corporate you might as well not be at a tech company. Benefits keep getting taken away (health insurance paid for, new computers every 3 years, paying for toll roads, helping pay for internet and phone bills, work from home in general - all gone or being taken), leadership keeps things away from employees now, and compensation does not match what you work for. They underpay and don't see a problem in that. At the end of the day this used to be an amazing company that had problems but was constantly improving. Today, it's a very corporate environment where you are just an employee and that's it. Long gone are the days where you felt like your career, skills, and personal development were growing and getting better.

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      36 people found this review helpful
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