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Illuminate Education Employee Reviews about "new ceo"

Updated Nov 16, 2019

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Found 12 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 "new ceo"

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    1. 5.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Positive Growth!

      Mar 7, 2018 - Support 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Everyone is passionate about what they do and truly want to help educators. We're growing fast and for the most part, it's exciting. Even with our growth, people take care of each other like a family.

      Cons

      I wish that some veterans could be as excited about the change as newer employees! Our new CEO brings a maturity and levity to the business that was missing in its start up days. I think some people are just better suited to that start up culture.

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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. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      recent good reviews bad...

      Jun 28, 2019 - Software Developer 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      most of the pros are long gone since the new ceo got a hold of this company. she is quickly eroding all reasons to work here.

      Cons

      since july '18 almost everything has be down hill. It's very hard not to conclude that the new ceo and her senior leadership (which has grown out of control) are trying to sink all these merged companies. the most recent "good" reviews have to be fake as the last 2 weeks the company has been hit with turmoil and layoffs. while layoffs can be understood for a vc company that's trying to get a return, the backward thinking has been insane. the ceo likes to say they do it for the kids and for the future but the most recent on goings at this company proves that is the furthest thing from the truth. a simple example is that the whole data science team (2 members but still) was let go... yeah, why does an education data visualization company need machine learning developers? she also took the fantastic culture and values that made this a great place to work and ripped those out in the short time she's been here. I've work for a couple of large companies and some were very corporate... this company moved from and open fun loving place with lots of benefits to someplace I wouldn't advise anyone to apply at.

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      23 people found this review helpful
    4. 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
    5. 1.0
      Former Employee, more than 5 years

      Professional Money=Management NOT Leadership

      Nov 16, 2019 - CSM in Irvine, CA
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Legacy employees who still work there are good people

      Cons

      Too many layers of upper management. A mission statement that was contrived from a marketing company not created organically. New CEO has no clue how to use the software. CEO answers to Investors not clients. CEO doesn’t understand the importance of a good culture creating energetic employees. Instead a huge group of apathetic employees still endure their job, as they are held hostage with hopes of stock option to materialize when the investors sell the company. Literally employees are stuck in corporate hell.

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      26 people found this review helpful
    6. 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
    7. 4.0
      Current Employee, more than 3 years

      Don't believe the bitter Betty's

      Jan 18, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The company is growing steadily and with growth comes change. While change can be scary it was absolutely necessary for Illuminate to change. The company offers a nice benefits package and I feel like I have been provided some really great opportunities to grow and develop professionally. I have established some great professional connections and relationships and I truly believe that I work for a company that is doing good in the education sector. There is more structure going in place which this company desperately needed. The company is not without its flaws, but it is a hell of a lot better than most companies. Great culture, however, do not forget that THIS IS A JOB, not a party bus.

      Cons

      Some of the employees here are stuck in the old way of thinking they are scared of change and not willing to adjust. The former CEO, while a great leader, was not a corporate type and was very easy going. This has lead to a bit of resistance to change from some of the old guard. While the old CEO was great, it seems like some folks have given up on the new CEO before he even has had a chance. Onboarding is stronger on some teams than others.

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      2 people found this review helpful
    8. 1.0
      Former Employee

      Things have really changed...

      Aug 13, 2018 -  
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Irvine office is located in a great location. Handful of people there still care about teacher/student success.

      Cons

      For those of you looking to get a job at Illuminate, you should make sure you are good with the follow: - I love working in an environment that is focused on acquisitions, mergers and getting sold. - I love working in an environment that is very process driven. If you are good with the above 2 statements, then Illuminate is the place for you. However, if you are the fence about either one of those, you should probably seek employment elsewhere. Don't be fooled by the increase in positive reviews. They send out emails company wide soliciting current employees to submit positive reviews. The new CEO has been there for a little over 1 months and already has 22 positive reviews with 100% approval rating???

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      11 people found this review helpful
    9. 2.0
      Current Employee, less than 1 year

      Leadership is Flawed

      Feb 20, 2018 - Anonymous Employee 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      Great data platform that can truly help teacher and administrators. Very powerful Data and reports.

      Cons

      The New CEO and his new minions have changed the culture overnight. The new CEO does not understand ED Tech or the market, but wants results. The current leadership team is made up of favorites that gossip and do not help. Certain favorites have information on employees and use it to there advantage.

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      8 people found this review helpful
    10. 1.0
      Current Employee, more than 1 year

      Once was a great place...

      Jan 10, 2018 - Implementation Manager 
      Recommend
      CEO Approval
      Business Outlook

      Pros

      The people. The greatest thing about this company was the opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We were truly a dedicated bunch of individuals.

      Cons

      Notice the past tense terms in the "pro" section. That is because the company used to be that way. However, with the new CEO, times have changed, and very quickly. The culture has been destroyed, morale is at an all time low, and people feel stuck in their roles. There is no room or advancement (as it appears that the new CEO is putting employees he used to work with in leadership positions).

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      5 people found this review helpful
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