Stories of CCX

How A Good Leader Unites People

As this year draws to a close, the team behind Stories of CommerceCX wanted to reflect on what connects our folks and our company. There are common threads that bind these stories together—feeling supported, being heard, feeling trusted—but the most common thread by far hasn’t been a theme; it’s been a person.

When CEO Vinay Toomu introduced this project at the end of 2022, he did so by thanking his employees for giving their best. He thanked them for leaning in, for supporting each other, and for helping create a space of camaraderie and support. If you ask him, his folks are the best part of CommerceCX.

And if you ask his folks, they say the same about him.

“I think Vinay walks the talk,” says technical architect Aashka Shah. Aashka first met Vinay remotely during her interview process and then in person on his visit to CommerceCX’s India office in Hyderabad. “He made sure to meet each and every person in the organization in India. I don’t think all CEOs would do that: meet the junior-most employees as well as the senior-most employees.”

CommerceCX veterans know this isn’t out of the ordinary. Even though the CEO wears a lot of hats, he takes the time whenever possible to help new people get their footing. Business Analyst Teja Kuntamukkala remembers fondly the guidance that Vinay gave him in his early days at CommerceCX.

“He got me next to him, training me on certain stuff, guiding me on projects. My time with him has really given me a good perspective on how to approach a consulting role.”

Teja speaks fondly of his experience working alongside Vinay and it’s clear that the CEO played a role in his decision to stay with the company. Vasanth Mosoor, CommerceCX’s Head of India Operations, explains that Vinay is known for his attitude of motivation and exploration.

“He’s known for encouraging people to try things out with ample support to ensure he or she is successful,” Vasanth says. “Vinay is there throughout and does not leave anyone behind.”

This is often how CCX stories start: people meet Vinay and catch a glimpse of a kinder, more supportive, and more transparent way to work. It’s inviting. It’s even more exciting when that glimpse becomes a vision.

“This is a place where I can explore myself,” says Venkatesh Muppalaneni, a technical architect who has been with CommerceCX since its early days in 2017. “Explore what is right for me and have the freedom to make mistakes.”

Like Aashka said, Vinay “walks the talk,” in both his professional and personal lives. CCX Academy Director Rick Williams remembers meeting Vinay when the CEO made a donation of snacks and drinks for the teachers’ lounge at Rick’s school. A former middle school principal, Rick had been thinking about moving into tech already, but he remembers Vinay taking the time to make sure that a career change—and a job at CommerceCX—was right for him.

“He was really insistent that I come to that conclusion myself,” Rick explains. “Rather than him as a salesman and CEO of a company convincing me to make that move.”

One of CommerceCX’s greatest strengths is its flexibility. Vinay wants his people to be self-motivated and encourages them to explore how their role can work best for them and for the company. He’s always willing to listen to new ideas and approaches—like Stories of CCX for example—and is happy to let people integrate their roles with their passions.

Rick did make the move and, in doing so, brought his strengths to help establish the CommerceCX Academy, an internal training program that has helped CCX folks gain knowledge and earn industry certifications that will help them grow in their careers now and down the road. And that wouldn’t happen without Vinay’s trust.

Trust is integral to CommerceCX’s operations. CommerceCX is an international business, with employees living and working across the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and India. Remote work was part of CommerceCX’s equation long before recent events made it a necessity, and part of the company’s continued success managing this work style is Vinay’s commitment to trusting his employees.

“You hear about people needing to know what you’re doing every minute of every day, tracking keyboard strokes. Vinay doesn’t do that.”

Senior developer Tanya Porter works 100% remotely and often directly for clients, meaning she can go days without seeing anyone outside her team; sometimes without seeing anyone from CommerceCX. But Vinay trusts Tanya to do her work—and that trust motivates her.

“Vinay doesn’t have to watch me or ask somebody, ‘is she accomplishing anything?’” she explains. “He respects me and has confidence in my abilities. He knows that even out of sight, I’m working hard for all my customers and for him.”

Vinay doesn’t need to record his employees’ mouse clicks or keyboard strokes. He sees the work they do through their results: glowing reviews on major products, testimonials from satisfied clients. When you are confident in your employees, good work is transparent.

“Vinay never goes back on team confidence,” Vasanth says. “He encourages transparency around everything he does and never concedes. It’s a rare feature among businessmen.”

Vinay can trust his folks because they trust him. His folks trust Vinay because he trusts them. True transparency is cyclical and regenerative: it’s a renewable resource, energizing CommerceCX employees to speak their minds, learn from their mistakes, and to do their best. And it starts with Vinay.

“I thought I would like to be associated with a company where the CEO is so transparent,” says Aashka, reflecting on that first interview with CommerceCX. “Who wants to make the workplace a comfortable place for people, not just for him to make revenue. That stuck with me. And it keeps being true.”

This article is part of our series Stories of CommerceCX, which seeks to collect and record employee experiences into a series of articles exploring their history and growth and how CommerceCX’s investment in goodwill and employees’ quality-of-life leads to positive business results. Read more Stories of CCX here.