Congratulations to Maurice Maltbia:
Our Third Quarter Living the Vision Award Winner
Maurice Maltbia simply finds fulfillment in being a help to others.
In his mind, it’s never about him. It’s about everyone else, whether it’s the Teachers of Tomorrow clients or his colleagues. So imagine his surprise recently when CEO Trent Beekman announced Maurice as the winner of the 2022 Q3 Living the Vision Award during The Company Townhall.
The quarterly award is granted to one TOT employee who exemplifies the vision behind the work we do here and is nominated by fellow employees and leaders.
“I was shocked, didn’t even expect it,” Maurice said. “I’m usually not that person that gets selected for an award, so I was totally caught off guard when the CEO was talking about me. I had to look at the screen, like `That is my name on the screen.’ It’s actually me.”
Indeed, it was.
Maurice, who works as a software developer for Information Technology, was identified as the person who best exemplifies the company’s vision of making a lasting impact on our children and communities by being the nation’s leader in developing quality educators.
Vice President of Technology Mukesh Dhannawat nominated Maurice not only because he felt that his overall character, work ethic, productivity, and willingness are exemplary, but he also views Maurice as someone who is a self-initiator and always goes above and beyond.
“I’m super excited for him – that he was elected for this award,” Dhannawat said. “I really feel like he exemplifies the MVP. He exemplifies the values that we have at Teachers of Tomorrow. He is really dedicated to the mission, he always talks about how we can grow to be the No.1 provider in the mission, not just in quantity but in quality of teachers and of products that we put out there.”
Interestingly enough, Maurice says he never set out to be in a leadership role, but that began to shift as leadership within the company began to change. He recalls a book about a couple of leadership coaches called “Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You,” which led him to become more open to taking on a leadership role.
“It was a good book in terms of finding out what good leadership looked like,” Maurice said. “I knew that that’s the kind of leadership I wanted to provide. Normally I would shy away from that type of role because it just didn’t seem like something I wanted to do. But seeing a good example of it gave me (the thought). I felt like I could help the team have a better experience because I had a vision of what good leadership looks like. A lot of it is just not being in the way.
“That’s part of how I help the team. When they just need to move forward, I’m not in the way. If they need help or I see someone is stalled on a particular issue, that’s where I kind of fill the gap. I just kind of clear the path for them to do what they do best.”
We took the time to find out more about Maurice, his role with the company, and his approach to helping others.
Can you tell us how you approach your role as a software developer?
Maurice: “I’ve been in software development for a while. Actually, I started writing software as a child when my mom gave me my first computer.
“It’s something I’ve been doing for a while, so it’s something I enjoy. I’m a problem solver. I don’t really think about rewards. I can work and realize I haven’t taken a break in like eight hours. I can work the whole day just sitting here and working. It just goes by quickly for me because I enjoy it.
“We have a great team, so… I like helping people and working with our team. I get the chance to work with some great developers, as well. I enjoy the work, so that’s reward enough.”
Question: You said your interest in developing started as a child when your mom gave you your first computer. What was the spark for you?
Maurice: “I’ve always been curious about how things work. So, I had this computer and I was in this actual bookstore and saw something about changing the graphics mode on the computer.
“I was curious with how I could do things with it rather than just operating a word processing program. I could build something with it. So that natural curiosity, I spent a lot of time just making my own programs.”
Question: How do you try to make a difference on a daily basis in your role?
Maurice: “I used to always look for someone who I could learn from, like a mentor. That never happened. It’s usually I’m by myself. I will be working with people, but I’m usually not learning from them. I realized that I’m the one who should probably try to share what I know.
“I don’t feel like I know a lot, but maybe compared to some of my peers, I do.
“So I’m always thinking I can learn from someone and grow because I have these expectations.
“Being with Teachers of Tomorrow, I felt like I have to be the person I’ve been looking for. Now, I have the opportunity to be a mentor, to help guide a team, to offer my experience and knowledge, to help the team grow. I’ve been on a lot of teams where that wasn’t the case. Everyone was kind of looking out for themselves. My approach is to offer what I know to help everyone on the team grow. I’m not trying to hold back information to make myself appear greater or better. I’m trying to share what I know to make the whole team grow.”
Question: What is it like knowing you are passing your knowledge on to the next person?
Maurice: “I feel like it actually kind of comes back to you. It kind of makes your job easier. You’ve shared information and empowered people on your team to make decisions – to have the critical knowledge to make decisions. I don’t have to be the one with all of the answers. Even if I’m not here, I feel like my responsibility is to make it so that if I’m not around, this team keeps going. They have the knowledge and ability to keep going.
“So what it feels like to me is a self-sufficient team, a team that has everything they need to just keep going up.
“A lot of people are afraid of that, like `I’m going to put myself out of a job or something.’ So they make it like they are needed for job security. I don’t feel like that. I’d rather give and empower a team and see them shine, really.”
Question: What is it you enjoy most about your job?
Maurice: “One of the greatest things is I learned to develop a sense of empathy for whoever I’m providing a solution for. When I deliver a solution and they say, `Great, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for,’ that’s a really satisfying statement because as a development team, there are a lot of discussions and when we deliver something there is a lot that has gone into it.
“So what may seem like a really simple solution, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Some of the most simple things that you see, and use can be very complicated behind the scenes. It’s satisfying when we really hit the mark and deliver what’s needed. That’s one of the most satisfying things.”
Question: When it’s all said and done, what kind of impact do you hope to have made on the future of Teachers of Tomorrow and those coming behind you?
Maurice: “I don’t really think about that. I’ve noticed I’m in a lot of situations where I’m the first, the first person that looks like me in a certain situation. I’ve been in a lot of places like that so I don’t really think about that exactly. I really just think about doing the best I can.
“Like I said, I’m not really motivated by that. I just focus on what I do and doing the best I can at it and always continue growing. Hopefully, people who come behind me will have an easier time because of the things … I think a lot about long-term things, long-term strategy, and how what I do affects or could hamper the growth of the company technology-wise.
“As a team actually, what we lay out makes it a smoother path for even further growth.”
Maurice is certainly doing his part to further Teachers of Tomorrow’s vision of making a lasting impact on our children and communities by being the nation’s leader in developing quality educators.