By Chris Urmson
I remember the last All Hands I hosted in person in early March. I told the company about a sobering discussion I had just participated in with one of the leading epidemiologists in the U.S. who worked on the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. I had realized the impact this virus could have on the world, and I knew this year would not just be about advancing our mission, but leading with empathy. Shortly after, we shut down our offices. Ten months have passed, and the damage from COVID19 is staggering: 1.6M deaths globally, millions out of work and families struggling to make ends meet. I can’t say this enough, but the fact we’re still able to pursue our mission, and that the Aurora Driver will help out in future situations like this, makes me grateful every day and confident we’re on the right path.
Although 2020 was challenging and tumultuous from a global perspective, I am proud of how our team pulled together to have our most impressive year yet. With that in mind, here are Aurora’s standout moments from the year, in no particular order, that show how we are building a company that will deliver on our mission.
#1: Growing and staying connected during the pandemic
It required a true cross-functional effort to stay focused and connected, but we welcomed 300+ new Aurorans virtually. This included numerous senior hires, who have been particularly impactful and instrumental as we continue to accelerate our growth:
- Stathis Papaefstathiou, our SVP of Software Engineering, knows how to lead and scale software engineering teams
- Richard Tame, our VP of Finance, sets up companies for long-term financial success
- Tara Green, our VP of People, has experience in building and scaling people operations
- David Maday, our VP of Business Development, has deep automotive industry expertise that is skyrocketing our BD efforts
We also developed new ways to stay connected, which included weekly pit stops and coffee chats, and our first Ask Me Anything where the kids of Aurora threw me some of the most challenging questions I’ve ever seen.