Founder stories: Adam Stoffel, Head of Operations
Founder Name: Adam Stoffel
Role in the organization: Head of Operations
I built my first working software right after college. Having graduated in Computer Science from the university of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2012, my first real job at a small, local design and marketing agency gave me the first opportunity to interact directly with clients and end-users and shaped my thoughts on good user experiences.
Shortly thereafter, I joined Microsoft as a part of their college hires program. I consider myself fortunate to have gotten the chance, very early, to work with colleagues who championed the ideals of servant leadership. As a result, my work, and that of my peers, was both varied and impactful since opportunities, trust and support were abundant. I didn’t know it then, but this was one of the reasons I would eventually join my then-colleagues to found Caravel Labs.
But there were other reasons. My career at Microsoft pivoted away from software development and, after a while, I became somewhat ambivalent about the impact of the role I found myself in. Parallelly, my own thinking on social impact was growing deeper roots. As a gay man, I consider myself lucky that I’ve found an incredible queer community which has offered a wealth of support both personally and professionally. However, discrimination against LGBT people is widespread at home and at work. This knowledge and these experiences have instilled in me a sense of duty to protect, defend, and uphold the human rights of all people and to seek social justice and equity at every opportunity, including in my professional work.
More recently, I’ve found myself becoming more and more driven to solve the climate crisis. I experienced its impact at home in the unprecedented wildfires in Seattle, as did my parents when they lost their dream home to flooding in Florida. As I learnt more about the nature of the crisis, I realized that I could not really live with myself without knowing that the work I dedicate myself to daily was contributing toward climate protection, restoration, and justice.
In 2021, I left Microsoft to join Caravel Labs full time, though I had been helping with the company’s operations since we founded it in 2020. Going full-time provided me a unique opportunity to pursue my interest in software development in a team that I had excelled in, while also maximizing the social impact of our work. At Caravel Labs, our dedication to software excellence and social impact pull in the same direction.
About 10 years ago, I started getting a tattoo representative of every place I had lived, indenting to eventually get many of them. However, when I arrived in Seattle 5 years ago, I fell in love with the unique combination of environment, city life, culture, and sustainable mindset that is very unique to the Pacific Northwest. I loved it so much that I stopped moving around and decided that this was the place to stay. My husband Nicholas and our pandemic puppy, Jali (named after her birthplace in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco), don’t seem to mind.