Riffyn Spotlights with Director of People & Facilities Midnight Wilkinson
At Riffyn, we are proud that our customers see us as scientific partners. That’s because our mission is to help solve their deepest process and data challenges, and to deliver transformative long-term value. That commitment starts with people who care.
In our “Riffyn Spotlights” blog series, we’re giving you the chance to get to know the people of Riffyn that make our mission real. Today, we talk with Operations and Recruitment Lead Midnight Wilkinson about her passion to help others, how she keeps Riffyn up and running, and why we need to eliminate “isms.” Please note that answers have been edited for clarity.
Q: What is your greatest success story for helping a Riffyn customer?
A: My greatest success is the ability to hire, and find amazing talent that can assist our clients.
Q: What is your background -- what did you do before joining Riffyn?
A: I have worked almost exclusively in operations and human resources. I actually started my career working in construction and manufacturing, and then I was in the vitamin industry for 15 years. I fell into the startup world through a friend and have been working with startups in technology software for about 10 years — from working in the open source space to data storage space and far and wide along that spectrum.
Q: Why did you decide to join Riffyn?
A: I heard about Riffyn from Thuy Dang [Senior Software QA Engineer], with whom I worked at two other companies before. We had become friends during that time, and a month after she joined Riffyn, she heard that they were looking for an office manager and asked if I was interested. I took a look at Riffyn and thought what they were doing was pretty cool. I then talked with Tim [Gardner, CEO of Riffyn], and he went through why he started Riffyn and his core beliefs and by the end of it I felt like I would follow him to the end of the world. I like having something I can hold onto and to feel good about what I’m doing. I knew after talking with Tim that I’d get that at Riffyn.
Q: Describe Riffyn in three words.
A: Passionate. Intelligent. Human.
Q: What personal values do you get to fulfill through your work?
A: One of the things that I personally value is being of service to others and at Riffyn I get to fulfill that in two ways. Number one is, I'm here to assist people when they get blocked in their duties. But it also aligns with the greater mission of Riffyn — helping science, and ultimately, I do believe that science is going to lead the way in helping improve a lot of the mess that humans have made. So if by helping people do their jobs better that enables them to create a product that helps science do better, that then helps humans live better and I’m ultimately being of service to others.
Q: What does “a day in the life of Midnight” look like?
A: My day is a lot of administration: I go through my emails and my list of tasks at the beginning of the day. Often I’ll start by working with Claude [Calegari, VP of Finance and Operations] on an operations-related project, like an upcoming audit, and then I’ll spend some time reviewing resumes for open positions. I spend a lot of time talking to potential candidates, then reviewing them with hiring managers and setting up interviews. I also do general HR tasks, like reviewing paperwork, benefits, and onboarding tasks. Finally, I do a lot for the leadership team — anything from ordering t-shirts to organizing meeting agendas and general communication of any changes that are happening at Riffyn.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I love anything that has to do with the arts — Live music, museums, dance. I also love to read. I’ll often be reading 3 or 4 books at the same time. And of course I love spending time with my kids, who were supposed to go off to college but are now in college from their bedrooms at home.
Q: If you could solve one major problem, what would it be and why?
A: Honestly, I would end racism — it is just so unnecessary and gets in the way of tackling actual problems. Actually, it’s all of the “isms.” We need to eliminate those barriers to us being together, whether someone is transphobic, homophobic, racist, misogynist — they all create false barriers.
If you're interested in joining a dynamic group of people passionate about helping scientists discover more, please visit our Careers page at riffyn.com/careers or send a letter of inquiry to email@example.com
Embriette is an academic-turned science writer with a passion for spreading responsible science. She holds a PhD in microbiome research from Baylor College of Medicine. After a 4-year post-doc, during which she managed the world's largest citizen science research project (the American Gut Project), Embriette became a full-time science writer and research consultant. You can find her work at riffyn.com, synbiobeta.com, and her personal webpage: drhydenotjekyll.com