Engineering Manager Laura Bélavoir On Commure and Career Growth

ENGINEERING Jan 25, 2021

An interview with Laura Bélavoir, Engineering Manager at Commure.

Almost four years ago, Laura Bélavoir took a leap of faith. She decided to leave the agency she was working for as a PHP developer and join a small digital health startup called Listrunner. Only a couple months later, Laura joined Commure when Commure acquired Listrunner. Below, Laura shares her journey at Commure, from Junior Engineer to Engineering Manager, what makes engineering at Commure unique, and the best advice she’s received from her teammates.

What is your team responsible for, and what are you currently working on?

I’m the Engineering Manager for the Applications Team (“A-Team”) at Commure working on Listrunner. Listrunner is a HIPAA-compliant care team collaboration application that is used by tens of thousands of clinicians around the globe everyday to help manage their daily workflows.

Everyday, we fix bugs, make quality of life changes, and build new features based on our clinical users and their needs. We also make sure to maintain the quality of our original features while keeping the app up and running for our thousands of users.

How did COVID-19 challenge your team?

In March 2020, when most people were starting to go into lockdown, we made the decision as a team to make Listrunner available to care teams fighting COVID-19. We offered the app for free to everyone around the globe. We created a video to train care teams on how to use Listrunner to help care for COVID-19 patients and created a new website with use cases on how to use Listrunner to help COVID-19.

COVID-19 has taxed the healthcare community to an extreme, and it’s pushed us all to rise to meet new and old challenges. The medical community deserves the best we can offer.

What’s the most gratifying part of your job?

I have several relatives who work as medical professionals, and I know they can use Listrunner to help them. I also know that I can help them - I can understand their lives better and try to improve our application for them. I can make challenging clinical problems dissolve with thoughtful and clinically-focused app creation.

I recently visited a hospital which partnered with us, and they loved Listrunner! The chief nurse was so kind and took the time to show me how they used Listrunner in their day-to-day work and how it made things a lot easier for them. I also have to say they used Listrunner in surprising ways that we didn’t expect, but I was really happy to hear that our tool was powerful enough to be used however they felt best suited their needs. Our tool was powerful enough to help them, and that was enough for me.

Image of Montreal

Can you share your journey to becoming an Engineering Manager at Commure? How has Commure supported your career goals and growth?

I was originally a PHP developer. I applied to Listrunner in Montreal as a Junior Developer (with 4 years of experience as a coder outside of my degree) before it was acquired by Commure. Previously, I had worked for many companies as a student. While working at Listrunner, I expanded my skill set and learned how to use React and Javascript. When Commure acquired Listrunner in the fall of 2017, I was originally placed in a junior engineering role and was promoted to a full engineer the following year. Last spring, I was promoted to a senior position, but after reflecting on my career goals, I decided to apply myself towards becoming an Engineering Manager rather than a Principal Engineer.

While operating as a “Engineering Manager in Training'', my official title was Senior Software Engineer. At Commure, you can advocate for yourself, grow your career, and can often choose the areas you want to explore. One of the great aspects of being at a high-growth startup is that things are always changing, and this has allowed me to remain flexible and know that if I truly apply myself to each task at hand, more opportunities will present themselves within Commure.

What makes Commure’s engineering culture unique?

Each team has it’s own communications preferences, working styles, and mini-culture that still fits within Commure’s overarching culture. I have had teammates who have switched focus areas and teams to better fit their preferences. My teammates, for instance, are power Slack users who like to update each other often as we work. Some other teams prefer to have dedicated contact-free focus time to really dig into their work and solve problems that require undivided attention.

Overall, Commure’s engineering culture is flexible, respectful, and considerate of individuals’ working preferences, which ultimately enables us all to do our best work.

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten from a teammate?

One of Listrunner’s co-founders gave me some great advice. When I was grappling with solving a problem and just couldn’t crack it, he told me to relax, take a break, drink a hot chocolate, and that the answer would come to me if I gave the problem some space. Sometimes you just need a quick break to relax your mind and inspire creativity in problem-solving. I would encourage all my colleagues to take a step back, have some hot chocolate and breathe when they’re stuck tackling a hard problem.

What are some traits of individuals who succeed at Commure? Why should someone consider joining the team?

The people who have the most success at Commure have a positive attitude about the work they do. They’re ready to dig into the unique problems they might face and to grow with the company. Learning new things and solving new problems while tackling some big healthcare challenges is what drives a lot of us.

Commure offers a rewarding and supportive environment which is constantly growing with everyone who works here. I am currently building a team in Montreal. If you’re someone who wants to work on a communicative team, make an impact, and be a part of a company that genuinely cares, then you should consider applying for one of our open positions.

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