A new role at Understood.org

maria bridge
2 min readNov 23, 2018


I’m thrilled to share that in October, I officially joined the non-profit Understood as their new VP People & Operations.

This is my quick announcement to the world.

About Understood

Understood is a non-profit dedicated to serving those with learning and thinking differences who are part of the neurodiverse community. Understood provides free resources — including daily access to experts, private community forums, and expert-vetted content—for individuals, caregivers, educators, and employers.

Learning and thinking differences affect 1 in 5 people in the United States, and I’m proud to be supporting an organization with such a widespread mission and scope.

Why I joined

I was fortunate to be introduced to Understood by my friend and Stanford Business classmate Jake Poses. Jake knew I was starting to think about joining a company full-time, and, well, the timing was right. It was a quick decision, and here’s why:

  • I loved the mission
  • I loved the expansiveness of the vision
  • The team’s ways of operating resonated with me: agile, data-driven, impact-focused, big thinking yet structured, people-centric
  • I clicked with everyone I met, and felt I had a lot to learn from each
  • I was SUPER excited about the role
  • Strong gut intuition that told me this was a great idea :)

What I’m helping with at Understood

I’m about 2 months in at Understood, and it’s been such a rewarding experience already. My role is to help grow and develop our talent — new and existing — plus own the financial, strategic planning, and operational systems at Understood.

It’s been a big role, and I love it so far. If you have any lessons learned from building amazing agile, cross-functional teams, drop me a note.

“Wait, what about Topo?!”

In 2016, I started a consulting company, Topo Group, to help growth stage companies build best in class workforces through consulting, custom management training, and executive coaching.

I learned so much from building and growing Topo. I am incredibly grateful to my wonderful clients for entrusting me with developing their people and helping them to build better ways of working. And I am incredibly grateful to learning much more about myself and my own grit and hustle.

Saying goodbye to Topo felt tough, which is why I see this more as putting Topo “on a shelf.” I started Topo because I care deeply about building amazing work places, and my work at Understood is a continuation of that.

Stay in touch!

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to stay in touch, drop me a note or follow me for more.

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maria bridge

Writing on meditation, behavioral psychology, and applied ethics. Stanford MBA, Bain alum, certified Koru Mindfulness teacher.