Stride Spotlight: Meet Max— our Maelstrom Marbler


Stride empowers self-employed people to build lives they love. This week, we chatted with Max, one of our Product Operations Associates, about his interest in suminagashi, his desire for solving some of our members’ most complex issues, and his strong connection to the individuals we serve.

Can you introduce yourself and your position?

I’m Max Proano, Product Operations Associate at Stride.

What were you up to before you joined Stride?

I was on an extended “vacation” before I joined Stride, which lasted about eight months. Two of those months were spent traveling around Vietnam and Thailand. The other six months were spent figuring out my next step - doing research, taking online courses and having lots of conversations.

Do you have any cool hobbies that folks would be surprised to know?


I have an Etsy store called Maelstrom Marble, which has been up and running for a couple months now. I’ve recently taken up suminagashi, which is a form of paper marbling. I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m excited to be learning!


What sparked your interest in the Product Operations Associate role?

Two things got me interested in the Product Operations role at Stride. I love solving complex problems. What better place to solve problems than an Operations team at a small company? There’s plenty of problems and tricky member situations to go around. I also have a strong connection to the people we’re trying to serve. I hope to own my own small business someday, but making the jump from a secure full-time job to an independent lifestyle scares the crap out of me. I’m constantly looking for guidance and support, which is exactly what we’re trying to do at Stride. In a way, I’m going through what many of our self-employed members are currently experiencing or have experienced in the past.

What does a typical day at the office look like for you?


I think I’m fortunate to say that I don’t really have a typical day at the office. It could be spent working with insurance carriers or grabbing a whiteboard to work through some tough logic. I get to check off the to-do list with those small, manual tasks, but I also put my thinking cap on to solve complex problems and improve our enrollment processes. I would say the only typical part of my day is trying to pet every dog anytime they walk by me.

We’re helping our members make independence achievable. What does independence mean to you?

This is a tough question and something I think about constantly. If we’re trying to “make independence achievable,” what do we currently depend on and want to break free from? For me, that would be the security of a full time job and stable income and benefits. This means that 'independence' is freedom from uncertainty and fear about the future.

What's your go-to burrito on Stride's Burrito Thursdays?

I’ve really been venturing outside my comfort zone recently. Normally I get carnitas, but lately it’s been steak and shrimp burritos.