Winter 2023–2024

Building Relationships in the Workplace

Chloe Samaha ’25 poses for a photo on campus

Chloe Samaha ’25 is just beginning her career as an entrepreneur, but she’s already mastering a key aspect of entrepreneurial leadership: the importance of people and relationships.

Specifically, she is intrigued by the ways that companies with virtual or hybrid arrangements—which offer colleagues fewer opportunities to chat by the water cooler—have altered workplace relationships. She began reading about topics including the Great Resignation, “quiet quitting,” and what matters to Gen Z and millennial employees. “If we don’t feel that we are providing value or that (co-workers) care about us as people, if we don’t have community in the workplace,” Samaha asks, “what’s keeping us there?”

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Seeing that this was a problem in need of solutions, she began brainstorming tools to help company leaders build community. Samaha, a Natalie Taylor Scholar with a concentration in technology and entrepreneurship, started developing a mobile app called BOND.

The app generates a daily bonding activity that allows colleagues to get to know each other. “It could be a question, a quiz, or a challenge, and you have a certain amount of time to respond,” Samaha says. The activities are simple and fun: Name the coolest thing you’ve done in the last year. What was your silliest fear as a child? What’s the next road trip you want to take?

Given Samaha’s emphasis on relationships, it’s little surprise that she chose to live in eTower, Babson’s living and learning community for entrepreneurs, where she serves as president. eTower has been key to BOND’s development. For example, a fellow eTower resident introduced Samaha to Brian Cho, a software developer and student at the University of Toronto, who became BOND’s co-founder.

“If we don’t feel that we are providing value or that (co-workers) care about us as people, if we don’t have community in the workplace, what’s keeping us there?”
Chloe Samaha ’25, co-founder of BOND

Through Babson’s Summer Venture Program, Samaha spent some intense days at the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship last July, building a fully coded version of BOND and preparing to release it on the App Store. “It really gave me a taste of what it’s going to look like being a full-time founder after college,” Samaha says.

The app is now in the hands of beta testers, including eTower residents and alumni, plus startups and corporate firms; their feedback has led to the addition of game elements to the app to encourage friendly competition, such as a leader board and engagement meter. Teams that spend time getting to know each other rack up points and can win prizes. The app continues to evolve and is catching on, with multiple large companies interested in sharing BOND with their employees..

“I want team leaders to use BOND because they genuinely want to build a culture that is people-first,” Samaha says, “and because they believe that the strength of the company is the people working there.”

Posted in Entrepreneurial Leadership

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