The Value of a Purpose-Driven Early Stage Startup Team –– with Dani Pascarella, CEO of OneEleven

Artwork by Rob Goodman

For Dani Pascarella, CFP®, the economic landscape today reminds her of 2008. Yet she’s not daunted by the threat of another recession. On the contrary, Dani sees what’s happening right now as an opportunity to help consumers get better control of their money management skills. 

In fact, Dani founded OneEleven Financial Wellness to help people get through all the personal finance ups and downs that tend to keep everyone awake at night. And she’s surrounded herself with a team that’s just as intensely devoted as she is to democratize financial education and prompt consumers to change their relationship with money. 

Dani Pascarella, Founder and CEO of OneEleven

As CEO, Dani has relied heavily on her education and expertise to create an app that does more than just teach about finance. OneEleven goes a step further to motivate users to go beyond basic budgeting principles and overhaul their financial habits. Yet what makes her startup stand out—and one of the reasons Inspiration Ventures invested early—is the vision she has for her team. Dani has gone on to thoughtfully hire people who bring deep purpose to their work. They’re not just OneEleven employees; they’re champions of the cause. 

So what’s the secret recipe for making sure that employees at your startup are moving in the same direction? Below are a few strategies that have served Dani and OneEleven well, and can support your company’s long-term success too.

1. Hire for passion

Becoming a team member at OneEleven isn’t simple. When Dani hires, she makes sure that only the best, most mission-based candidates make it past stage one. “They have to have a strong affinity for what we do,” she notes. “When you’re hiring, you can always teach skills. But passion for our mission? Wanting to make a difference? You can’t teach that stuff. It needs to be a part of who they are.”

By hiring with this insight, Dani ensures that she’s giving OneEleven the people it needs to scale. After all, Dani wants OneEleven to revolutionize the personal finance habits of everyday consumers. And it’s her team of people that will make that revolution a reality.

2. Celebrate wins

Being part of a startup can mean long and challenging days, not to mention wearing lots of hats. And even with all the economic pain happening in the world right now, people can be slow to change their money habits. So to keep the team focused on the long game, Dani makes certain that employees talk about their wins. 

“When we realign and reset, we’re able to commit to better work,” Dani says. “We know we’re marching to the same drummer and working toward the same goals.” On a biweekly basis, OneEleven’s employees have a meeting to talk about the things they’re most proud of doing. This could be anything from a personal growth moment to a big project reaching the finish line. 

3. Get personal

Everyone who works at OneEleven knows the startup is on a mission to alleviate financial stress and help people live a life that they’d rate 11 out of 10. Many OneEleven team members have their own stories of financial insecurity. In some cases, these stories became watershed experiences in their lives. As such, employees are eager to provide a way for others to break the circle of suboptimal financial choices and shift toward investing wisely, setting aside emergency savings, and leveling up their fiscal situations. 

Too often, startup founders concentrate on the business and not the people pushing the business forward. Dani and OneEleven illustrate the importance of having the right team from day one. 

To learn more about OneEleven Financial Wellness, please visit To hear more from Inspiration Ventures, follow us on LinkedIn and explore our website