The Forward Experience

A 2022 Lookback

A Message from the CEO

“Maintaining an A+ culture across our whole team is mission-critical for us. 
Our employees are driven, passionate, and core to who we are as a company.”

For ten years now, we have helped over 45,000 underserved, small business owners get the capital they need to help their businesses succeed.

Our mission is simple: to build a world-class fintech company so our customers and our people can reach their full potential. We believe in the power of small businesses and the positive impact they can have on the communities where we live and work.

In 2022, our team achieved several major milestones, including reestablishing our company’s identity and brand, helping a record number of customers secure funding, and growing our talented team by over 100 new employees. With such high headcount growth, one of our major focus areas in 2022 was maintaining our A+ culture.

We owe much of our success to the talented team members we are lucky to work with every day. In this report, we highlight just a few of our 2022 accomplishments and what makes our team, culture, and company so special. 2023 will be another year of “yes” – for our customers, our people, and our communities.

Justin Bakes, Co-founder & CEO

our Identity

Our brand. Refreshed.

In April of 2022, Forward Financing rebranded and launched a new set of core values which better represents the energetic, passionate company that we are and our mission to help small businesses. Afterall, at Forward, we believe every business deserves financial opportunity. To achieve these big, bold aspirations, we need a big, bold brand!

The Equity Arrow

Our new logo is a combination of a mark and our name, all in a style that speaks to who we are.

We call the mark the Equity Arrow, and it is a way to visually identify our brand.

The Equity Arrow is based on two concepts:

  1. Our belief in financial equity, that every business deserves financial opportunity
  2. Our commitment to helping small businesses move forward

Our brand reflects our vibrant and growing team and our core values act as our compass. Our identity tells the story of who we are as a company.


Our Core Values

Drive the Mission

We believe in financial opportunity for underserved small businesses.

We say “yes” when others say “no.”

Keep It Real

We value direct communication, candid feedback, and authenticity.

We are an open book.

Act With Kindness

We create an environment where caring is cool and helping is the norm.

We do the right thing.

Shoot for Extraordinary

We are inspired by innovative thinking and continuous improvement.

We never settle for yesterday’s best.

by the Numbers

A Year of Growth

2022 was a year of growth – growth for our teams, our customers, and our business. We served over 14,000 customers and provided nearly 50% more funding to small businesses nationwide than we did in 2021. We couldn’t have done it without our entire team Shooting for Extraordinary!

Customers served in 2022

0 +

Funding provided in 2022

$ 0 M

Customers served since inception

0 +

Funding provided since inception

$ 0 B

Growing Our Amazing Team

Total employee 
headcount growth

0 %

Technology team headcount growth

0 %

Remote employee 
headcount growth

0 %

We are thrilled to be able to hire talented team members from across the country, not just those located near our Boston office. In 2022, 37.8% of our new hires were located remotely. Learn more about our Employee Choice policy.


Get to Know
Our Teams

Account Servicing 

Our Account Servicing Department ensures customer satisfaction by providing excellent service and assisting customers who are experiencing financial hardship.


The Analytics department is responsible for creating reports and dashboards that offer each department with insights, allowing the business to make data-driven decisions.


Our Legal team manages litigation and arbitration, reviews contracts and corporate transactions, and ensures regulatory compliance on behalf of the company.


The Marketing team develops and implements strategies to promote Forward’s services and brand, to various audiences, such as customers (small businesses), ISOs (partners), and new talent (future Forward team members).


The People team consists of two teams: Talent Acquisition and People & Culture. Our TA team is responsible for hiring and retaining top talent, whereas our P&C team is responsible for providing the best employee experience and making Forward a great place to work.


The Sales team is divided into two parts: New Sales and Renewals. The New Sales team works directly with ISOs, or partners, to fund new deals and provide capital to new small business customers. Renewals work with existing customers and our ISOs to expand our relationships and provide additional funding to help our customers’ businesses continue to grow.

Strategy & Finance

The Accounting and Financial Planning and Analysis teams make up the Strategy & Finance department. FP&A monitors and forecasts the business’s operational outcomes and ensures that all legal and lending criteria are met. The accounting department is responsible for all incoming and outgoing financial transactions.


The Technology team, composed of Engineering, DevOps, Product, InfoSec, and IT departments, is responsible for building and maintaining Forward Financing’s proprietary applications, business systems, and office hardware.


The Underwriting Team is responsible for reviewing applications from small businesses for funding and providing a rapid, competitive, and profitable decision.

Employee Experience at Forward

Our Greatest Asset

At Forward, we Act With Kindness, creating an environment where caring is cool and helping is the norm. This drives every part of an employee’s journey at Forward, from the time they join our team, through various stages of growth and challenges, professional successes, and personal milestones. Our goal is that every team member feels celebrated, supported, and cared for at the individual level.

Welcoming new team members

In 2022, we grew by 111 people and onboarded our biggest new hire class to date. New hires follow a thoughtful and comprehensive onboarding program including: 1:1 coffee chats with our CEO, partnering with a welcome ambassador to learn the business, volunteering with peers, and more. By establishing this foundation from the very start, we are setting our people up for long-term success at the company.

Driving a culture of recognition

We believe that employee recognition, engagement, and ongoing development is the best way we can support our employees. Over the years, we have developed a continuous feedback model through quarterly performance reviews, employee goal setting, and frequent engagement surveys. In 2022, we built upon this culture of ongoing feedback and recognition and tied it into everyday life at Forward.

Standing Ovation Award

We developed and launched the Forward Standing Ovation Award – a way to reward and celebrate employees who have delivered outstanding performance while also exemplifying our Core Values. Award recipients receive a congratulatory, personalized message from department leadership in addition to a monetary gift.


employees received a Standing Ovation Award

Employee Recognition Channel

We launched a Recognition Program that enabled all employees to publicly shout-out and recognize their colleagues on a daily basis. These shout-outs are tied to our Forward Core Values, and are tracked so that all managers can see the impact of their team members’ hard work throughout the year. By highlighting and celebrating both individual and team wins, we are building a strong sense of community, teamwork, and engagement across all teams.


total shoutouts received

+ 0 %

employees have 
received a shoutout

Developing Our Team

Our employees at Forward are extremely driven and truly Shoot For Extraordinary in all that they do! Investing in our employees’ development not only supports our team members’ careers, but also our organization’s future. In 2022, we focused on this development with three key initiatives.

2022 Employee Development By The Numbers

+ 0 %


0 %

increase to our
population of

People Managers

0 +

employees utilized

the Professional 

Development program

Professional Development Program

This program is an incredibly important investment in encouraging professional growth. The goal of the program is to provide employees with experiences that will help them develop in their role and at the company. Each employee is granted $2,000 annually to spend toward their career development. In 2022, our employees took courses in coding languages, UX design, data analytics, risk analysis, legal compliance, and more!

Employee Mobility

We’re proud to support our employees by helping them grow in their current roles, or transition internally to a new role that aligns with their longer-term career aspirations. Through our Internal Mobility Program, employees are encouraged to explore internal job opportunities as they arise, and apply for a new role if it’s of interest to them. Either through a promotion, internal transfer, or elevation to a management role, our employees are given the opportunity to leverage their existing knowledge while continuing to develop their skillsets.

Goal Setting

We implemented an employee tool called Lattice which allows employees to log in to just one system to access their development goals, performance reviews, engagement surveys, and more! All employees are required to set both role specific and development goals in Lattice. These goals are updated throughout the year, and are tied directly to performance reviews. This enables employees and managers to set clear expectations around career growth, and have real-time conversations around goal progress and accomplishments.

Taking Care of You

Forward is committed to ensuring that every single employee feels cared for both inside and outside of work. We Keep It Real – we value direct communication, candid feedback, and authenticity. We continue to collect employee feedback and action on it, especially when it comes to supporting our employees personally. It’s critical to us that every employee has access to high quality care, in whatever way they may need it.

Empowering our workforce through Employee Choice

Our employees asked, and we listened! One of our biggest initiatives in 2022 was establishing a hybrid work environment that puts employee choice first. We implemented our Employee Choice program, empowering individuals to decide where they work best, whether that is from home, our office, or anywhere that life may take them! This program gives employees complete flexibility to establish and adjust their schedule and work setup based on their individual needs, allowing them to do their best work. This shift has created an opportunity for us to expand our hiring nationally, while also maintaining the perks and camaraderie of having an in-person space available. At the end of 2022, Forward was named a 2023 Bests Place to Work by Built In, placing on their national list for Best Fully Remote Midsize Places to Work.

As we look ahead to 2023, we’re committed to continuing to foster our award-winning culture in this remote-first environment."

— Shannon Braley, Chief People Officer

2022 Benefit Enhancements

Expanded Our Medical Coverage Nationally

With our growing remote population, we updated our medical plans to make sure they provided equitable coverage to all employees, no matter where they call home.

Implemented a Health Savings Account

Adding a Health Savings Account (HSA) option to our medical plans was one of our top requested benefits improvements. We now have over 50 employees enrolled in the HSA, and offer an employer contribution to the plan.

Reproductive Health Travel Benefit

Forward is committed to ensuring all employees have equal access to quality healthcare. We expanded our medical coverage to include a Reproductive Health Travel Reimbursement benefit, which will reimburse up to $2,500 annually for travel costs associated with obtaining abortion services when access is restricted as a result of state law.

Forward Flex Pass

We continued our Flex Pass Program which grants all employees $120 a month to spend on wellness, commuting, or home office expenses. We know that when it comes to benefits in a hybrid environment, there is no one-size-fits-all policy. This benefit empowers employees to spend the funds in a way that works best for them.

Paid Leave

This year we expanded our paid leave programs to include time off for those who experience pregnancy loss, stillbirth, failed adoption, surrogacy or fertility treatment. This will allow employees to take the time they need to grieve or recover without explanation.

Fostering a Safe & 
Inclusive Culture

Forward actively promotes a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in all we do. We are committed to creating a workplace where trust and respect are paramount, and all employees feel valued, heard, and accepted. It’s a top priority for us that DEI efforts do not feel separate from our business initiatives, but rather help us Drive the Mission and are core to who we are as a company.

In 2022, we primarily focused our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy on truly embedding DEI into Forward’s everyday culture. We strive for all employees to feel like they belong at Forward, that their voices are heard and valued, and that they consider Forward a safe and inclusive place to work. While we are extremely proud of our 2022 accomplishments, we recognize that the work in this space is ongoing. We look forward to building upon this foundation in 2023, and continuing to prioritize our commitment to DEI in all that we do.

Forward was honored to receive a Gold Stevie® Award for Achievement in Diversity & Inclusion in the 20th Annual American Business Awards®, standing out across 3,000+ business nominations.

A few of our 2022 initiatives included:

Continuous DEI Engagement Opportunities

We hosted a monthly workshop series focused on a variety of topics, including Black History, Pride, Ableism, Veteran Support, and additional heritage celebrations. We hosted 11 total sessions, bringing in 10 expert facilitators in the process. Our goal for each workshop was to expand our employees’ perspectives, provide tangible action items to put into practice, and emphasize the importance of continuous learning in this space. We received great feedback from employees on our workshop series, and nearly 65% of our employees attended at least one session.

DEI Employee Resource Group (ERG)

This year we launched an Employee Resource Group (ERG) centered around open and safe discussion on a variety of DEI related topics. Over 35 employees joined the group, discussing topics from the gender pay gap, the model minority myth, disability pride, microaggressions, intersectionality, and more. The group’s goal is to build awareness and education, and take that foundation and turn it into action.

Ensuring an Equitable and Inclusive Hiring Process

With our rapid growth in 2022, we focused heavily on expanding our diverse candidate pipelines all while maintaining an equitable interview process. Our goal is that every single candidate for a position feels the process is transparent, fair, and inclusive. Additionally, we trained 40 new interviewers at the company to diversify our interview groups, facilitated inclusive interview training, and implemented a new analytics tool to analyze our candidate pipeline data and our diversity sourcing results.

Our major focus of 2022 was to expand on Gender and Race/Ethnicity representation across the company. Even with our substantial headcount growth in 2022, we were still able to see progress in our overall representation metrics. This is a continued and imperative focus for us in 2023 as we continue to grow our team.

Increased our overall Female population to

0 %

which was a 4.9% increase in 2022

Increased our Female population on our Technology team by

0 %

Established an official Leadership Team with

0 %

identifying as female

+ 0 %

of all 2022 new hires identified as racially diverse

~ 0 %

of all 2022 new hires identified as female

Coming Together
as a Team

Core to our culture is a connected team, filled with energized, passionate, and driven employees. We love to bring our people together to build relationships, collaborate cross-functionally, and have a little fun!

Forward Palooza

Now that we have employees located all across the globe, we looked to find new ways to bring the team together and keep people feeling connected and energized. In June, we launched our first Forward Palooza, a three-day event where all employees came to our Boston office for in-person activities, business updates, and FUN! It was a great opportunity to meet one another and collaborate in-person. We hosted our second Forward Palooza in December and will continue this bi-annual tradition.

Giving Back

Our employees are personally committed to Driving the Mission in all that we do – and that includes supporting our local and underserved communities. In 2022, our teams volunteered and donated to a variety of organizations, and had fun doing it!


paid volunteer days provided per employee per year


of employees completed a Volunteer Day


gifted to all New Hires to donate to an organization of their choice


designated "New Hire Volunteer Days" hosted for new employees to meet Forward colleagues


volunteer events facilitated across 8 different organizations


total hours volunteered


up to matched charitable donations per employee per year

Through our giving and match program, we donated a total of





What people have to say about Forward

“I am forever grateful to work for a company that puts teamwork and a healthy work-life balance above everything else.”

— Javier Ceciliano

“Everyday teammates recognize each other for the work that they do and lift each other up. I can't say enough great things about the supportive and collaborative culture at Forward!”

— Sophie Bortone

“Forward places a huge emphasis on employee development - the result is a pretty awesome culture where we are encouraged to grow professionally and strive for excellence.”

— Monique Haynes

97 %

CEO approval

93 %

recommend to a friend

Awards We’ve Won

Inaugural list of the B2B
companies that go the
extra mile to provide
game-changing support
for small businesses

Boston Best Places to Work

Boston Best Midsize
Companies to Work For

Boston Best Benefits

Certified for
May 2022 – May 2023

#52 Best Medium Workplaces

#7 Best Small and Medium
Workplaces in Financial
Services & Insurance (2022)

#4 Largest Fintech
Company in

Achievement in
Diversity & Inclusion

Our Vision for the Future

2022 was a year of great success for our organization, our customers, and our people. As we look ahead to 2023 and beyond, we will continue to support small businesses while maintaining our A+ culture. Not only will we invest in the success of our business, but we will continue our investment in our people’s success. Afterall, our talented team is what makes Forward such a special place to work. We look forward to sharing our 2023 achievements for both our customers and our people.

Stay up to date on our progress here!

All content and statistics are accurate as of December 31, 2022