Meet The Team: A Look Into The Expansion and People of InnovateHer

Written by: Libby on February 28, 2022

Hello Reader, 

I’m here today with the first episode of our new series, ‘Meet The Team’, which will introduce you to our newest team members (Rhiannon, Sarah, and myself- Libby) .

To start off the series, I would like to introduce you to the brilliant Rhiannon, our Partnerships and Content Coordinator. But first, I’d like to tell you about the experience in putting this series together!

We recently did an employee’s roundtable to introduce ourselves- who are all wonderful, unique, and excited to be working at InnovateHer. This roundtable was an absolute pleasure to be a part of, and have the conversation that the three of us had. It was filled with interest, insight, emotional intelligence, and a dash of humour.

Being able to convey who we are was important, as sometimes a blurb or a standardised interview doesn’t give the effect. There were questions asked but it became an open conversation- we listened to each other, understood one another better, and we hope that you get to know us too.  

Alongside the transcript there is also an audio version, which you will probably get a clearer sense of us, but I’ll make sure that you can sense us just as much in the transcript. However, there is also an audio clip too that will appear alongside the question. 

We greeted each other, checked in, and caught up first, and then pressed record.

So, without further ado, I shall get into our roundtable conversation, and from all of us we hope you enjoy:

  1. So, the first question is about you as people, and like your interests, passions, just a basic thing about who you are, and if you mention your role as well, so who wants to go first?

Rhiannon:  I’m Rhiannon, I am the Partnerships and Content Coordinator meaning that I connect with partners, as well as creating cool content for our e-learning platform. I don’t- it’s a difficult question because I feel like I’m a bit, I love so much and I’m a highly passionate person. Probably, food and baking, so watch out for snacks when we all get together (it’s safe to say that we are all looking forward to this). I love being outdoors, any chance to go to a beach is my happy place, but I also do quite a lot of art, drawing, anything hands on is normally my jam. I’m terrible at sports, but I’ll give that a go as well, just a love of life over here. 

Me: I like how we’re all creative in some way, it’s a nice common thing we all have. 

2. Next one is the values of InnovateHer are a big part of the team and the company itself, which one or more than one resonates with you the most and why? 

Rhiannon: I can follow on, for me it’s definitely passion, I’m passionate. I don’t think there’s a person who doesn’t know me, well does know me, that wouldn’t describe me that way. I just think that life is about passion, so it’s a value I take and put my heart and soul into everything I do. Maybe too much if you ask certain people, but yeah I think whatever I do, I’ll approach it with passion. It might not be talent, but it definitely will be some sort of passion, so that’s my one for sure. 

3. So, going from that in a way, what attracted you to the job and InnovateHer itself?

Rhiannon: For me, the reason that I was attracted to InnovateHer is that I actually heard about them for a really long time, through Liverpool Girl Geeks. And, where I was in my career, being in tech, I think what I realised quite profoundly or strongly is that I am very values based, and I was working for industries or within kinds of cultures that weren’t. That misalignment everyday, although, I was fulfilling my skill set, left me very unfulfilled and being unable to challenge that status quo left me feeling very unfulfilled. 

You know if you’re watching a kind of not everyone’s voice at the table, you do feel like you want to be able to help speak up. I realised that me being in those cultures, as much as I was trying to pioneer things I was unable to create big change. So, I think InnovateHer, and the values, and the work that they do from the ground and the roots level is something that really reaffirmed to me that I was in the right place; in the right culture because in my mind with tech you’ve got a very specific set of skills that you can kind of take anywhere, so finding that value based organisation to me was highly critical and important. When the job role came up, I think I was happy to squeeze any shape, style, or just be part of the culture because the work that InnovateHer do to me is so important. So, yeah that’s how I got here and just being greatly privileged to be a part of a community that realises my values and actually helps generate change. 

4. So, how has working at InnovateHer altered your view on conceptions you had before towards work or showed you something you didn’t expect it to? 

Rhiannon:  I think that feedback culture at InnovateHer is revolutionary in terms of it’s genuine. On my own personal journey, I think I’ve learnt so much about myself, but also kind of what it means to be working at a high functioning level. I came from an agency previously, and before that I was in-house, so I think I got very used to putting myself under a lot of pressure, and that was what success was- if you felt pressure, if you’re working hard, if you’re on the verge of burnout then you’re doing well. I think kind of coming away from that and realising just how unhealthy I was and how unhealthy that culture had kind of become, and I think it is something that still is huge. I don’t think I was the only person affected by that I think actually more people are experiencing that than they realise, and actually coming to InnovateHer, taking a step back and saying “hey I don’t feel very healthy in the way that I approach work” and relearning how to work has been incredible. 

I think it’s the honesty behind the team that really encourages that, and we all know that we have our team meeting, we all check-in honestly. We all say how we are, and we talk about everything that’s happening personal and professional, and then at the end we check-out. Just to even have a CEO talk about time of the month to me is just fabulous! I come away from those meetings and I run downstairs and I’m like “never guess what’s going on with the team” because I suddenly feel so connected on a level that is no longer professional, well professional, but it’s personal too. I think that coming into an environment and a culture like that for me has been honestly so healing. I didn’t realise how healing it was going to be, but I feel like I’m taking that into my personal life, I’m taking it elsewhere with me. I’m carrying that little torch of checking in with people, and actually wanting to know honest responses because the more honest everyone is, the more I feel connected and it just keeps rolling. I don’t think I was ever expecting that level of kindness in the workplace, and I think it’s something that I will now try and champion wherever I go. A little torch has been lit in me that the way that it was isn’t the way it has to be, and yeah even us talking now; I know that we’ve only been getting to know each other for such a short time, but I feel so connected to everyone on the team, and I’m sure we all feel the same, and that’s virtual as well, which you would never have you know two years ago prior to the pandemic. So, yeah it’s been a huge learning experience for me, but highly positive. 

5. As we know, there’s an importance in our working environment to have a healthy relationship with our work and also our personal lives,you know through as Sarah referred to before the flexible working policy. How important has that been to you in applying for the role initially, but also since you started working? 

Rhiannon: I think it’s funny you say that working between nine and ten, every work place I’ve worked in has been “we’ve got a flexible coming in, but you need to be in the meeting for 9:30”. It’s like, well it’s not flexible is it? If you don’t come in until 9:15, you must stay until 5:15 or 6:15, again that’s non-flexible, you’re just choosing where to pivot. For me, it’s funny because I was more curious about the flexibility options, I don’t think for me it was a driving factor. I think I didn’t truly believe it because I’ve worked ‘everywhere’s flexible, everywhere’s free tea and coffee’, and it’s all these fabulous perks which are not perks. So, I think you go into it a bit skeptical, but for me ironically, I think I work a more regimented 9-5 than I ever did before because I have that trust feeling and there’s no pressure. I’m not forcing myself to be up and alert at 9 ‘o’ clock, but naturally because I want to do well and stuff, I do find myself actually adhering more to a regular basis than I used to work before.

Again, that just comes from that, if you remove that pressure you spend less time stressing about it, and I had a great manager years ago who said to me once, “the more you tell someone off for being later, the longer it’s going to take them to get in the right headspace for work” and I think it is that, because I’m not stressed about it, I’ll just jump on and start working because I’ve mentally coached myself that that’s what I’m doing at this time, rather than running around feeling all the pressure. Now that I’ve kind of experienced it, I think it’s one of the best things and best policies ever because it is just so flexible. It is funny how it wasn’t a factor, but now it probably will be. 

In Conversation…

Rhiannon: Yeah, there is pressure to get it done, but just not personal pressure.

Sarah: Yeah, yeah, that’s what I meant 

Rhiannon: I still feel motivated to complete my tasks

(All Laugh)

Rhiannon: I don’t want Jo and Chelsea to listen to this and be like what? But yeah, definitely that what’s it? That whistleblowing feeling of if you did something late someone would call you out that feeling’s not there. 

Me: It’s just like a natural trust that you’re going to do the work, do it well, and do it properly, but also it’s flexible you can do it when it suits you as long as you get it done.

Rhiannon:  Yeah and support as well. If you’re struggling then there’s an openness to saying it rather than it getting too late, which I think in other cultures I’ve been in, you mask if you’re struggling because you don’t want, if you’re unsure about a task, you don’t want to ask for help sometimes because you either feel that the time’s passed to ask for help or that you think there’ll be repercussions for it. I think having that open and honest culture, well obviously we’re still at the very beginning, but I think it does remove that because I feel like if I needed help I could immediately ask and rather than feel that I was going to be told off for that, which is good because you’re an adult you shouldn’t be told off.

Me: Yeah, it’s a very safe space to ask for help, you don’t feel nervous asking for that. When we first joined, we had that ‘How We Communicate’ session which we all know how each other likes feedback, how best to deliver it, and that immediately provided that sense of “okay I’m not going to feel demeaned or put down or put off”. You just felt safe to ask for help.

6. And we’re on to the last question, which is what are you most looking forward to in the year ahead at InnovateHer?

Rhiannon: Smashing goals, hitting targets. I think I’m definitely excited to see how each of our roles are going to contribute to the journey. I think InnovateHer is in such a period of growth and we were all brought in with very specific skill sets that are only going to energise certain areas such as the e-learning platform, and obviously Inspiring Assemblies. My own personal side of it, the content, as well as building up that partnership and communications journey. But, I think it’s at that time where because it is growing, we’re all such creative people. I think I’m just looking forward to celebrating where it all goes, I don’t think I’ve got a specific hope or dream, I think it’s just a joy to be part of that. And because we’re all so energised already and what we’ve achieved in the time that we’ve been here versus where it’s going I think it’s going to be brilliant.

That was Rhiannon’s section of ‘Meet The Team’, we hope you enjoyed reading, listening, or both and got to know Rhiannon a little bit more.

Make sure to come back for Part 2 in which you get to meet Sarah!

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