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Salesforce Women in Tech: Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Salesforce’s UK & Ireland CEO

It might be because it’s October so I’ve started my annual binge-watching of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or it could be because our quarterly Salesforce Women in Tech event is just around the corner. But this week, we’re all about inspiring, awesome women. And that’s why we’re putting a spotlight on Salesforce’s new Chief Executive of UK and Ireland, Jayne-Anne Gadhia.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Founder of the start-up, Snoop, has been chosen to lead Salesforce’s UK and Ireland business, which is the largest market for Salesforce outside of the US!

I did a bit of research on Gadhia, and it turns out she was one of the founders of Virgin Direct in 1995 before spending five years at RBS. She became Chief Executive of Virgin Money in 2007, stepping down in 2018 following its takeover by CYBG. And she’s considered one of the financial services industry’s ‘most senior and best-known women’.

In 2015, the Government asked Gadhia to lead a review into the representation of women in senior managerial roles in financial services. In response to her recommendations in the review, HM Treasury launched the Women in Finance Charter. And now, there are over 330 firms of all shapes and sizes across financial services that are signed up to the commitments of the Charter – from global banks to credit unions, the largest insurance companies to the smallest fintech start-ups – with headquarters in the UK, USA, Europe and Asia.

As you can tell, Gadhia is a huge advocate for gender diversity in business. And in November 2016, she was appointed as the UK Government’s Women in Finance Champion, becoming a founder member of its Business Diversity and Inclusion Group in July 2017.

According to her Wikipedia page, she’s also been open about her experiences of depression and believes that better work-life balance can improve work performance. This is something which we’ve always been passionate about here at oe:gen.

Plus, if you follow her on Twitter, you’ll see how active she is about fighting climate change, advocating for equal pay, and other important causes close to our hearts.

It also mentions that in 2018, Gadhia was named Leader of the Year at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She was even awarded a CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours and made a Dame in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list!

Marc Benioff and Keith Block said in a joint statement: “Jayne-Anne is one of the most respected CEOs in the UK and we are thrilled to welcome her to Salesforce. With Jayne-Anne’s leadership, we are well-positioned to move into the next stage of growth and success for Salesforce, our customers, partners and communities.”

We’re always pumped to be a part of the Salesforce community, and seeing an important role model like Jayne-Anne lead the UK and Ireland business has made us even prouder to shout about Salesforce. I wonder if she’ll be up for speaking at our next Salesforce Women in Tech event?

Our favourite IDE (and how you can win a year’s free subscription to it!)

Last week, the lovely people over at JetBrains sent us a free one-year subscription to ANY of their IDEs to give away at the September Salesforce User Group – sign up to the event and Tweet about it using #SFNotts for a chance to win your choice of JetBrains’ IDEs for up to ONE YEAR! 

We use JetBrains’ tools here at oe:gen to build the amazing solutions we build day-to-day. The particular IDE we use here at oe:gen is WebStorm by JetBrains.

We started using WebStorm shortly after the maker of our long-favoured tool MavensMate announced that development would be ceased. After trying a couple of different options, we soon found our way to WebStorm and Illuminated Cloud 2 (a plugin for WebStorm, built for developing applications on the Salesforce platform).  

We’ve been using WebStorm and Illuminated Cloud 2 for about a year now, and it’s been great! I’ve asked a couple of our developers to come up with their favourite things about WebStorm. Here’s what we said:

Me – Salesforce Developer 

My favourite thing about WebStorm — and the entire range of JetBrains’ products — is the community around them. They’re hugely customisable, and there’s a great support base for all of their products. 

Mark Ramsell – Head of Salesforce Development 

The plugins, version control features and the speed (once it’s open) compared to other similar IDEs (VS Code aside).

John Hutchinson – Senior Salesforce Developer 

One of my favourite bits is the code inspection tool. It highlights bad practice code segments and picks up missed js syntax things that could trip you up in edge cases. You can set up a different profile for different use cases too so you can run one profile for your code and another for when you’re doing code review of someone else’s that’s less strict. It’s worth noting that there are always false positives when running code inspection so you can’t trust it implicitly and have to use it as a guideline not a gold standard.

It’s safe to say that WebStorm has a lot to offer, and coupled with Illuminated Cloud 2, it’s one of the best IDE’s we’ve come across here at oe:gen, and it’s supported us a great deal in our expansion with more developers over the past year.  

Don’t forget to sign up to the Nottingham Salesforce User Group meet up next week and Tweet with #SFNotts to be in for your chance to win! 

Winter ’20 tools and critical updates for Lightning Experience transition

There has never been a better time to get serious about Lightning Experience. Because starting in October 2019, Salesforce is finally turning on Lightning Experience for all orgs and removing the option to disable it. To help you prep your org and users for this amazing new interface, Salesforce has added more tools to the transition toolkit.

  • Turn On Lightning Experience (Critical Update, Enforced)

    Salesforce is turning on Lightning Experience on a rolling basis in Winter ’20. Users still have access to Salesforce Classic after Lightning Experience is turned on, but Lightning Experience is where you want to be for driving business growth and improving productivity.

    So in Winter ’20, Salesforce is going to be turning on Lightning Experience on a rolling basis. Don’t worry, because they know people hate change, users will still have access to Classic after Lightning has been turned on. But let’s be honest, Lightning Experience is miles better for driving business growth and improving productivity, so why would they want to?

    This critical update was first made available in Spring ’19. To make sure you’re ready, verify your org’s existing features and customisations in the new interface, and prepare your users for the change!
  • Lightning Experience Graduates to a Permanent Fixture in Salesforce

    Lightning Experience is permanently enabled as of Winter ’20, either by an admin at your company or via the Lightning Experience Critical Update.

    After Lightning Experience is turned on, you won’t be able to disable it. But remember, all users will still have access to Salesforce Classic and can switch between the two interfaces as needed. But still, it’s not clear how long this option will be available for.
  • Default User Experience After Lightning Experience Is Turned On

    After Lightning Experience is turned on, a user’s default interface depends on when they were added to your org.

    Regardless of the default interface, Lightning Experience-enabled users can use the Switcher to move between Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic.
  • Lightning Experience Configuration Converter: Scanning and Preparing Visualforce Pages, Hard-Coded URLs, AppExchange Packages, and More

    Using the Lightning Experience Configuration Converter, you can streamline and automate common transition tasks easily. And Salesforce has now made the Actions and Buttons tab generally available. It also helps with AppExchange packages and hard-coded URLs.
  • Access Lightning Experience Transition Tools in Government Cloud Orgs

    You can now enable access to Lightning Adoption Transition Tools housed on Heroku, which really gets the transition ball rolling.

    This means that when any admin in the org reads and acknowledges the terms of use for these Heroku-based apps, all admins in the org get access to the Salesforce Optimizer, Lightning Experience Configuration Converter, Lightning Experience Readiness Check, and Change Management Hub.

Though you will be moved over to Lightning by Salesforce, we don’t recommend that you wait for that to happen. You want to do it at your own pace to make sure everything you need is Lightning-ready. And we can help you with that. Check out our Lightning Transition service!

EVENT: Nottingham Salesforce Women in Tech | October

On October 9th from 2-5pm, we’ll be having our 5th Salesforce Women in Tech event! And as always, there will be four inspiring, wonderful, brilliant speakers there to share their knowledge and chat to us about their career journeys. Here’s a little bit about them…

Salesforce Women in Tech Nottingham

Rebena Sanghera

Derby College

Lecturer in Computing and a Microsoft Certified Educator

Rebena Sanghera is a Lecturer in Computing and a Microsoft Certified Educator who specialises in security and project management concepts. She builds blended, eLearning and classroom products with a focus on measurable behavioural outcomes and is currently converging computing and HR with her niche interest in eLearning compliance behaviours. She also works with individuals to develop their profiles using eLearning as a way of growing their professional brands.

Salesforce Women in Tech Nottingham

Jo Milton

Breadwinner

CFO/COO

An entrepreneur by nature, Jo has been involved in evaluating & financing companies or running companies since she left University. Her interests have always led her to continuous refinement and expansion of a business and its processes, and she thrives on making order out of chaos.

Jo is currently the CFO / COO of Breadwinner Integrations, which produces cloud-based integration software. Their principal integration tool is Breadwinner which integrates Salesforce and Xero. As well as her official title, she wears several other hats, as anyone at a fast-paced tech start-up inevitably does. Until recently, she’s been running four companies and has just sold one. 

Salesforce Women in Tech Nottingham

Arianne Donoghue

Edit

Associate Director – Digital Strategy

Arianne is Edit’s Associate Director of Digital Strategy, helping clients solve their business problems through marketing, technology and data. Having worked for some of the biggest search agencies in the country and client-side for the likes of Thomas Cook, Mamas & Papas, and icelolly.com, she’s at the forefront of what’s new within the industry. Arianne is involved with initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in digital and is a regular industry speaker at digital events across the country.

Salesforce Women in Tech Nottingham

Susan Hallam MBE

Hallam

Founder/CEO

With more than 30 years’ experience working in the digital industry, Susan Hallam is a leading influencer in the Internet world and a thought leader who inspires businesses to greater success through digital engagement. 

She is a practising digital marketing consultant, a public speaker, and Founder/CEO of Hallam —  one of the UK’s leading digital agencies.

As Chair of the Board of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, Susan is committed to the growth of the city’s creative economy, and developing Nottingham’s reputation as a great place to live, learn, work, and invest.

Susan was awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship and innovation in the Queen’s Honors 2018. Also in 2018, Susan was named a BIMA 100 CEO & Leaders shaping the digital industry, and she was made a Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing.

She is a Freeman of the City of London and a Trustee of Nottingham Castle. She is also a chartered member of CIM and CILIP. Born in the USA, Susan has resided in the UK since 1985.

Formerly a Senior Lecturer in Computing at Nottingham Trent University with a specialist interest in digital technologies, Susan also held senior digital marketing roles at BT and Capital One before establishing Hallam Internet in 1999. A Premier Google Partner, Hallam Internet employs more than 60 people who, under Susan’s leadership, provide a full range of digital marketing services to companies regionally, nationally, and internationally.  

Agenda

2:00 PMWelcome!We’ll kick off at 2pm with a short welcome from organiser Emily Malone.
2:10 PM‘Elevating to Expert: Building eLearning to grow your brand’ — Rebena SangheraAre you networking enough? Have you embedded SEO into your LinkedIn? All of that and more? More importantly, amongst all the noise, where can the key people perceive the value only you can bring? This talk focuses on how building eLearning products can aid your professional visibility and make your authentic self known to others. We’ll introduce a simple brand model for eLearning and review what it means to encapsulate your expertise and how through the creation of eLearning products, others can experience and see your value — even when you’re not there.
2:40 PM

‘Driving Diversity & Success By Reframing Failure’ — Arianne Donoghue
One of the (many) issues facing us in digital right now is a lack of diversity, including gender where recent stats estimate that only 26% of people working in our industry are women. Something that might be holding women back is a fear of failure and taking risks. In this session, Arianne will talk about how we should not be scared of failure, and why we should embrace it, using her own history of epic fails as a backdrop. She’ll also give actionable tips and advice to women who are early in their careers — about things they can do to gain confidence, build their networks and make their voices heard.
3:10 PMBreakTea, coffee, and Doughnotts!
3:30 PM ‘Cut the Crap’ — Jo Milton
When life just gets busier and more hectic, let’s look at the ways to prioritise, organise and ultimately make ourselves more efficient. We only get to live life once so nail everything. Make your work efficient and productive and enjoy your free time/ family time. Let’s look at ways we can make this happen. All this from the perspective of someone who runs four companies, has recently become a mother and just finished an 18 month home rebuild.
4:00 PM‘From Start Up to Scale Up: My Entrepreneurial Journey’ — Susan HallamJoin Susan Hallam for a conversation where she explores her entrepreneurial journey from a business Start-Up to one of the UK’s leading high growth Scale-Up digital marketing agencies. With over 30 years’ experience in the digital marketing arena, Susan started Hallam nearly 20 years ago. In that time a great deal has changed, and Susan will share with us her entrepreneur’s journey — the highs, the lows and some lessons learned along the path to building one of the UK’s most successful digital marketing agencies. Susan and her team at Hallam have an enviable reputation for remaining at the forefront of a constantly changing industry and Susan will also offer some insight to future market developments before a Q&A discussion with the audience.
4:30 PMGiveaway, buffet food and drink!We’ll be doing a giveaway — Prize TBC. Sign up and tweet about it with the hashtag #SFWiTNotts for a chance to win! There will also be a free hot buffet and drinks to end the day. Stick around with us for a chat! We won’t close the doors until 7pm.

Sign up for your free spot here!

EVENT: Nottingham Salesforce Administrators’ Group | September

Welcoming you back from the Summer holidays is our September Salesforce Admin Group event! As usual, we’ve got an afternoon of fantastic speakers and the opportunity to network with like-minded Salesforce Professionals.

This month, we’ll have our first-ever keynote from Dave Thompson of Salesforce — who was so brilliant when we saw him at the Call & Contact Centre Expo, he received a standing ovation!

We’ve also got the lovely Emma Keeling from InterContinental Hotels coming to share their Salesforce user story. Emma is going to present her journey on Salesforce and how IHG use the platform, complete with a demo of their Salesforce Org.

Our third talk of the day is going to be from Christy Au of Salesforce, who’s going to be giving us an introduction to Salesforce Maps from an admin perspective.

Check out the agenda below and sign up for your free spot here!

Oh, and as always, there will be a Doughnotts break and some hot food, drinks, and networking afterwards.

2:00 PMWelcomeWe’re aiming to start at 14:00… grab your seat and get comfy for an amazing afternoon of speakers!
2:10 PMObservations from 500 Contact Centre Visits over 28 Years! – Dave ThomsonDave will reflect on his last 28 years, working with contact centres all around the world. How have the challenges and role of the contact centre changed, as technologies and customer expectations have changed? What separates the good from the great? Who are the Trailblazers? And what are contact centres doing, to meet the challenges of the next decade?
3:00 PMNetworking BreakTake time to network with other Salesforce Customers, Salesforce Partners and Salesforce themselves over a cuppa and one of our legendary Doughnotts!
3:30 PMUser Story – IHGInterContinental Hotels owns several brands including Holiday Inn and Crown Plaza. Emma is a product manager and is going to present her journey on Salesforce and how IHG use the platform along with a demo of their Salesforce Org.
4:00 PM An Introduction to Salesforce Maps – an admin perspective Learn how Salesforce Maps enables customer productivity from field planning through field execution including territory design, schedule optimisation, and route efficiency. Discover how this helps companies maximise resources, drive productivity and revenue, and increase territory control and visibility, all while reducing expenses.
4:30 PMFoodOur local catering supplier Mrs B’s will be cooking you a culinary delight; washed down with a selection of drinks before bringing the event to a close about 18:00.

Sign up for your FREE spot here!

The one where the team played LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® with Rebecca Godfrey

On Tuesday, the oe:gen team were joined by Rebecca Godfrey to partake in some LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. Why, you ask? Well, as our team is growing, we want to make sure everyone has a voice and is heard. We also want to make sure we can communicate and work as one team to achieve the same goals. And playing with LEGO®, turns out, is a great way to do that. 

We were greeted with three tables topped with big ol’ piles of multicoloured building blocks, where we sat in teams and excitedly awaited our instructions.  

The first was to demonstrate our LEGO® building-skills, and some of us were clearly better at it than others. I’m honestly not sure whether that’s because some of us have kids, or we’re just big kids ourselves. Rebecca asked us to each build a tower in under a minute, using only three colours.  

The result?  

Some of us took so much time building a solid, sturdy base that we didn’t have time to build the rest of the tower, some saw it purely as a height competition, and others (like me) just panicked and made some sort of vague tower chaos that would never feasibly work in real life.  

The point is that each tower was different. Everyone has different perspectives and ways of working, and when they’re all laid out on the table in front of you — albeit in the form of some wonky LEGO® towers — it really is eye-opening.  

Building our LEGO® skills 

Next, we had to learn how to use the blocks as metaphors for other things. For example, I had to describe my best friend using building blocks of various colours, which really wasn’t easy for me under the pressure of being timed and everyone giving me their undivided attention.

And I guess that says a lot about me! I prefer the time to be thoughtful before speaking, so there wasn’t any time to think about what I was about to say. But surprisingly, it actually came out alright in the end. I remember pointing at the green block and saying something about being ‘green with envy’ over my best friend’s sense of style. If you’re reading this, Karl, don’t let it get to your head… 

After this challenge, we practised telling stories with our creations. This is where we all had to build an image of something that makes us happy in life, and then tell the story of that using the blocks. Around the tables there were depictions of family, running, gardens, the seaside and more. 

After this, we were asked to build something that depicts what we’re most proud of achieving this year. With these builds, we went around the table one-by-one and each told our stories. This wasn’t only a great way to practice communicating in a storytelling way, we also learnt a lot about each other in the process. 

Building a business model… with LEGO®

After lunch, we started using these skills to build something a little bigger.  

Rebecca asked us where we want oe:gen to be in the year 2022, and what we can do as individuals to make sure this happens, so we each built something of our own to portray this. We then put our individual builds together to create one giant business model and told the story of that model to the rest of the team.

After this, we were asked what important behaviours we think we need to put into practice to achieve this. Our answers were written on post-it notes and stuck to the wall. With these, we did a dot-vote to see which resonated most with the team. The three with the most votes were then discussed to find our core team values.  

Our values 

  • Communication 
  • One Team 
  • Support.

Conclusion 

Through LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, we were able to practise important skills like active listening, creative thinking, and articulating ideas and values visually. Everyone had a voice, and everyone was heard. There wasn’t a single person who was excluded or who drifted in and out of the conversation. We were all engaged together.

This methodology not only helped us learn what’s important to each of us, but to use metaphors to articulate our shared values and goals. And we came out with actionable steps we can take to ensure we reach those goals!

We also had loads of fun while doing it. If someone told me a few years ago that I’d someday be walking into work to play with LEGO® with a team of people who basically felt like my extended-family, I’d have laughed my head off. As my colleague Mark so perfectly put it: “If Carlsberg did work days…”

What I learned at Nottingham’s Salesforce Women in Tech event

As the speakers were gradually being announced on social media, it was with ever-building excitement that I anticipated June’s Salesforce Women in Tech event. With topics such as imposter syndrome, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), self-belief and re-defining the idea of being professional, for me it was ticking all the boxes!

We had four incredible guest speakers covering a range of thought-provoking topics, with personal and professional experiences that in some cases really brought a tear to my eye! If you missed it, all I can say is… you really missed out! But don’t worry too much, as here’s a little recap of what we learned on the day.

Rebecca Godfrey – Thriving in the Face of the Imposter

I’ve heard nothing but great things about Rebecca from those who attended her previous LinkedIn Local event at the oe:gen offices — where she was a facilitator of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® — so I was super excited to see what she would bring to the table!

Rebecca is a very upbeat, confidant person. She started her talk by taking us back to a happy, joyful time at a festival where she was thinking about how great life was and how far she had come… great family, career, friends — living the dream!

However, all was not well on the inside and in reality, she was struggling with the life she’d made for herself. Rebecca got promoted and her responsibilities grew to 24/7 support with people constantly looking for advice. Taking long haul flights once or twice a month, making high impacting global decisions, upholding the relentless pressures of work — all while trying to juggle being a mum, a wife, a friend.

In fact, Rebecca had only taken one day off in eight months! With work taking over every waking moment of her days, she was starting to lose sight of herself.

It’s no surprise that the work-life-balance was simply not there and ever-depreciating. Feeling more and more out of her depth, she was becoming overwhelmed with self-doubt. Yet, she kept telling herself and others that she had to work!

Although I couldn’t relate to Rebecca’s exact experience, this could very easily have been me in previous job roles, and I think everyone in the audience could relate to some part, if not all of her story. She described feeling overwhelmed and out of her depth, worried someone would think she’s not that good at her job, and then Rebecca said it — she felt like an imposter; she felt like she was pretending to be good at her job and if someone were to lift the veil, they’d see her as the fraud she felt she was. And of course, this only made her work harder and longer to make sure the curtain didn’t slip! 

It wasn’t until her mother-in-law saw what was happening and intervened that Rebecca finally gave up and was diagnosed and signed off with stress and even after 7 weeks off work Rebecca was still not right, so still slightly in denial Rebecca went to see a specialist who told her that her brain is shutting down. Rebecca then had to accept professional help.

Rebecca went on to explain imposter syndrome, what it is and how it can affect people. Using statistics and studies and drawing on from her own personal experiences as an example, this talk gripped the whole audience. For years I have suffered from depression, and looking back I can see times when imposter syndrome has played a huge part in this cycle. And although I’ve developed ways and means of dealing with my condition, I found the honesty and openness of Rebecca’s talk not only welcoming but incredibly inspiring!

If you haven’t heard Rebecca’s talk on imposter syndrome (or any of her other talks!) then I strongly suggest that you do. It was a deeply moving and insightful talk that I believe everyone can relate to and learn from.

Elaine Grace – ‘Recalibrate to Great’ with neuro-linguistic programming

I’ve always found NLP fascinating, and I have a workbook at home that I dip in and out of from time to time, but I’ve never really stuck at it!

Elaine went on to explain NLP and how it is to achieve results by setting goals or looking at where you want to go. She guided us through how our brains file things away to stop us imploding (always a bonus I think!) and how our brains process day to day info and sorts them into categories such as:

  • Generalise
  • Delete — zero interest items
  • Distort — to fit our perception of reality based on our belief system.

She then went on to further discuss our perception; how this is based on our beliefs and where some of these deep-rooted beliefs have been imprinted on us from an early age.

An example of this is whenever our parents told us ‘don’t touch that, it will be hot’. However, we also test and push the boundaries based on reality. Some of us may touch it to see if it is actually hot, and some of us might just acknowledge that as fact without even testing it out.

Elaine then went on to dig a bit deeper into this and further explained the difference between being in ‘cause’ or ‘effect’. The individual belief systems that we have ultimately shape our reality. So a limited belief on what we can achieve will limit our goals and future decisions.

I can’t do that because…  I’ve not done it before.

I can’t do that because… I’ve been told it’s hard.

Elaine then went on to discuss goals! Who has any? Who feels goal-less? Who has put their goals on hold? With a show of hands from the audience, this got my brain ticking… what are my goals? What’s stopping me achieve them?

Using her experience with horses, Elaine went on to advise that if you want to move a horse forward, you sometimes have to approach it and push it from the side to get things moving. This is similar to how we can re engage our brains by using NLP! We can actually change the way that we deal with situations buy recreating a new path based on new beliefs.

Elaine continued to then give great advice on how you can make positive changes using NLP to achieve the goals you set yourself.

There were so many top tips and ideas running through my head that I was struggling to write them all down, and then the final question really blew my mind as it really hit home:

When it comes to having a goal what is the relationship you have with yourself?  Are you your own best friend or are you your own worst enemy?

There have been so many times I’ve talked myself out of things when, if I was giving myself the same support I do to a friend, I would possibly have handled it differently. It’s time to really start thinking about my own beliefs and setting and achieving some goals!

Kirsty Hulse — ‘The neuroscience of self-belief’

Kirsty brought tonnes of energy to the room with her talk ‘The science of self-belief’, where she spoke about why we fumble our words, forget what to say, or freeze. She comes from a very male-orientated environment and is now offering presentation training for women in order to try and level the playing field. Coming from the agricultural industry and having been to some very male-dominated events in the past, I can relate to that!

Kirsty did a survey on Twitter and out of 800 followers, 94% of people believe that confidence can hold them back. She realised that it wasn’t presentation training but confidence training that was needed. And this made her start looking into more and more research in order to apply it to her work to help others.

Kirsty then started looking at the Limbic System, which is the emotional centre of the brain that causes us to freeze, flight, or fright. The brain is constantly looking out for threats and fires up far more intensely than for other more relaxed situations.

When we feel nervous and the Limbic System fires, what happens?

  • Our ‘mind goes blank’
  • We stutter
  • Our words don’t come out
  • We start sweating
  • We can’t formulate ideas
  • We struggle to communicate exactly what we mean
  • We remember key points afterwards
  • … and much, much more.

This is the same if we make a mistake — we go into panic-mode by default. But Kirsty went on to reassure us that there are things we can do about it (phew!).

Re-enforcing some points raised by Elaine in the previous talk, we can hardwire new beliefs and recreate new habits enabling the growth mindset and turning I can’t do that into ‘I can’t do that yet…’

View the change you make as a test, so you can try it out and get comfortable with failure without putting pressure on yourself.

Kirsty went on to tell us about a personal experience where she had the opportunity to talk at a huge event of over 6000 people, but she wasn’t ready. She should have said no, but it was this huge dream of hers. So without planning it out and without enough time to prepare, she did it anyway. Fraught with tension, she blasted through the talk in record time, not even taking two-seconds for breath and… epically failed the talk.

Obviously, she was dreading the reviews, but they came back 50/50. Some were glowing and others were really bad, and it was at that moment she realized that she can’t win them all, which was a huge turning point for her.

One of the common things we all focus on is getting everyone on board with what you’re saying and making sure everyone likes you. But you don’t have to get everyone on board and not everyone will like you –  you just need to do your best!

Looking at a video on her first talk compared to one later and seeing the differences were astonishing. The first was defensive, self-critical, anticipating negative thoughts. The second one was confident, assured, knowing a quarter of the room will think she’s great and focusing on them.

Kirsty then went on to explain that nerves can be helpful as this increases attention. Also, what works for some, doesn’t work for others. For example, practising her talk in the morning made her lose her edge which meant that her talk wasn’t as good in the afternoon. However, this might help others. Own your nerves, it means that you care!

Kirsty left us with and what we need in order to be great speakers:

  1. Emotional regulation – Cortisol is the stress hormone
  2. Breath – controlling your breathing to keep yourself calm (power-posing can help with this)
  3. Social support – test your talks on friends and get their feedback first
  4. Laughter – don’t take life too seriously and learn from your mistakes, don’t beat yourself up over them.
  5. Be prepared – what do I want to work on? What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve? If we believe the situation is going to be stressful, we then react to it in that way.

Really powerful and impactful stuff from Kirsty, and with the offer of free confidence training in local areas! Who can say no to that?

Emma Watts — Leading as yourself

Emma started by talking to us about being professional. What does this mean? To a lot of people, this means being emotionless, acting serious, keeping private life private

This, I can totally relate to! I remember my mum taking me clothes shopping some years ago as I’d just been promoted to a senior management role and I needed to look ‘more professional’.

The fact I’d just been promoted based on my skillset but dressed in bright blue tights and boots that jangled (like a cowboy in a western film, but my work colleague’s at the time would say Christmas elf… either way I’ll take it!) all seemed to be totally irrelevant, it was all about the smart shoes and the knee-length fitted suit, apparently!

Emma went on to explain that by redefining professionalism, you must consider that between professional and private life there is a human element. And yet, some attitudes towards subordinates are not classed as unprofessional, when it should be!

Emma told us that you should be able to show up as yourself without fear of psychological abuse, and this is the highest success factor in working teams.

Emma then started looking at alternative ways of dealing with situations such as:

  • Leading by example – be accepting of others and they will be accepting of you.
  • Listening to others and really hearing what they have to say.
  • Junior roles don’t make a junior person.
  • Reframing the situation to find the opportunity – why do you not get on with your boss? What can you do differently to resolve the issue?
  • Centering (mindfully) – be grounded, feel your space, and feel yourself breathing into the centre of it. This is a calming effect and brings you to a place where you can react appropriately.
  • Social connection – talking about positives, going for a walking meeting, going for a coffee, laughing, eating lunch with people. These are all techniques to bring you back to being calmer and more productive.
  • Being yourself builds more trust, which means openness equals higher-performing teams.

Speaking openly and from experience, Emma gave us deeper advice for when we’re dealing with stressful situations. Some people can move into more traditional roles in order to gain control. However, by doing this, they lose sight of the team focus and might not get the results required both in the short and long term.

There is also a worry that people can become ‘too soft’ and won’t give too much feedback. However, by having an open and accepting forum, we’re able to be more likely to give feedback and more accepting about receiving feedback without judgment.

Emma concluded that to be high performing, we need a great and accepting working environment where we can be ourselves.

So all in all, what did I come away with?

My brain is going to have its work cut out in order to ensure it doesn’t implode with all this info.

I received so many good ideas and honestly wouldn’t know where to start. I absolutely loved the speakers, and although it was a total roller-coaster of emotions deep-diving into such thought-provoking stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really felt my heart and mind open to the idea that the world is really starting to change by the impact of people around me.

I have felt like the imposter, I have been the person filled with self-doubt, I have been the person trying to win over 100% of an impossible audience, and I have done it all wearing an ill-fitting suit and bad shoes all in an attempt to be ’the professional me’.

I’ve now got to a point that I do what I love, which makes me awesome at my job. And best of all, I’m working within a company that not only values my skills but promotes a totally ‘professional’ environment that also empowers me to be myself and perform to the absolute best of my ability. This is what every business out there should be looking to achieve!

Yet another massively inspiring day to add to the Salesforce Women in Tech collection. I seriously think I need to come armed with a bigger notepad and at least two weeks off to completely transform my way of thinking!

Thank you to all the guest speakers, you have truly been life-changing!

Next time…

If you did just miss the last event, don’t worry! oe:gen is always keen to share the knowledge, so keep an eye out for future events. The next Nottingham Salesforce Women in Tech event is on 9th October, so pencil it in your diary and keep an eye out for speaker announcements.

If you feel you could benefit from some free knowledge, or if you feel you have something to share, then make sure you join our next event or contact our lead organiser, Emily, right here. Sharing is caring and knowledge is power! And did I mention there are always DoughNotts?!

Notes from The Nottingham Digital Summit

Thanks to Hallam, this year’s Nottingham Digital Summit was even bigger and better than last year. Across not one, but three stages there were talks on thought leadership, customer experience, future trends, business management, creative campaigns, SEO and more.

So, after a full-on weekend walking around Glastonbury with inadequate footwear, I hobbled down to the Nottingham Playhouse to a) introduce myself back into civilisation and b) learn some useful stuff. And to no surprise, it was yet another awesome day full of practical advice and inspiration. Here are some of my notebook scribbles, translated.

Storytelling and future gazing — Billy Williams 

Very few businesses have zero digital presence these days, so it’s more important than ever to craft our digital services carefully and deliberately.  

Let’s go back to 2009 when the iPhone had only been around for two years, and Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon had just started becoming Tech giants. They have a phrase in Silicon Valley: “Move fast and break things”. We’re increasingly learning from data and moving at such a fast rate. But with all this data, users become faceless, quantitative data points, and that affects our customer experiences.  

“The thing I have noticed is when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right.”  

– Jeff Bezos 

Digital experiences are rapidly expanding and becoming more diverse. Billy’s example of this was Ikea’s virtual reality app — every part of that customer journey is digital. however, Billy still wanted that personal touch; he wanted to physically go into the Ikea store.  So, what do we do?

Borrow from the past and turn to storytelling 

“Advertising is about one thing, happiness”  

– Don Draper, Mad Men 

Everything in the advertising world of the 1950s and 1960s was about storytelling. We need to take from that and be more ‘user-centered’ and ‘emotionally-led’. We need to be thoughtful about emotive design instead of relying on just data-driven design.  

So how do we tell stories with our customer journey? 

Billy used the 90s TV show ‘Friends’ as his example of great storytelling, which might not be very high-brow, but each episode has a simple story arc that everything leads back to — will Ross and Rachel get together? 

The little touches matter, and each platform within your customer experience should have its own role and lead back to the underlying theme.  

Take Monzo, for example. They claim to be ‘The bank of the future’. Their whole experience is community-led, they make you the star of the show, and they provide engaging imagery like colourful graphical interfaces and emoji notifications. This isn’t anything like any other bank we know!

Why does this work? Because they know it’s the little things that make their customers smile — like sending a mobile notification with a Swedish flag and a hot dog emoji whenever they shop at Ikea. Billy’s conclusion is that digital storytelling can be an optimistic and more human approach to product development, and that we should all be doing it.  

SEO and UX teams, unite! – Ben Wood and Julio Taylor 

The second talk of the day was led by a Digital Director and Creative Director. These guys were discussing the dynamics of SEO and Design, showing us how UX teams and SEO teams don’t collaborate enough, and telling us why it’s important that we change this.  

With the introduction of Google’s Rankbrain, Google is now understanding search queries and measuring how people interact with search results. Specifically, it’s looking at: 

  • Organic click-through rate 
  • Dwell time 
  • Bounce rate 
  • Pogo-sticking 
https://backlinko.com/google-rankbrain-seo

So, SEO needs to consider UX design. And UX design also must adapt to this ever-changing human behaviour.  

Take Voice Search for example. These trends are conditioning users to discover and expect information faster. Design and SEO need to work together to create a great user experience that caters to this.  

Key takeaways? Work from the same brief, make your work visible, control your ego, and believe in the mission. 

The power of archetypal branding – Matt Davies 

Brand is the meaning people attach to you. But the problem here is that it seems out of your control. You need to manage your own branding; you need to create your meaning and own it. So what’s the best way to create meaning? Well, Matt Davies says it’s all in the stories we tell. 

Think back to when you were a child. How did you learn about and understand the world around you? Through stories, that’s how.  

Branding includes your culture, your product/services, your customer experience, and your marketing communications, so we need to have a strong story that feeds into each of these branding elements. Matt Davis says there are 3 key strategies here: 

  1. Know your customer story 
    Make the customer the hero of your story. 
  2. Know your archetypal character 
    Archetypes are a recognizable stereotype of a character in a story. For example, Harry Potter is the hero of his story, right?

    These archetypes help us to manage our meaning by telling better stories. According to Carl Jung, there are twelve archetypes, and Matt says we need to pick one of them for our branding.

    This is so we can be consistent throughout everything we do; picking too many archetypes, he says, can confuse people about who you are as a brand.
     
Image result for the 12 archetypes
https://conorneill.com/2018/04/21/understanding-personality-the-12-jungian-archetypes/

3. Live your story 
Finally, allow your story to flow through every part of your business. 

Why is this worth it? Well, just think of a Gucci handbag — functionally, its exactly the same as any other handbag. However, people are willing to pay much more for a handbag with their logo on as they identify with that meaning.

Recommended reading: The Hero and the Outlaw – Building extraordinary brands through the power of archetypes by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson 

Impero’s Cloud Journey – Nikki Annison 

Next up was Nikki Annison from Impero Software demonstrating how they created a fully-integrated campaign for their journey to the Cloud. They went with the four C’s of campaign success: coherence, consistency, continuity, and complementary. They also used Kotter’s 8 steps to change to really make an impact: 

https://www.kotterinc.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/

Impero came up with their desired action, communication objectives, and started getting their team, existing customers, and new businesses involved at an early stage. Everyone on the team was especially involved during the creative process.  

Before selling the benefits with conviction and evidence, they needed to create awareness. So to get people talking, they wanted to pick a fun theme as an analogy. As they were doing a big product launch, they decided to go with a movie premiere theme, and this underpinned the whole marketing campaign.  

And of course, they couldn’t have a movie launch without a trailer. Seriously, watch this — it’s utterly brilliant: 

Key takeaways: 

  • Consistency is key 
  • Involve everyone 
  • Track success and share 
  • Have fun! 

Lessons from working at Google – Robert Craven 

Robert kickstarted his talk with tremendous energy; energy that wasn’t initially reciprocated on such a hot, long day. But he tried again, asking the audience to cheer as if their favourite band had just come on stage at Glastonbury, and it worked.

This is probably the kind of energy that landed him a job at Google, and here’s what he says he learned while working there:

  • Mindset 
    Here, Robert talks about having a ‘can-do’ attitude and asking us what’s holding us back. We were then asked to think of one thing that holds us back every day and talk to the person next to us about it. Then, he noted that most of us would have started our sentence with ‘They, he, or she’ — putting the blame on someone else is something we as humans are really bloody good at doing. It’s never our fault, always ‘theirs’.  
     
    Secondly, he noted how Google uses this concept called ‘Moonshot Thinking’, which is basically thinking outside of the box, being bold and brave, and not being afraid to try new things and maybe mess up.  
     
  • Speed 
    Google moves twice as fast as everyone else. In fact, they don’t even bother with business plans for the year; all their plans are actually 12-week business plans. Robert says he never knew what he’d be doing next quarter. At Google, everything moves faster, everything happens quicker, they learn more in a shorter amount of time, and it makes things more exciting.  
     
  • Team 
    Psychological safety — it’s okay to take risks, it’s okay to be vulnerable in front of each other. 
     
    Dependability, structure and clarity — everyone knows what they’re responsible for and what they’re always supposed to be doing. 
     
    Meaning — each team member knows what they’re doing is worthwhile and that they’re each making an impact. 
     
  • OKRs 
    Google use Objectives and Key Results, which is a goal system that creates alignment and engagement around measurable goals. They’re usually frequently set, tracked and re-evaluated quarterly. The goal is to make sure everyone is constantly and consistently going in the same direction with clear priorities.  

Not only was this a huge day filled with some seriously impressive talks, but we also managed to raise an insane £18,047.21 for Samaritans with our tickets (plus more donations were made via Larry the unicorn on the day!).

Larry the unicorn Samaritans

I can’t wait for next year! What did you learn? Let us know in the comments below!

Ethical tech, responsible marketing and mental health

We’re pretty lucky, these days. Thanks to technology like Salesforce, we can analyse data, make predictions, and recommend actions based on in-depth data insights and machine learning. This means marketers can plan, produce, personalise, promote and overall perform better on a much bigger scale.

AI, hyper-personalisation and micro-targeting are already in full swing, affecting how we as brands interact with our audiences, and their potential to manipulate negative human emotions isn’t really understood yet, but it’s still a real concern.

One thing is for sure; AI is known to have the potential to produce outcomes that infringe on our human rights, damage our businesses, and hurt our society. So with these new powers comes a responsibility to do good things with them — we’ve all been given the chance to decide the path our industry will take as we move into the future of technology.

The truth is that technology can help or harm society, and it’s companies just like us, and just like Salesforce, who have the responsibility to make sure we put empathy, trust, and inclusivity first. In every ad, every email, and every marketing campaign, we need to consider our inherent human nature to be compassionate and vulnerable.

The race to capture human attention isn’t going away, but we can do this without capitalising on vulnerabilities.

Responsible Marketing

“There are two reasons people buy things… Those reasons are guilt and anxiety”

This depressing quote comes from Emotions Matter, a guide to Return on Ethics (ROE) by Phrasee. Here, CEO Parry Malm is quoting one of his first bosses, who believed that if a marketing campaign could summon these negative emotions in its audience, sales would follow. And although this strategy definitely feels like a dodgy way to do business, the sad truth, he says, is that it sometimes worked.

But we don’t have to use people’s negative human emotions to sell; the statistics are there. More and more, people are making their purchasing decisions with their morals and beliefs. Besides, you shouldn’t have to trick people into buying something. Not only is it exploiting instead of empowering, but it’s just lazy marketing.

The statistics

Nelson found that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for socially conscious brands, and this number moves to around 90% when you look at only millennials and Gen Z.

– ‘Emotions Matter: a guide to Return on Ethics (ROE)’ by Phrasee — quote from Amy Williams, Social Entrepreneur and Good-Loop founder

Consumers see human rights as a business imperative. 90% of consumers believe companies have a responsibility to improve the state of the world. 

– Salesforce Research, October 2018 

87% of consumers believe companies have a responsibility to advocate for human rights.

– Salesforce Research, October 2018 

72% of teens think they’re being manipulated by technology. They believe that tech companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices.

– ‘How to Stop Technology From Destabilizing the World’ — Tristan Harris, Co-Founder of the Center for Humane Technology

93% of consumers are concerned about emerging technology’s potential to bring misinformation

– Salesforce Research, October 2018 

77% of consumers are concerned about emerging technology’s potential to bring increased/widened inequality.

– Salesforce Research, October 2018 

81% of consumers believe emerging tech can make a better place.

– Salesforce Research, October 2018

67% of consumers say that technology is neither good nor bad – how it’s used is what matters.

– Salesforce Research, October 2018

Smart tech with unplanned consequences

YouTube has an auto-play feature which will automatically schedule a related video for you after you’ve finished watching something. You can turn the auto-play feature off so you don’t end up falling down an endless ‘YouTube hole’ like I so often do, but it’ll still show you recommended videos based on what you’ve already shown an interest in. This is entirely chosen by the algorithm, which is amazing!

What wasn’t expected was the consequences this can result in. For example, one minute you could be a new mum or dad watching videos giving tips and sharing new parent experiences, and the next, the algorithm thinks: ‘here’s a video that will probably interest this person based around what they’ve watched before’. Before you know it, you’re being shown an anti-vaxxer video — which will then prompt the algorithm to show you other conspiracy videos.

Facebook has a similar problem with its algorithm for Suggested Groups; tenuously leading some people to far-right groups and hate speech. But it’s also making us experience something called ‘Learned Helplessness‘, where people are learning about big global human problems that they can’t do anything about on a much bigger scale. Really, it’s no wonder there’s a strong link between social media and mental health issues.

Technology at its worst, as certain experts like to remind us, can adversely affect our mental health. It can lead to feelings of isolation and depression, as well as negatively impacting our social skills, concentration levels, attention spans and sleep patterns; there’s an emotional risk.

– ‘Emotions Matter: Technology’s role in Mental Health’, in conversation with DR Fjola Helgadottir, PHD R.Psych

We as social media users need to change the way we’re raising awareness of world-issues from the negative ‘this is terrible, look at all the plastics polluting our oceans’ to the more positive message of ‘look, here’s the great thing being done about plastics in our oceans.’ This is obviously something we can’t enforce, but we can talk about and encourage. And I know I’m going to be more mindful about how my messaging affects people when sharing these issues in the future.

Snapchat also has photo filters which distort reality to create fun, silly selfies to share with your friends. The thing is, they also include heavily-used ‘beautification filters’ which edit and manipulate your natural facial features by giving you smoother skin, bigger lips, a smaller nose, higher cheekbones, a smaller jaw etc.  

Gigi Hadid using a Snapchat filer sourced from Inverse’s article ‘Plastic Surgeons Are Really Worried About “Snapchat Dysmorphia”‘

Worryingly, both young adults and teenagers, who are pretty much at the peak of discovering their self-identity, are using these filters, meaning Snapchat is — whether knowingly or not — profiting on one of our key vulnerabilities; body confidence and self-image.  

As Commissioner Sharon Bowen of Seneca Women states in ‘Ethical Responsibility in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, “just because you can go 120 miles per hour, doesn’t mean you should do so in a school zone.” 

Smart tech with a positive impact

However, there are loads of examples of how tech can be used to impact our mental health in a positive way. Dr Helgadottir, AI-Therapy Founder, has established Overcome Social Anxiety (OSA), which is a fully-automated treatment programme for social anxiety. And this, she says, has already treated people from over 30 countries.

FaceTime is another example of this. There’s nothing wrong with FaceTime; it’s positively impacted everyone. Especially those who work long hours away from home who want to feel close to their loved ones.

What can we do?

We need to start by looking at an honest appraisal of human nature. The next phase of our evolution is doing the uncomfortable thing and looking back at ourselves. And seeing that yes, we’re vulnerable to social validation. Yes, we’re vulnerable to magician’s tricks. And yes, we’re vulnerable to supercomputers. And yes, we’re vulnerable to algorithms that split-test 66,000 variations of toxicity or hate speech.

‘How to Stop Technology From Destabilizing the World’ — Tristan Harris, Co-Founder of the Center for Humane Technology

Honesty and transparency are key here. And we need to be thoughtful about our human vulnerabilities, but leverage our strengths and focus on the positives.  

In her article for Phrasee’s Ethical Marketing guide, ‘Market Differently: How does your marketing measure up for mental health?’, Bernadette Fallon goes through some guidelines for being sensitive and thoughtful in our marketing activities. We think they’re pretty spot on:

  1. Don’t make false claims 
  2. Don’t exaggerate facts or distort the truth
  3. Don’t promote messages that exploit your customer’s negative emotions (guilt, anxiety, anger etc.)
  4. Don’t use fear tactics
  5. Don’t conceal important information
  6. Don’t bad-mouth your rivals
  7. Don’t copy competitors
  8. Don’t be racist, sexist, ageist or fall foul of any other ‘ist
  9. Don’t exploit children
  10. Don’t spam your customers.

What Salesforce is doing

We know that technology is not inherently good or bad; it’s what we do with it that matters. And that’s why we’re making the ethical and humane use of technology a strategic focus at Salesforce.

– Mark Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce. 

Salesforce count trust, equality, and diversity among their core values, which are values we also share. They want to actively educate people to help them be a part of this conversation and think about ethical implications. Check out their ‘Ethics and Humane Use’ page right here.

Empower, don’t exploit

So the message is to empower, not exploit. Tech is moving at such a fast pace now, and its potential to positively or negatively impact society is only growing. But we mustn’t forget that we still have the power to use these new tools to create a respectful, positive experience for everyone. There’s a clear call for every business to introduce an Ethics Policy, and we’re working on ours right now.

My first month at oe:gen

It’s been one month since I started working at oe:gen, and this is what I have to say…

To date I’ve been very fortunate in my career progression, working within some great companies, engaging with great people and overcoming many challenges across multiple industries.

Leaving a company has always been a very positive experience for me. Each time I’ve decided to move on, it’s been on the basis that I’ve simply outgrown my position or require a more challenging environment to fully use my skillset and push myself forward. In either case, it’s always been on good terms with my employer and the old company’s doors have always been left hanging wide open should I ever want to return.

Starting a new job, however, is a totally different story. I’m no longer surrounded by people I‘ve known for years, no longer talking confidently about subjects I know inside and out. What systems are they using? What are their processes? Who are these people? What am I doing?!

Although it doesn’t normally take long for these fears to dissolve, the first few weeks in a new company can be tough, and on some occasions, I’ve found myself asking if it was too late to turn back!

oe:gen, on the other hand, was different. One month in and already I feel fully integrated, valued and my input respected. There have been no nerves, just a little self-doubt (I’m only human, after all), and only three outfits changes required on day one!

These are my top 5 reasons why…

They invest in developing their people

I’ve been at oe:gen for one month and I’ve already:

  • Attended a Salesforce Women in Tech event
  • Attended a Salesforce Administration User group
  • Attended two agile events
  • Received internal training on ‘guest speaking’
  • And have a program of events already mapped out for the months ahead.

This is more training in one month than a whole annual program in previous companies. Encouraging and providing these soft skills really shows oe:gen is committed to developing their team and investing to support the growth of the company. This also doesn’t cover the personal development plans that are carried out and reviewed every three months to make sure each person is achieving their own personal goals! 

The office

This might seem like an odd one, but I’ve always been envious when I see other companies’ Instagram posts of bean bag meeting rooms with their brightly coloured decor and popcorn makers. Well, not any more with the bright blue and yellow decor, whiteboard and blackboard walls, a foosball table, and on my second day being invited to a retro gaming lunchtime session… SAY WHAT?! I’m now ‘that person who works at that place’!

Not only is the office a bright, fun and inviting place to be, it’s also laid out in a way that encourages a free flow open environment. This means you can catch a quick relaxing meeting in the comfortable seating area or have a break while making a cup of tea looking over the living wall. You can even have two minutes thinking time while reviewing the inspirational wall of images submitted by each member of the team.

In one company, I wasn’t even allowed to have my kid’s first school photo on my desk due to it being a ‘distraction’, and yet now here I am with full access to the Spotify playlist. Get ready because here comes some old-school 1980’s hip hop!

The culture

Office culture… that’s a thing, right? Well, up until now I didn’t quite realise how important this was. From the team members to the biodegradable stationery, the oe:gen culture is the life force running through the veins of the company.

This not only sets the tone of the documents it produces, but also defines how the business is run, the message it sends out, who is working within the team, and who their customers are – going along the lines of “if you’re not a right fit, you’re not allowed in!”

Although the oe:gen team is equipped with an amazing set of skills, they also have to be a representative of the oe:gen culture. I’ve worked in companies where, although the IT department has adopted agile (or tried to) and is committed to improved change with open and honest communication, the rest of the company failed to also adopt the same culture. This means you’re constantly pushing water uphill, and no one wants to do that.

Culture also applies to the customer base; in order to have a healthy, long-lasting, productive relationship, our customers also must be the right fit. You can’t put a square peg in a round hole and expect everything to run smoothly. That’s not to say its oe:gen’s way or the highway – it’s about establishing a good fit and building a relationship and the shared agreement of how the projects are going to work, which turns the ‘ To whom it may concern’ emails to ‘Hey John, how was the camping trip?’

The people

The oe:gen team are more like a close-knit friendship group than work colleagues. They truly care about each other and have a supportive and inclusive ethos. For example, the development team have a concept of ‘swarming’, which isn’t something I’ve experienced in other workplaces.

‘Swarming’, for those of you (like me!) who don’t know, is when a particular development item is blocked or the developer has hit a creative road block. When this occurs, all the other Developers will put down tools (where possible), collectively ‘swarm’ together, review the item and help solve the problem or give some additional insight to support each other and remove the blockage… it’s brilliant!

The senior managers also sit amongst the team and encourage open and honest conversations. They have an open-door policy (possibly because there aren’t any!) and are all just as prepared to roll up their sleeves and dig in to help push projects to the deadline if needed.

Being truly valued

Having multicoloured hair, riding a motorbike and having visible tattoos can sometimes make me a target for pre-judgment, regardless of my technical ability or amazing personality! *wink*

In the past, I would always wash out any colour and cover up my tattoos, and this could sometimes span the whole of a probation period just to ensure that I don’t offend or scare someone within the company.

However, oe:gen accepted me for who I am and truly value the skillset and insights that I bring to the company, I was encouraged to speak up in meetings and my points and perspective were always considered. I was introduced to clients without hesitation and not judged on the clothes I wore or the colour of my hair, but encouraged to be myself, which make me feel truly valued.

I was really taken aback in my second week when Col, the project designer asked me to submit some of my own inspirational images to be included to the new kitchen table … instantly, I was made to feel a part of the building and part of the team and that my views and passions were important. It was a simple gesture that really made my day!

So, in summary…

When people ask me how I’m getting on, I can’t help but have a wide smile on my face and relay the above points.

I’m now working in a fun and exciting environment, a company culture that’s passionate about inspiring its highly skilled, inclusive people, with senior management fully investing in developing the whole team to ensure they’re providing the best possible outcomes for clients.

So, yeah! It’s not going too bad!