“Culture is not a building” Interview with Eva Spexard | Passion.io
Women Rock Ambassador Cameron had the pleasure of meeting Eva via their LinkedIn communities to talk all things culture and diversity within the workplace, specifically how we can makes things easier for women to succeed without sacrificing – a topic very close to our hearts!
HEY EVA! THANKS SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SHARE YOUR STORY. CAN YOU BEGIN WITH A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE PLEASE?
Sure! I’m Eva, currently Head of HR at Passion.io and I’m more or less born into a People and Culture position in Tech/Engineering. My mom is an HR Manager and my dad is an Electrical Engineer that moved into development (he has always been very eager to teach me how to do anything from changing light bulbs up to developing code for the big cutting machines his company sells).
Now as you can see today, my passion for people and work environments was a little stronger and I decided to start my first role after my studies in recruitment. I was responsible for the E-mobility sector in the company I worked for at that time and learned how fulfilling it is to help people find a job they can thrive in and see them succeed.
In the following years I worked in HR consulting and as an international HR professional, all mainly in Tech and Engineering companies until I joined Passion at the beginning of this year and I can say that I’ve really “found my home” here, as one of my amazing team members always says.
AND HOW HAVE YOU SEEN REMOTE WORKING AND FLEXIBILITY FUEL ED&I, MAKING IT EASIER FOR WOMEN SPECIFICALLY TO SUCCEED WITHOUT SACRIFICING?
Remote working and flexibility are great tools to enable ED&I. It can give companies access to the talent they usually would not have access to (in different countries and locations and from diverse backgrounds, not just the people that are within a commuting distance from your offices). It can also increase women’s ability to advance in their careers by offering more flexibility to work from anywhere and anytime. It can make them less dependent on a certain location and its availability of child care and nursing services – women are still the primary caregivers in our society.
All that while saving them time and cost to commute to an office and not having to make that work with pick-up times at schools and day care. The accessibility of remote work can also open new opportunities for those who aren’t able to afford transportation costs or for people that are neurodivergent or people with disabilities. This goes hand in hand with a culture that encourages flexibility, of course, async work, autonomy, parental/caregiver leave, mental health support, and so on and so forth.
It absolutely doesn’t mean that remote work is the solution to everything and for everyone and there are certainly many things we as a society need to improve on to make it easier for women to access certain industries and roles but it can be one tool to attract and also support women with whatever their career aspirations might be without them having to sacrifice other aspects of their life.
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE HOW IMPORTANT IS DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE?
It’s not even a question of importance for me – it is absolutely vital for any company from my point of view. Companies that don’t make it a top priority will not survive the next 5 years, if you always do what you did because you hire the same people you always hired and promote the people you always promoted your workplace and company will not be able to adapt to the always changing reality. Diversity is THE number one advantage when it comes to building a culture that fuels the success of an organization from my experience. It drives innovation and enables challenging conversations that more often than not lead to positive changes, learnings, and improvements.
WHO IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON/PERSONS IN YOUR EARLY CAREER?
I did my LL.M. in Labour Law and my M.Sc. in Business Psychology both at the same time while I was working full time between 2016 and 2019. Looking back, it was one of the toughest times for me and also one of the most stupid decisions I made in my life (would not recommend it, like seriously :D). Anyways, during this time I had a professor at university that was an absolute role model for me. She was different from other profs, more relatable and not afraid to say “I don’t know” or “I’m sorry I’m late, it’s because…”. She told us about her mistakes and learnings, how she struggled and then found her way. How difficult it can be for a woman in a male-dominated environment. That did not make her look weak or less professional, it only made her students open up to her more, build trust and do the best work they can. That was when I realized I want to be that kind of leader and contribute to making the world of work a little bit better.
IT’S PRETTY CLEAR YOU’VE DONE SOME PRETTY COOL THINGS IN OUR CAREER SO FAR! WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?
Personally, I am super proud I managed to walk the Bright Angels trail into the Grand Canyon and back up (where back up is the actual achievement here haha). It was a pretty cool experience for me because it showed me once again how much we can achieve if we really really want it. But also that it only works if we have the right support and environment. It’s a little bit like a career you really want and you’re willing to work hard for it but if no one shows you it’s possible, gives you a chance, a map and some good shoes, you’re set up for failure.
Professionally my proudest achievement is probably my current role at Passion. I always wanted to be in a People & Culture role that allows me to create a culture and environment that is diverse and inclusive and where people can bring their whole authentic selves to work. No bs, no work-face. An environment that is willing to learn and improve. One of our values at Passion is #levelup and I think that’s exactly what every organization, CEO and people leader can do when it comes to ED&I and for instance women in tech: aim to get better and find ways to improve.
Some amazing takeaways there – thanks Eva you rock!