Internal promotions are key to a positive company environment. Imagine looking for a job in a company where you know there will be no possibility of growth and promotion, would you still apply? I wouldn’t. Promoting within allows every employee the chance to overcome their own limits and be rewarded for their effort and commitment, it shows that hard work pays off. When providing a safe work environment where people are offered the possibility to educate themselves on new topics and to improve their skills thanks to open collaboration and tailored workshops, you are bound to notice an increase in motivation and get better results.
As a company grows, recruitments become an essential factor in the business’s success. The candidates recruited will contribute to shaping the future of the company. In that sense, the hiring process has to be tailored accordingly. Every employee is acknowledged, encouraged to collaborate and valued. We’re very lucky to have employees at Stuart who don’t consider their job a 9 to 5 obligation but an actual positive part of the day and who actively help Stuart reach its goal as well as seeing our values as their own.
When a position opens up, we take a look around before recruiting externally and the results have always been more than satisfying. We trust our Stuwies and we want to celebrate them for trusting us back. We could write a whole book on our company dynamic but efficiency is of the essence. So, let’s shine a light on some of our internal promotion stories. Let’s dive in!
From intern to Head of Hub to Home
Matthieu Gonnet started at Stuart in 2016 as an intern in Finance before working in our Operations department full-time just a few months later in Paris. His studies were finance-based but after a few experiences in this area, he quickly realized that he wanted to explore something different, more specifically the startup world. We asked him if he wanted to stay with us after the end of his studies and he said YES! It was the beginning of a very special life-story. He was then recruited only 3 months after by our current Chief Financial Officer, Jonathan Sarfati. His work at the time consisted in accompanying Antoine Carteyron at the time Head of Operations, on topics around customer and courier invoicing. He worked with the product team on creating an automatic invoice generation system, as well as providing help to the different general managers to optimize their budgets.
Six months later, he was hired in Antoine Carteyron’s team. He changed his scope completely, moving from Finance to Operations. This decision was also linked to the fact that he had been able to take part in operations-related missions and after a few talks with Jonathan, Antoine and various stakeholders, he joined the operational adventure for good! His job was then dedicated to taking care of the forecast of supply and demand for the city of Paris and then all the different cities that Stuart opened in France.
The challenge was to adapt to a startup environment, very different from Finance. Matthieu and the whole Ops team did a tedious job in order to find levers to improve Stuart's operational performance. As it was a growing business, we had to fuel Stuart’s growth but also keep an eye on costs. The goal was to show our investors at the time and then Geopost, our main shareholder, that the model was sustainable. We had to create our own virtuous circle to ensure that Stuart could last over time.
On a more personal level, he managed to perfectly find his place at the core of Stuart’s decision makers and grew to become a pillar of the company over the years. He shared with us that what allowed him to grow was the trust his managers had in him. They trusted juniors to handle strategic jobs instead of hiring seniors for those positions. It inspired him to never settle and keep stepping out of his comfort zone, which led him to grow in the company and ultimately create a new business venture inside Stuart. He followed the example of his managers to think outside the box and invent his own rules instead of following preconceived models. It was through guidance during the challenges he faced that he continued to push himself a bit more every day. Seeing the dedication of work colleagues like Antoine Carteyron, Victor Peltier and all the team members he had was the biggest inspiration to keep on growing and going the extra mile in spite of difficulties.
Today, Matthieu stands as Head of Hub to Home for France, a new business line that enables Stuart to deliver e-com parcels from city center warehouses to end-clients following a cross-docking process, on the same-day evening or next-day of the item purchase. This business idea came after closely analysing the strengths and weaknesses of our historical ship from the store model, which we realized was incomplete to best serve all retailers interests. This new venture allows us to leverage all the technology we had acquired over the years such as dispatch, precise slots, premium customer experience and apply it to this new operations scheme. Matthieu’s role was to launch Hub to Home and he now owns daily operations management. He is to ensure that this service continues to grow and be structured, to perpetuate the business model and maintain the quality of service that equals the one we created for the on-demand platform.
From Office Manager to Global Head of Human Resources
Marta Abalos joined Stuart in September 2015 as the Office Manager of our Barcelona team. When she started, the company was just established so all the procedures were still to be defined. Her first challenge was to assess what HR and office facilities processes were needed and to plan ahead for the future of the company. One of her first actions was to implement an HR information system – we use BambooHR – and to create our Slack account! During the first months, she took part in the establishment of most of the benefits and perks we have today such as private health insurance and gym memberships. By the end of 2016, we were operating in Barcelona, Paris, Madrid and London. In that sense, her second main challenge was to scale all the processes to adapt them to Stuart’s rapid growth!
During the now five years she’s been working at Stuart, Marta launched many initiatives which have persisted over time and are part of our company culture. One of them is the creation of the “Engagement Team”, an initiative made by a group of employees that selflessly used to reunite every month to discuss and organize activities to improve employees’ satisfaction. Some of the main goals were to:
- Provide a better work-life balance
- Enhance personal and professional development
- Get to know each other, our clients and partners
- Have fun
One of the biggest successes of the Engagement Team was to design and implement the Work From Home Policy that we still have today!
What also allowed Marta to improve over the years was our culture of feedback. At Stuart we aren’t afraid to give constructive feedback nor to listen to it either. Well established into our company culture, collaboration and communication are key elements to evolve and improve ourselves on a professional but personal level as well.
In less than 3 years, Marta was hired as our Barcelona office manager, became a Human Resources Manager - where she led the HR department in Spain with one direct report and leading main HR projects at a global level – and is now Global Head of Human Resources! On one side, she focuses on the HR strategy, that can go from defining the department priorities such as improving the onboarding process to maximize our new members' potential, to defining our company values. In one day, we can see her analyzing the engagement survey results, crafting company culture initiatives or having a meeting with managers to catch up on their teams' needs.
Marta grew to become a pillar of the company, she and Stuart evolved along the way. She told us that what motivates her everyday is the goal to create a culture where people can have a sense of belonging and to be proud of where they work. After just a few years at Stuart, she was able to move from Barcelona to our London office where she continued her job. She never stops learning and challenges herself to always be aware of new trends in her field and industry evolutions with the help of podcasts that she listens to while enjoying a nice walk to work.
On her road to become a manager, she told us that what allowed her to grow was to observe and learn from her own managers, as they’re always the first reference we have on management, she considers herself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with managers with different leadership styles that have allowed her to define her own style. She also attended management training programs at Stuart in order to learn best practices for managers. Being a good manager is a long journey where you never stop learning and where you have to create a feedback culture with your team so you can help each other. It’s all about teamwork!
She contributes to her team as a manager by having conversations about their short and long term objectives. She knows where they want to go, and tries to provide them with the tools that will help them arrive there. For this, she sometimes uses her past experience in their role, and other times by providing the training that they might need to develop those skills. On top of that, she strongly believes that each one of us is the owner of their own development. In that sense, even though managers must act as mentors, each employee should also self-reflect and grasp the reality of what their motivations, their personal and professional objectives are.
From Sales Manager to Commercial Director
Nicole Mazza started out at Stuart as Sales Manager in our London office in December 2015. At that time, Stuart had not launched yet in the UK, it was a whole different world! She was the only commercial hire as there were only two people working in our Operations department and herself. The main challenge was to sign the very first client on the platform in order to drive the 1st launch in early 2016! Did they succeed? Yes. Was it a roller-coaster of emotions? Yes. Would she do it all over again? Definitely! She told us that one of her happiest moments at Stuart was when marketing, sales and account management became one: the commercial team was created. She pushed for this project for some time as it was the next logical step to improve output and efficiency as well as creating unity amongst the 3 commercial sub departments. Those three teams are essential to the company’s growth and it’s only when working fully together and aligning that success can happen, together.
A great moment in her journey at Stuart was when, after three years of work, different pitches, numerous calls and more, she was able to sign one of the biggest tech companies worldwide at Stuart! What allowed her to improve over the years is, first of all, her own willingness to overcome challenges but also the Hustler mentality that she has forged. Her main drive is to always want more and what motivates her most at Stuart is that there isn’t one day like the other. As a manager, she has learned from experience and with Stuart’s management workshops how to become the manager she wished she had. Nicole always tries to push her team to think of what more can be done and not settle after a success.
A lot comes from learning who you’re managed by. What her experience has taught her is to observe a lot because there will be some methods that you’ll want to keep. When learning to become a manager, the 2 key factors are: observing and absorbing what is before you and what you consider worth keeping. From this, you’ll be able to create and design what you want your managerial style to be.
Stuart has a very people centric approach, all managers are very focused on their team and the team’s wellbeing. The fact that we use Peakon means that we’re looking at and we’re tracking managers in terms of performances, all the way to Alexandra Brun pushing those workshops on management to help us become better managers and just raise awareness around what we can do to communicate and deliver better. When we asked her what she thought allowed her to improve professionally month after month, she highlighted the fact that the autonomy she had when working pushed her to create her own system. This also gave her space to do things the way she best saw fit knowing that she always had the support of her manager, Jonathan Jenssen, to help her and support her. Stuart’s work ethic is fail fast and learn fast because no one will make you feel bad for having failed while you tried, you just have to get back up and learn for next time. Without a supportive and collaborative manager who gives you responsibilities and project ownership, it’s harder to be able to handle a promotion.
From starting out as a Sales Manager, she got promoted less than 2 years later as Head of Business Development where she built and grew a team from scratch, from being the first sales person hired for the UK to managing the team. She started by building up the client portfolio and revenue-generating model, then led the team to maximize revenue potential per client by up-selling new product suites developed in conjunction with the Product team and later led initiatives aimed at reinventing the monetization model of the business.
Today, Nicole is Commercial Director in the UK. Her main role is to look after the three departments that fit under Commercial which are:
- Marketing: which acts as lead generating function mainly in support for the sales team
- Sales: which looks after anything that’s new business, from prospecting, to outreach, to closing deals with clients
- Account Management: which is focused on the growth of the accounts brought on board
How does she do to stay up-to-date? Her main source of article reading and intelligence is LinkedIn because she’s able to follow all the cross vertical industry trends and updates, ech sites like TechCrunch and CrunchBase as well as seeing what the competition is doing and how they’re evolving.