What’s your name and what do you do at Liberis and where in the world do you work?
My name is Louis Russell, not French myself but do love the language and I am re-learning it again at the moment 😊. Within Liberis I am an Engineering Manager in the Implementation Team focusing on Partner Integrations into the Platform. I work remotely and am based in the countryside city of Hereford in the Midlands of the UK.
From the moment you wake up in the morning, what do you look forward to for the day ahead?
Coffee ☕, Always coffee from the moment I wake up 😊. Joking aside, I look forward to working with the whole Liberis team to solve problems and challenges in the business. Although my focus is my team and roadmap, I thoroughly enjoy helping everyone across the business. Whether that be just signposting, answering a question, or taking an issue forward to resolution. I thrive on challenges and getting to the bottom of them and resolved. Within my first few weeks at Liberis, I was putting in extra time to help with our Barclaycard integration and joining calls with the Barclays team in India to understand all the technical detail of our secure integration with them and how we could work together to get it resolved and delivered to Production.
Describe a typical day for you in your role.
Depending on where we are in the sprint cycle, I will have meetings with the team concerning what we are working on for the next 2 weeks, how the past 2 weeks have been going, or what work is coming up and if we know enough information to size the work and bring it into a future sprint of work. Outside of this there will be other meetings such as with Architecture or other engineering managers around upcoming work and technical detail, one to ones with my team, etc. Where I have time, I will be completing Code Reviews for my team, delving into the technical detail on changes, and where possible get my hands dirty doing some coding and changes for our team’s delivery.
What do you love most about your job?
The People. I really enjoy delving into the technical and understanding how the systems tick but without great people around you it wouldn’t be quite as enjoyable. Everyone in Liberis are all pulling in the same direction and want to do a good job whilst also having fun. They all have time for you and want to do a good job. They are also all active in the Social Channels and I am so pleased with how active the music lovers’ channel I set-up is and all the great suggestions that have been added already. Currently 311 songs totalling 23hrs & 1 minute 😲
What advice would you give a colleague whose just joined your team?
Be yourself and don’t worry about needing to know everything. Everyone is always learning and can’t know everything. Ask for help, don’t be too proud, no one is going to shoot you down or judge you because they will probably be asking for your help at some point too.
Are you office based, remote or hybrid? What are the pros and cons, if any?
I am remote based however I have been to the Nottingham and London Office twice each.
Cons would be that you miss out on the social interactions of being able to just grab a coffee or lunch with someone however in general everyone is available online for a message or a call and the social channels help keep those friendly conversations going.
Pros are that you can fit home commitments around your work with ease. You don’t need to worry about someone being in for deliveries, you can easily get washing loads done around your workday, and traffic is a thing of the past! Also, with a good desk set-up, coffee is always to hand.
What’s your name and what do you do at Liberis and where in the world do you work?
My name is Mira Bragg, and I am the Marketing Manager: International Acquisition based in the United States.
When did you join Liberis and what were your first impressions?
February 2020, I was blown away by how friendly, kind, compassionate, intelligent, and helpful every person in the office was. I felt immediately welcomed and part of the team.
What makes you proud to work here?
I’m proud to work for a company that always strives to do the right thing and find the best approach to any solution. We don’t want to just be the best alternative finance provider, we want to be the best place to work, we want to have the best products, the best customer service, the best everything! We don’t settle for ‘just okay’ – not for our customers or our employees.
What are your stand-out memories of working at Liberis so far?
Doing an escape room with the US team in Denver, including our general manager. It was an oddly equalizing experience full of laughing at the absurdity of the tasks. 10/10 would do again.
Since working here, what ways have you developed – personally and/or professionally?
This list could be pages long, so I’ll pick out my top four:
What makes you stay working here?
The people, the flexibility, the trust. The culture is top-notch. I’ve had the best managers I’ve ever had in my career at Liberis. They truly took an interest in my goals and career path, which made me feel extremely supported. There’s no micromanaging. The level of trust my managers and colleagues have in me always makes me want to turn up and do my best – I don’t want to let these amazing people down!
What do you look forward to most in Liberis’ future?
I look forward to Liberis equalizing the access to funding for POC and women-owned businesses. Historically, these groups experienced were systematically barred from receiving the finance due to both prejudice and unconscious bias. In America, a report by the Federal reserve found black-owned firms report 81% more credit availability challenges over white-owned firms. The same report found that more than half of black-owned businesses were turned down for loans at a rate twice as high as white business owners. Even when black business owners get approved, their rate of failure to receive full financing is the highest among all ethnicities. Less than 47% of loan applications completed by black-owned businesses get fully funded. A study by professors at the University of California found that FinTechs discriminate 40% less by utilizing lending algorithms, which still isn’t perfect but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. I look forward to future where Liberis eliminates those discrepancies altogether.
It was back in February 1909 that the very first Women’s Day was observed in New York, and since then, this day of respect and appreciation has spread rapidly across the globe to establish the International Women’s Day (IWD), now held each year on the 8th March.
Over the years, IWD has grown to mean many different things to different people, but the emphasis on equality and celebration never wavers; uniting global communities in commendation of the economic, political and social achievements of women.
It is important to note that IWD is not only organised as a day of celebration, but one of purposeful collaboration that is striving to forge a better working world for all genders. In light of this, this year the day has been framed with the theme and media hashtag: #BeBoldForChange. The goal of the tag is to encourage individuals to take real action in drive the greatest change for women, whether this be through building upon social awareness or taking civil action: it is a vehicle of change.
Arguably the most vital area that calls for change is the position of women in world of business. This is a space in which women have continuously struggled to contest beside men, with only 20% of small businesses in the UK being majority led by women, and 38% partially led.
However, it has been reported that the number of women starting their own businesses has grown by a strong 42% since 2010 . Now almost a third of new businesses are being founded by women, contributing an estimated £75 billion to the economic output in the UK.
And so, today – this week, this month, and beyond – we are celebrating the achievements of just five successful business women in the UK.
Louise Leolin, Founder of DinoByte Labs
During her time at the University of East London, Louise found herself astonished at the statistics she researched for her dissertation; learning that 52% of gamers in the UK are female, yet only 14% of the UK games industry is made up of women. She felt inspired to do something about it and so towards the end of 2015, Louise set up DinoByte Labs – a small, yet dynamic, indie games studio based in London. As with most entrepreneurial endeavours, it was a brave move to make, but Louise believes it is important to be a little fearless:
“being an entrepreneur requires taking a big leap of faith and while it can be extremely rewarding, the prospect of failing can scare people away from even trying. Talk to as many people as you can and soak up as much advice as possible, but at the end of the day, always follow your own instincts.”
DinoByte Labs is striving to improve the gaming industry, and holds the gamers at the very heart of what they do, focusing on user experience and testing their products with groups of over 5,000 respondents. They also offer consultation on UX, game and branding design.
Through the independent company, Louise has found freedom in what she chooses to create and contribute to the gaming industry: “working in games, there are a lot of older ways of thinking and designing which I don’t agree with. I love that when I create my own games, stories and characters, I’m not bound by any stereotypes or conventions.”
Aneeqa Khan, CEO and Founder of eporta
Born out of a love for technology and the frustrations of furnishing her first flat, Aneeqa set up eportaback in 2015 with the intention of “connecting global communities and making to easier for people to ‘do business’ day-to-day”. As the only furniture, fixtures and equipment sourcing platform exclusively for professionals, eporta is transforming the design industry by allowing interior designers, architects and companies alike to discover and order directly from a community of furniture and product designers.
This is executed through presenting complete design catalogues of thousands of suppliers in a simple, searchable format alongside a bespoke messaging & management software. This struture allowed members to negotiate and tailor orders, saving a huge amount of time while getting the best possible prices.
It’s smart, it’s innovative, and thanks to Aneeqa’s bold willingness to take a risk, eporta has also secured backing from several blue-chip businesses including members of Zoopla and sofa.com.
Toni Skinner, Director and Co-Founder of Pig’s Ears Beers
Despite being a wine drinker at heart, after discovering what Pig’s Ears describe as ‘pale ales as fresh and fruity as a Sauvignon Blanc’, Toni has never since looked back. Instead, she has gone on to co-found and head the wholesale team of Pig’s Ears, and to help the business keep pace with the rush of the ‘craft beer revolution’.
Whilst sourcing and supplying London and the South East with some of the best beers on the market, Toni has taken the business from the storage space of a pub, to an 8,000 sq ft warehouse. They’re still operating out of their bar and restaurant in Richmond-upon-Thames, but with Toni’s hospitality experience and a turnover of over £1 million behind them, the future is looking bright for Pig’s Ears.
Hanna Naima McCloskey, CEO and Founder of Fearless Futures
Driven by her resolute passion for social justice, Hanna founded Fearless Futures in 2014. It is the UK’s only company that engages directly with girls and young women through gender and leadership development programmes, combatting structural inequality and aiming to provide an overdue education on its root causes.
Hanna has not only led the business independently in both schools and the workplace, but has also succeeded in Fearless Futures’ campaign to include female musicians in Edexcel’s A Level Music course, a change to be implemented in this Septembers new syllabus.
With one educational triumph after another, there’s no doubt that Hanna has made valuable strides for equality in the working world – clearly mirroring the values of the #BeBoldForChange campaign too!
Suzanne Brock, Founder of Nutriment
“Have confidence in your product, and in the team that helps you sell it. The rest will follow” she says. And in her case, she was absolutely right.
Nutriment produces all-natural gourmet pet food, made up of human-grade meat, vegetables and superfoods like spirulina. As a healthier alternative to mass produced pet foods, the Nutriment range has grown to become an international success in the four years its been in business, now exporting to six national markets. Closer to home, Suzanne is keen to keep supporting local businesses and stocks her products in 350 independent stores, as well as her own website.
After acquiring a turnover of £1 million in its first year of business, Nutriment went on to win Lean Start-up of the Year at the Startups Awards 2015 and now produces 200 tonnes of pet food a month.