Allison Baker Interview – Co-Founder of Workible
In a world of dating sites that match you with your perfect partner, Allison Baker has found a niche market to match employees with their perfect employer. Allison has overcome many of the challenges associated with starting a business and working in a male dominated hierarchy. Allison attributes these successes to knowing her strengths and utilising them to be judged by her merits and not her gender.
Let’s start out with some fun questions. How do you both take your coffees?
Cappuccino with sugar – so sweet! I’ve been trying to drink more green tea, but you know, it’s hard in the mornings. Sometimes you need that kick.
What is the one business or stationary accessory you couldn’t be organised without?
It’s a little bit different but I can’t live without Google Drive. Because we are a flexible business, we often collaborate on documents and it’s very handy to have a one-stop shop. It’s much easier than passing back and forth a word document and being able to access it anywhere.
What was your biggest fear in starting up your own company?
When you’re starting out and it’s an entirely new market that nobody has validated yet, it is quite scary to think “Can we do this?” Facing those points along the journey when you haven’t gotten it right yet, you fail a bit. But you get back up and try something different. We’ve pivoted from an original business concept and now we’ve hit the right model!
Do you think there is such a thing as “working too hard”?
Yes I do. I’m a big believer in being able to disconnect. I think our modern workforce is so hyper connected. We pick up our phones 150 times a day and whether that’s being busy or productive there’s a very distinct difference. So you have to be able to put your phone down and give your brain a rest. You have to give it time to rest and re-coup so you can be creative and think clearly; otherwise you’re just going to burn out.
Do you believe in equal gender representation in the workforce or do you believe that companies should hire solely on merit (even if it means men outnumber women)?
I think it should be based on merits. Especially in corporate worlds, you do still have that hierarchy, that old boy’s group. It’s important for anyone to understand the modern workforce as well as to be adaptive and embrace different work styles. It’s understanding strengths and weaknesses, and looking at the benefits of you as an individual not because you’re a woman or a man.
Have you ever had a mentor who helped you get to where you are today? What did they teach you?
One of my mentors has been my business partner because she is more experienced than me so I think that has been a real benefit and I’m lucky to have that in a co-founder. Also our investors have been fantastic in terms of supporting us and being there when we need help but not interfering too much and letting us run the business as we want, but being there to provide advice and guidance when we’ve needed it.
Who are the inspirational people that have given you the confidence to begin this journey?
Other start-ups. Seeing people still doing what they’re doing and finding a way to keep going. It’s just really inspirational that we’re not the only ones that struggle. You can have a rollercoaster of a day where a morning’s fantastic, mid-morning’s terrible and afternoons back up again. It’s having other people that understand that. We have a really tight knit group of women entrepreneurs, and it’s great to able to lean on them and be honest about the experience, not just ‘everything’s fantastic!’
WORDS BY Lauren Piggott. You can take a look at the Workible website here. To read more interviews with inspirational women, take a look at our Community Page.
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