Interview conducted by Dana Smith
It’s really nice to meet you, Steph. Where are you originally from and how did you end up in Vancouver?
I'm from Scotland, born and bred in the city. I went to business school in Glasgow, and I applied for an exchange program hoping to go to Germany, but they sent me to Saskatchewan instead! As it turns out, I had a great time and really enjoyed my classes and the people I met. I went to Vancouver for a holiday before I flew back to Scotland and just fell in love with the city. After I finished my degree in Glasgow, I thought... well, I'll go and get my visa and move to Vancouver for a year. And then the year turned into two years, and I got my job with Hushmail. At that point, I thought I should probably give this a chance. So I got my residency, and now I can't imagine my life being anywhere else.
What brought you to Hushmail?
I was working for a large internet company doing cold calling and sales, and it really wasn’t for me. I saw the Hushmail posting and thought it sounded really interesting. My background is in retail, and the position at Hushmail was so different from anything I'd done in my past, but my dad works in data protection, and I’ve always had an interest in that area. The fact that Hushmail is an encrypted email company definitely piqued my interest.
What is your role at Hushmail?
I’m a Customer Care and Billing Specialist on the Customer Care team, which basically means I focus on billing for our customers’ accounts and answer everyday account questions. I also send the onboarding emails, so I'm the first face a new customer sees when they get their email welcoming them to Hushmail. On the sales side, I'm starting to have more of a role here where I’ll start going to conferences and meeting with potential customers. So I guess I do a little bit of everything!
How is your role at Hushmail different from your past job?
With Hushmail I’m working in a small company versus working in a big company where I was just a number, one out of about two hundred people on the sales team. At Hushmail, there’s a really nice family vibe with only about 20 in the office. It’s nice knowing that my opinion is valued here. If I have an idea, I can go and talk to the CEO, and I know he’ll listen and either encourage my idea or guide it in the right direction.
What is your favorite part about working with Hushmail?
Every day is different. Although we all have our set jobs, we work directly with customers and can’t predict what’s going to come up. Every day is exciting, and all the people on the Customer Care team are so supportive and funny - it’s such a good vibe in the office. I wake up each day and never dread coming to work, which is so lovely because not many people can say that.
What are the biggest challenges that you face in your work?
I think it is the uncertainty. We have to think on our toes a lot and be quick with our problem -solving skills because our customers are running businesses themselves. They rely on us, so it’s essential that we always deliver for them. However, we're working with technology; sometimes things are out of our control, and we can just do our best to keep our customers informed, while also being proactive about fixing the situation.
What have you discovered about your position at Hushmail that has been surprising to you?
The amount of technical information that I've learned! My background is accounting and economics, so I've never really had much experience in codes or how encrypted email works. I've been surprised by the amount of information I've been able to absorb about a completely new area. It's very interesting!
What would you like to learn more about and how would you like to grow, either in your job or your personal life?
I have a thirst for knowledge, so if someone asks me to do something that I don't know anything about, I'm going to educate myself and dive right in. With the transition into my new position, so much of it is about building relationships, requiring skills that can be used in both the workplace and my personal life. I moved out here by myself, and no one teaches you how to make friends in your twenties. So learning those skills of how to have engaged, solid, genuine conversations with people is very important.
What would you like customers to know about what you do at Hushmail?
That we’re trying our best, and that we’re here to help them. My job is to be that point of contact if a customer has a question about their bill or if they feel they've been wrongly charged. They don't have to be upset. Occasionally, mistakes can happen. All they have to do is send us an email, and we can fix it. We're not a big company where you have to go through three or four people before you talk to the person who actually has the answer. We’re just one phone call or email away, and we can solve the problem.
Would you like to share any details about your life outside of Hushmail?
Travel is a big part of my life because I'm from Scotland. My parents live in London now, so I have three home bases - Glasgow, London, and Vancouver. I love to travel and make my way through the States when I can. I like to hike, and I'm quite outdoorsy. I drove through the Canadian Rockies last summer and had such a humbling experience. I am so grateful to be here!
What's one thing about you that might surprise your customers or your team members if they knew?
I'm a big foodie. I don't know if my team members know about that. I love food - eating food, preparing food, learning new recipes. Over Christmas I hosted a dinner party for my friends and had a lot of fun putting together a beautiful spread.
Is there anything else you'd like to mention that you'd like Hushmail customers to know?
Yes. Please don’t be put off by the strange spelling in my emails and messages. I’m just British.