Gemma McCall co-founded tech for good developer Culture Shift, which combats bullying, harassment, violence and discrimination, in 2018.
Culture Shift provides a real-time reporting platform to identify and prevent workplace issues, helping build a safe, happy and supportive culture at work.
We found out how a recent week in Gemma’s life looked…
To kick-start the week, I meet with our marketing, sales, finance, success and product teams. Everyone shares an update on what they have in the works for the week, plus what’s on their radar. It’s an opportunity for us to problem-solve as a team.
I find these cross-departmental catch ups vital, especially while many of us are still working from home where it’s easy to get siloed. This week I spend the majority of my Monday with our new NHS partner, delivering a success workshop.
I’m really excited to be working with the sector and it’s been an interesting learning curve seeing how our anonymous reporting platform applies in different settings.
The majority of our clients are higher education institutions – in fact, we work with over 80 of the UK’s biggest universities – so extending the use of our platform in the public sector, amongst others, is excellent validation of my belief that we can really create change across organisations around the world.
The success workshops are a chance to make sure our partners are set up for success before launch, by ensuring they have all the right policies and procedures in place. I finish the day meeting with my friend, Advita Patel, from Comms Rebel. She’s an awesome internal communicator and is providing Culture Shift with invaluable advice on our customer success strategy.
Tuesday is a strategy day with my entire leadership team. We usually get together once a quarter to reflect on the success and challenges of the last quarter, and collaborate on goals for the next three months.
We have incredibly ambitious growth plans, so it’s important everyone is on the same page to ensure we’re setting ourselves up for success. We all select three overarching goals for the next three months, before building out the strategies and tactics that are ultimately going to help us meet them.
The whole team finds the sessions useful, insightful and interesting – they also help keep us on track when it comes to reaching both our short-term and long-term goals, while determining if we need to shift our strategy.
To end the day, I’m asked by our Sales Director to join a second stage interview with a prospective sales introducer. The interview is great, and we decide that day to offer him the job! Having investment and being able to grow the team is incredibly exciting. It’s an element of my role I love, but also one of the most challenging as we want to ensure every decision we make is right for the team and the business.
I start my day by welcoming our new junior data engineer, whose role will be focused on analysing the data we have across our 80-plus live sites and building instant reports.
This information is going to be really powerful for the organisations we work with. It’ll eventually allow them to see cross-sector trends and learn from the good practice of others when it comes to our collective goal of tackling and preventing harassment and bullying.
I’m part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Forum for tackling bullying and harassment. Today we have a meeting to discuss the actions we need to take to eliminate problematic behaviours across the research and innovation sector, while supporting organisations to develop effective policies and practices for addressing issues when they do occur.
I start off the morning with an introductory session to a new benefit we’re making available to the Culture Shift team, called YuLife. It provides everything from life insurance to mental health support, exercise and meditation advice and programs, plus perks like discounted cinema tickets.
I’m really pleased to be able to offer this kind of thing to the whole team, as support is one of our core values and one I intend to live by.
I also meet with Sophie Walker today which is super exciting – a British political activist who was the founding leader of the Women’s Equality Party. As a proud feminist myself, she’s a real idol of mine!
We have a lot of shared interests, so it’s great to chat about the potential of working together in the future. In the evening, I sit on one of the panels at the She Has No Limits conference. She Has No Limits is a community of professional women who are determined to help themselves – and each other – to design the career they want and deserve.
My session is all about how allyship can drive changes to employment policy, laws and governance – a topic I’m really passionate about.
As you can tell, I tend to spend the majority of my time in meetings or on phonecalls. Fridays tend to be a little quieter in that respect, so I get to catch up on all the stuff I don’t usually have time to do earlier in the week – fostering relationships with strategic partners, reading news and research to keep my finger on the pulse of issues facing our sectors, checking in with the team, and having individual one-to-ones. And of course, responding to emails!
A couple of days a week, I finish up earlier at around 2:30pm to pick the kids up from school. I usually do that, enjoy some family time, and then get stuck back into some work once they’re asleep.
On Fridays though, I try to spend my whole evening relaxing and winding down for the weekend – it’s not easy to switch off when you’re the CEO of a scaling business, but I do my best during weekends to be present with my family.