Renee Olsen, People Experience Manager APAC
Teaching english and enjoying the wonderful life Italy can offer came to abrupt halt due to COVID. Renee Olsen found herself back in New Zealand and the opportunity to work as the Office and HR Manager at CoGo seemed too good to pass up.
Renee candidly admits that working for a tech company still amuses her due to her sometime fraught relationship with the tech in her life, however it is clear to see that she believes in CoGo's mission of using tech for good and is loving the people she works alongside. Thanks for sharing your story, Renee.
“Hmm probably something like make sure my colleagues always have coffee and snacks and organise cool team parties!”
Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?
Hmm probably something like make sure my colleagues always have coffee and snacks and organise cool team parties!
And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?
Funnily enough, not too dissimilar to what I’d say to the kids!
My job involves the general day-to-day running of our office, CoGo House, the onboarding of new employees and (the BEST part of my role) being CoGo’s ‘Vibe Manager’.
That means looking after the general health and wellbeing of all our CoGoers, planning great staff and supplier events, and getting involved in community charity or volunteer projects. It’s also my job to develop our employee handbook and benefit package to look after our staff in a way that fits with our values.
“I guess something reminiscent of Bridget Jones ‘fannying about with the press releases’ or something!”
What are some of the common misconceptions about working as an Office and HR Manager?
I guess something reminiscent of Bridget Jones ‘fannying about with the press releases’ or something! It’s sometimes super difficult to sum up what I do because sometimes my day is made up of what feels like about 100 different little tasks. The variety is great though!
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?
Absolutely NOT. And in fact, it is a never-ending source of amusement to me that I work for a tech company! I can hardly use my android phone! Obviously my role is more people focused but I absolutely love having the opportunity to learn more about the tech space peripherally and love the way CoGo uses it for good.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at CoGo?
I worked as a Travel Consultant, Novice Trainer and then Team Leader for Flight Centre for 7 years. I absolutely loved it! Especially the company culture and the way the company lived out its values in all its decisions and general management. I then went on to follow a dream and moved to Italy to teach English as a second language.
Again, I loved it! Being able to bond with such a variety of people was invigorating to me. Plus, the cheap wine and food, great weather, and Italian way of life weren’t bad either!
But alas, after Covid took over the world I found myself back in NZ looking for work like so many other kiwis.
What was so great about the opportunity at CoGo as Office and HR Manager was that while it encompassed many of my skills and passions (organisation, people, event planning etc), it also opened up a whole new world to me and I’m really enjoying learning and growing both professionally and personally.
“..it’s a good idea to step up into a new role while you still love your current one (and not at the point where you’re jaded or frustrated in any way).”
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
Probably that it’s a good idea to step up into a new role while you still love your current one (and not at the point where you’re jaded or frustrated in any way). That way, you’ll take your passion and enthusiasm from your current position into the new one.
Luckily CoGo is expanding, so plenty of future opportunities ahead!
What is it specifically that you like about working at CoGo?
Our amazing whānau! The people here are super special and really live out CoGo’s values in their private lives too. And what a variety of personalities we have! I also love that CoGo prioritises the health and wellbeing of its staff. It’s a given that work DOESN’T come first and I love that. Luckily, it’s also my job to research and implement these amazing policies so that’s an extra bonus!
“..people who are positive, enthusiastic, willing to learn and truly believe in the CoGo mission and ethos will have an awesome chance.”
Lastly, CoGo continues to grow and evolve. What kind of candidates do you think CoGo is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?
Have a look at our values. If they are also close to your heart, you’re probably a great fit for CoGo. It’s more important to us to have people who truly believe in using tech for good and will be a good culture fit for us.
We want to keep building upon the amazing team vibe that we already have so people who are positive, enthusiastic, willing to learn and truly believe in the CoGo mission and ethos will have an awesome chance.