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Episode 4: Stefanie Bishop and Tanya Bakalov chat about hybrid work and the work/life balance

Culture Corner - Stefanie Bishop and Tanya Bakalov
HelloTeam is proud to welcome Stefanie Bishop, Head of People at Hi Marley Inc, onto the fourth episode of the Culture Corner Podcast. Stephanie and Tanya have a fantastic conversation discussing the beginnings of their careers and families, important elements of creating company values, and the highs and lows of splitting remote work with in-office work. Listen on Spotify, Amazon Music and more!

Podcast Guide

2:05 – Stefanie speaks about her motherhood and the obstacles it’s brought – “Part of my personal story weaves in here a little bit. And we were pregnant with my second daughter, Nora, who was diagnosed prenatally with Down Syndrome and a heart defect. So we knew things were going to be challenging…. I’m happy to report that Nora was born and she had her heart surgery.”

5:11 – She tells Tanya about how her personal story has changed the way she works as a people leader – “But I think that really has shaped the way that I approach people and our culture. And right when you said that, I was like, ‘Wow, that was really insightful.’ Because I think that is the way that we treat our people, and we want to treat people well. And it’s all about the whole human being…”

7:09 – Tanya discusses the painpoints of maintaining culture in an expanding company – “ And all of a sudden, you’re spread around the world, management doesn’t have as much time to personally and professionally kind of mind, the people when you lose a little bit of that what made you special. So you really have to be very intentional about everything you do, you really have to have very strong values set up from the start.”

9:50 – Stefanie talks about the three core values they hold at Hi Marley, “So our new core set of values are max courage – really taking calculated risks and having courage and bravery to do that. Humility is one – so just having the humility to approach situations with curiosity and listen, like “We’re wrong,” so that we can really understand. And then our last one is Ubuntu, which is “I am, because we are”.

12:27 – She goes on to speak about her preference for in-person communication, “I actually find it harder, in this remote world, because when you’re in the office, and you’re all in one room, and you have each other’s energy that you’re feeding off of, you can talk about something that’s like maybe tough, right? Like, it’s maybe it’s tough news, or whatever it is, and then you can high five or a hug or just recover from emotion. And yes, versus over Zoom. It’s just lies flat, you know, it’s just like you’re talking into the void.”

14:40 – On DEI in hiring, “And again, in this virtual world, I think hiring top talent that is diverse talent is extremely hard. And so we wanted to double down on that and hire somebody that could make sure that we are creating, and then also the equity and making sure all of our policies, processes, the way that we’re approaching things is equitable.”

17:00 – Tanya talks about the issues she’s observed with remote work, “the fear that people have that people are not going to be productive, that’s gone, I think we’ve gone through this, and we know that we could be much more productive. The issue comes with collaboration, creativity, and innovation, it’s very hard to do this when you’re an isolated person. And you don’t have the creativity spark or the innovation spark because you’re not surrounded by people every day.”

17:38 – She continues on hybrid work, “Because if you end up having it that, “certain people can come in certain people don’t come in”, then what happens is that it’s not equitable, because if I’m a working mother, I will not choose to come to the office perhaps… down the line, we’re gonna start seeing that people are not getting promoted the way they should be, because they’re not having the same opportunity to have face to face conversations with their manager.”

20:21 – However, Tanya’s ultimately embraced it – “I was an, I think I will say, office first type of person, I have been at the office every single day from the beginning of my career and have worked in those environments. And now I have become a home office person first. And I have to say, I quite enjoy it. But I do miss seeing the people…”

25:43 – Stefanie answers candidly on whether she used quarantine to pick up new hobbies, “I will be 100% honest and say that I really have not. I struggled, I think I struggled a lot, I didn’t expect to and I have to say that. Like I’m almost embarrassed to say that because I feel really, really fortunate and grateful that like we’ve remained healthy through the pandemic and that we did not experience any hardships. But as far as like my mental health, and my sleep… my sleep was suffering and so I’ve become an avid book reader in the middle of the night.”

28:09 – Stefanie on her favorite books, “Where the Crawdads Sing. Absolutely love that book, and then I loved Untamed by Glennon Doyle, absolutely love Glennon Doyle, and then as far as professional books, I just picked up Atomic Habits, which I haven’t cracked yet. I heard it’s really good. And then “Think Again, by Adam Grant, I love Adam Grant, too.”

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