Ep. 1: Get Hired - with Nadia Edwards-Dashti
Volunteers of the Tech Allies Network, Ryan Clifford and David Sint, talk to Nadia Edwards-Dashti, co-founder and MD of the Harrington Starr FinTech recruitment agency. We talk about how to market yourself to the technology sector and what to ask yourself at key decision points to plan and ensure a successful career. Links:
The Rise in Power of the New Technologist: From Basement to Boardroom
Talent Triangle Explained
From the Tech Allies Network, this is the Tech Allies Podcast, the show helping you to develop and maintain your professional self in the tech sphere.
Ryan, what're we doing today?
Ryan Clifford: So David, I've dragged you out on a rainy day actually because we are going to be talking to Nadia, who is the co-founder and MD of Harrington star. Harrington Starr are a specialist recruitment agency that places technology staff for financial services, but they've also got a sister company called Northstar, which looks at the non-financial sector.
David Sint: ...and what kind of stuff we're going to be talking about today?
Ryan Clifford: We are going to be breaking down and demystifying recruitment. We're looking at everything from hiring, career planning to different scenarios, and what advice Nadia would give to someone in the situation and also just how she set up a business? You know, she's a founder,
David Sint: I think that all sounds really interesting. Here's what's coming up.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: First bit of advice is definitely give it a go. It actually is so nothing to do with someone's CV. And it's so nothing to do with the job description that the hiring managers written, what managers are now starting to see is it's not what you know today. It's what you could learn a no tomorrow. It was developers in the basement. And now they're in boardrooms. Have a vision, have a map have a future. But don't be afraid to scrunch that all up and go in a different direction.
Ryan Clifford: So thank you, Nadia, it's great to have you.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Thank you very much for having me.
Ryan Clifford: I could try and introduce you, but you are women of FinTech power list award nominee, or not even nominee you, you won it, you were on the list. So I'm gonna pass it over to you to explain who you are and what you do
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: ...and what I do, of course, yeah, and thank you. That's really nice intro to say I could try but you know, couldn't I really appreciate that. I like to describe myself as a recruiter, because my heart and soul is within recruitment. I am now a founder of a recruitment agency, a co founder and now an MD. I've worked within recruitment for the last 16 years. But realistically what that means to me is that I have been in and around technology and financial services technology. for 16 years, I've been helping people, find new jobs, get promoted, get chosen for the best projects, impress their managers, get hired, you could name, yeah you can name it. I've been helping people really progresse themselves in their career over the last 16 years, and I've moved myself into being a position of vast visibility now, because Harrington Starr the company I co-founded, we're now 70 people large in the UK and in New York. And what that means is I get to see so much of the financial services technology industry via the recruitment sector. I hope that gives you a good intro as to who I am what I do.
Ryan Clifford: we've got lots of talk about, I'm gonna break it down with starting with hiring because you kind of coined a phrase or framework called The Talent Triangle. So could you sum up what is the talent triangle?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, absolutely. I'll give you a full background what the talent triangle is. So, as I said, I've worked in recruitment for many, many years. And one of the things I am uber uber passionate about, is about helping people progress in their careers. I don't like the thought that people assume that recruitment is recruiters just handing a CV over to a hiring manager and going, Oh, I hope you like that. And if they don't, that's the end of the story. What I like is and what I promote for Harrington Atar and our North Starr subsidiary is for us to, and for me to train our consultants to meet every single candidate, understand what that candidate wants and more importantly, understand what that candidates potential is. So no, this is a long way around explaining what talent triangle is, I will get there, I promise. But essentially, if you have all of us recruiters out there, really fighting for our candidates standing up for their potential and going to hiring managers and saying wait, you cannot expect to hire somebody of the exact skill set that you're looking for and that person to feel invested in and that person to feel like they can be loyal to the business and trust the business. You cannot expect that unless you work backwards and you work to help and support that candidate. So in short, talent triangle is about us as recruiters trying to persuade hiring managers to invest in talent and help them progress within their careers by joining a company and not hiring people for having a b c d skill set. But instead hiring someone for a b and c skill set and teaching them d e or f. And if we can all as hiring managers commit to training people investing in people seeing their potential. I think that's going to have such a wonderful outcome for the whole of the UK economy. And I'm really passionate about that. And I called that the talent triangle and how you can invest in people as they progress throughout their career.
Ryan Clifford: You have some great articals that actually visualise the triangles as well,
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: He's doing the triangle handshape right now, everyone! But yeah, I'll definitely post that when you post this podcast, I'll post them out so you can visualise what I mean by hiring people with an ABC skill set. And you investing in them to give them d, e, f, g, h, i, j, you know, I'm really, I'm really passionate about that. And as a recruiter, I think that I've worked really hard over the last 16 years, but I've now positioned myself to be able to meet thousands of hiring managers and say, it isn't just about what's on someone's CV, and that and this is always my quote, quote of everything I do now in recruitment. It actually is so nothing to do with someone's CV. And it's so nothing to do with the job description that the hiring managers written. In fact, it's about the hiring manager, the team, the company, their vision, their purpose, their culture, and then it's about the person, their potential their passion their... I nearly swore then, which I won't do. But there's something there, we coined this phrase in our business, and it's how much someone cares. And anyone that's heard me say the something something factor, you know, the X Factor, let's say, you know, and if someone really, really gives that X Factor, then they are, then I believe they should be invested in because if someone cares, and if someone's passionate, Do you know what, I want to train them, and I want to invest in them. And I think hiring managers should too.
Ryan Clifford: So Harrington Starr Northstarr focuses on technology specifically, what are the up and coming skills that you see both happening in the technology industry and more hiring managers want, and how do we make sure that we have the right skills to be hired into tech.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, that we're exhibiting that so what's really great to see is learning and itself as a skill. Now 15 years ago when I first or 16, when I first started in recruitment, people did just look for your skill in Java or your skill in C++ or your business analysis skills or whatever. Whereas actually now I think people have been much more realistic that technology is changing at such exponential rates even faster than Moore's Law ever predicted. And that's great and that's brilliant to watch. But what managers are now starting to see is it's not what you know, today, it's what you could learn and know tomorrow. So it's your adaptability, your agility, your ability to be able to learn off other people to communicate with others and act as a sponge. And I know that sounds like a soft skill set, but I actually think and see and I've seen it lots with the hiring managers we deal with that that's actually a hardcore skill set that is key to somebody really building a great career for themselves.
Ryan Clifford: So just a scenario say, if I'm a developer, doing x years in certain language and there's this role with a cool company that's using a new technology that I've no experience in, but I know Java, for example, how would you, What advice would you give me to say okay Ryan, you can go for this. Here's how you frame yourself.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah. So the first bit of advice is definitely give it a go. Right. So I'm massively passionate about just try, just see where it could take you I think there's too many people in, in in the recruitment world and in life that are thinking, Oh, no, I better not give that a go, I may fail. No, give it a chance. because realistically, Java is a great example. Actually, the connections that Java has to so many other things, gives you a certain mindset and gives you a foundation of process that you would have either been taught university or on how you're coding right now. So actually, it's about how you communicate that within within the business. What I would say on the other side of that is you want to have a recruiter not wanting to pitch Harrington Starr too much, but you want to have a recruiter that's going to stand up for you. Because let's be for-real probably your your CV. Let's say the example is Java moving into one of the new one of the new sexy front end stuff that they have at the moment. A version of Angular JS, let's say one of their new versions. So you've been a full stack, Java developer, let's say and you want to move into something much more front end focused, you've only really seen Angular before and you want to learn that, let's be for real, your profile is probably going to be compared with someone who's done AngularJS for the last six months, or, or has a project that they can prove, this is what I've done. The most beautiful thing about technology, is you can get a load of stuff done at home. So one of my favourite ever placements, so I won't say his name for GDPR reasons, but he will know who he is. I placed him at a peer to peer lending company and think about how many people I've placed over the years, like thousands, but this guy really stands out for me and it was years ago, and he was a Java developer and he was trying to get into a newer version of of a particular technology and him and three mates they'd meet at Tottenham Court Road every Tuesday night, now he'll know I'm definitely talking about him. And they were building an app. That was actually like a car parking app. But they were doing this in their free time. When he went and interviewed, he could show, this is what I do. This is what I've done. And you know what we kind of do this for fun. Like, this is what we're really passionate about this what we're interested in. And of course, the guy got snapped up. And he'll always be my favourite placement because I'm a non techie. And this techie was able to explain techie stuff to me a non techie my degrees were not in technology. They're in history and international relations. So like, you couldn't be further away from Tech. But he was able to teach me exactly how he built this app. I couldn't repeat it now, but at the time I could have, and to me that really exhibits a perfect example of if you want to go for something, go for it, but also help the hiring manager choose you. Really make sure that it's not just your CV getting paired compared to somebody else's CV, but you are showing who you are as a person through that.
David Sint: At what point does somebody pick a recruiter and say, I'm interested because if if I'm a Java developer...
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Who would you go to, yeah?
David Sint: Do I, do people come to you and ask, I'm a Java developer, I have no idea what to do. I don't have any experience. I want to go into front end, I want to work an Angular JS or a web framework like that. And then you give them advice and they should go at that point. Or do they come into you before they even think about moving job, they just want to touch base and let you know who they are.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: So people can always come to us. I think that's the first thing I should say. They should and they should always come to us. I really love people to just call us up and ask for advice because we don't commercialise that. We are recruiters that are here to help. But there is no charge for a lot of things that other agencies will charge for, like I don't charge for CV tailoring services. If you want to come in, I mean, good luck to you for fitting into my diary. But if you want to come in and want me to do some training sessions on interviews, I'll do that too. So to answer your question directly, we have people that get in contact with us when they're looking, but what they're looking for is what roles do you have and and that's the sort of That's the sort of traditional recruitment service that people are after, but we do the untraditional stuff as well. Whereas before they even thought about starting to look, we're introducing ourselves to them. We're headhunting and not headhunting necessarily for a role but headhunting say, hiya, I'm a Java recruit recruitment specialist agency. We want to talk to you what stuff that interests you, like, my consultants at the moment are going out there asking "if you're going to read a blog and your Java developer, what you're going to read, what you like to read, what interests you, what information on the market, can we give you", aside from your traditional salary surveys, interview guides, things like that online testing, we, we show everyone all the different versions of that and just help them present themselves in the best way through that. And but we're getting some really good, good feedback from some of the conversations. So one of the team leads, he recently posted something on LinkedIn that's had over 35,000 views 45,000 likes, it is ridiculous. And it's just a cartoon of the Pink Panther cutting, cutting a tree. And the quote above it says, "when you delete a bit of code that you thought did nothing", and the Pink Panther cuts the tree, and the whole, the whole bottom part of the cartoon drops out. And he's like, actually maybe that code did do something, but that really obviously ignited a passion in coders minds. But that's the sort of stuff that we want to talk to people about. You know, how can we help in the bigger picture. Does that answer that question?
David Sint: So get in early, when you develop the skills? At that point.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah. And we can give, we can give tailored, tailored advice to your situation, you as an individual, what goals you particularly have, that's what we should be doing. And actually that's what the whole recruitment industry should be doing. It shouldn't just be "is your CV right for this role" it's much bigger than that. It's not just this one role. It's your career and we want to be involved in that.
Ryan Clifford: So something that sparked a lightbulb in my head, when you was giving that example of the guy who met up on Tuesday to work on a project is historically (I'm massively over stereotyping here but) you'd have a computer scientist developer who couldn't speak to anyone but could write great code. Now you're getting people who can develop great, and also talk really well and present. How do you compete in that market? How do I stand out?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, yeah, that's a great question. I think that there's the power of the individual. Look, I what I don't want to do is sit here saying that every developer must become the best presenter in the world. Everyone's unique. Everyone's different and everyone's skills can be stretched in certain areas. Now, yes, there are roles out there and there are people out there that are doing incredibly well because they can code beautifully, cleanly complexly, as well as stand there and go, Wow, listen to this idea. And my god, they're engaging the audience, and that's brilliant, but not everyone's going to be able to have both sides of that coin. I definitely think that if it's something that's in your heart that you think I wish I could do better in this area, there's things that you can do to challenge yourself. And really simply just go out there and start doing it. Like, like start talking to three people in your team saying, hey, I've got this new idea and you may be nervous inside thinking, ooh, I don't know if I can, I can communicate this properly, but give it a go. And I think it starts, the give it a go factor, it starts there a lot of the time. But at the same time, in the world of tech at the moment, yes, there are such a plethora of new roles now. And these roles are coming out of the woodwork because there's so many parts of technology that's fascinating that is all to do with communication nowadays. And you're right 10 years ago, it was developers in the basement, and now they're in boardrooms and I wrote an article entitled, from basement to boardroom, about developers and how the world's world has changed but what I don't want to do is sit here going every developer must be able to stand up in front of a million people. No, I think. There's some amazing developers that we place that really stand for clean code, let's say, or excellent documentation through bit of chat with someone that you sit near. And actually that's moving the world forward as well. What I wouldn't want to do is sit here and say, This is how you have to become... and that to feel unobtainable for some excellent coders that are out there. I think it's important that you know, what your skill set is what your goals are your personal goals, What's your purpose day in, day out? And you know what be inspired by that guy, Mr. Perfect. Let's see what we can we can do in terms of trying to assimilate and be a little bit like that. But we also have to understand the power of who we are being unique.
Ryan Clifford: It's bringing your own authenticity and passion to it, which I think is key. When have you seeing hiring go wrong and when have you seen it gone? Right? And why? Horror stories here!
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Horror stories! So hiring going wrong, so if anybody listening to this is interested in working in recruitment, just so that you know, it is probably the like, you've got to be so resilient because 99% of what you do does go wrong, but you have to treat it like the 1% that's going to go right. i.e. every candidate that you put put into an interview process, you've got to train them in that process, you've got to help them with their CV, you've got to behave as if you're 100% believe they're going to get the job. But at the same time, be aware of what problems could could hit that individually along the way. And also you're dealing with humans, so you know, a hell of a lot can go wrong. Horror stories wise, do you want interviews that have gone wrong like my worst interview stories, that people that have gone wrong? Okay, you'd be surprised. But we've had quite senior people go into interviews and chew gum and blow a bubble, like no joke. Ridiculous. I've had someone sitting in an interview and the managers asked him a question and he's gone. "Oh, isn't that Mansion House station over there?". Oh, so you're really committed to this interview process. I've had someone that forced me to persuade the HR lady to go in early to give him a technical test eight o'clock, eight o'clock in the morning so she went in early and did that he took he was 45 minutes late start with he took one look at the test that I can't do that and walked out. Excellent. Never to be heard of ever again. So there are there are some poor poor behaviour people out there. And but in terms of when things have gone really, right, I've had people screw up that technical test and then sit there and go, I'd like to speak to to the person that's just marked that and explain to them where I struggled. That's a great bit of advice I'd like to give to the people that are listening today. Like I always talk about owning your mistakes and especially in technology, being aware that it's impossible to know everything and it's okay that you don't know everything. I think we've got to kind of educate both sides educate our managers that Mr. or Miss Perfect or Mrs. Perfect does not exist. It's about us making our people perfect for the role once they're here and once they're in there. And I think that if people take some stress off the interview the interview process itself and can say, "Hey, you know, I messed up just then I said this when I should have said that", or you know, "I don't know the answer to that but I'll tell you what, give me 10 minutes and a computer, and I will have that set". And I think in terms of the good stories, I've had people take my advice and do that and do really well. I've had people take my advice when they've gone into a into an interview. And poor things have gone through like four hours in one go. And at the end, they still remember to say thank you for your time. This is why I love the job. I'd love it if you could give me the opportunity of working here and through pure passion and just being a really nice person. They've ended up getting the job. I've had other people, one guy in particular, years ago, he didn't realise but the lady on reception was the wife of not the CEO, I think it's was like the CFO, so, the chief financial officer. And he went in there and he was just a really like, thoroughly decent guy. And she came she sat him down. And she said, Oh, would you like anything to drink and he went, oh God I'd really like some water, I'm pretty nervous and they ended up having a chat. At the end of the day, there were four people that were getting considered and two right at the end, it was going to be the guy that I was representing or a different person. And as they were all the C-level staff were debating who should they put this offer out to, the CFO's wife happened to be walking past and she said, "Oh, not that, you know, I interviewed him, but I kind of did 'cos I sat him down for 15 minutes. And I think that culturally, this is someone that we should be having in our business, personality, wise friendliness, the fact that he was humble and he said to me with it, Not thinking anyone was listening how important this is to him. I think you take it seriously. I think we should go with him." And isn't that a beautiful story? They went with that guy because of what she said. And then normally when people tell you stories like that, they tell you about how awfully the receptionist was true was treated. But I like to think think about things a bit more positively. How can we bring good to situations, it's not just about highlighting the bad.
Ryan Clifford: And that reminds me of what we spoke about a couple weeks ago, actually at an event, where if you don't get the culture, right, and who you're hiring at the beginning, as soon as you start to grow rapidly, that's when it can go wrong. So is there a difference when you say a small startup who's just starting up in who you're hiring, compared to I'm in that growth stage, and hiring or I'm an established company now and I still need to hire. Do you have different types of recruitment? Do you look for different types of people, depending on what stage you're at?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, I think that generally what I've seen because we love to partner with startups as they're, as they're growing and support them in their growth and, and as we've what we've seen over the years is that the startup culture is very much -- get involved -- and get involved with everything. And there are just some people out there that they don't want to there are certain people who are like, this is the box that I'm in is the box that I will be in. And this is what I will do. And this is what I can bring, bring to the day. Where there's other people who don't want to be in a box, they want to be outside the box all the time getting involved in everything and, and they have a massive, they have a feel good factor of helping out and getting involved in, you know, washing the dishes, for example. So at Harrington Star, we call it sweeping the sheds, and it's actually a phrase that comes from the Rugby team, the All Blacks, and they have a they have a mantra that everyone must sweep the sheds at the end of the at the end of the day. And that mantra is basically you could be the CEO, the CTO, or the newest member of staff. And if there's, if there's mess or something needs to be fixed, we all get involved because no one's too big for the company. And I think in startup phase, that's a beautiful, a beautiful thing. I think a lot of companies struggle to keep with that as they grow, because once you hit 200, 250, there are different challenges. And those challenges aren't about who's got the, you know, who's got the best idea that we can all jump on immediately. But instead, there's 250 people and maybe it's the focus is now about people management, and staff retention, and making sure that everyone even knows what the vision is, and knows what the purpose is because that's what happens when you're 250 people, if you do a survey on any company of 250 people and said, right, what's the what's this company's vision? What's their purpose, what they know the answer? Whereas when you were a startup, everyone would and everyone gets up in the morning to go there. So of course, it's very different people for each of those different types of firms. So I think it's just about identifying, you know, when it comes to hiring and in each of these businesses identifying what they actually want and what type of person they want, and which type would do better within each environment. Because don't forget the people in the startup environment they'd feel totally claustrophobic being surrounded by 250 people and talking about them not knowing the vision they'd be like "How the hell do you not know the vision of where you work?" It would frustrate them. So I'm culturally I think that there are differences and it's about identifying them.
Ryan Clifford: Kind of moving topics now. Career Planning and career mapping. Do you believe in it? Because some people say you can't map your career every step. What's your thoughts on that whole mapping out what you want to do career wise and your aspirations?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: So I promise I'm not sitting on the fence when I say this, I promise and I'll, I'll kind of I'll bat the corner for both of the both answers yes and no. So yes, I believe in it because I have a very a very strict rule when we first introduce ourselves to candidates, there are a number of things that we must talk to them about. And before any candidate is sent to a client we'll have spoken to them three or four times, and most of the time will have met them. And within those conversations, we will say, Where do you want to be in 2,3,4 years time? What are your future goals? What what's your vision for yourself? And that is a MUST question. So there's no way I can sit here and go, nah, I think it's all a load of tut. You know, I have to, of course, I believe in it. But I think I think it's really important to have a goal to have a vision to have something you're aiming for. But at the same time, if something comes in and sidelines you, perhaps a new opportunity, perhaps completely new technology, or a new way of thinking or a new firm, whatever opportunity presents itself to you. It's okay to pause and go, "Do I need to go and become a technical architect like I thought I wanted to five years ago instead actually, I could become the Chief Innovation Officer at a new startup over here". And it's, you know, both roles completely different but actually still progressing and moving forward. So I know that's a bit vague 'cos I'm saying yes and no. No, I'm not - I think I'm saying, Yes, have a vision, have a map, have a future. But don't be afraid to, you know, scrunch that all up and go in a different direction. If and when it presents itself.
Ryan Clifford: So the question of where do you see yourself in five years, is the one that I use whenever I meet someone's other half, and they want me to like approve them? I always throw that out there as a joke. Just to say how they react. Another one is, this isn't romantic advice. But I'd be like: "What's your intention with my friend?"
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Oh, I've done that before I got into trouble when I've asked someone that.
David Sint: *In disbelief* You really interview your friend's other halves?
Ryan Clifford: Oh, yeah. I did it this weekend. They wanted an answer. And I said "I'll send you the report. I send I'll let you know if he or she's okay." And it's quite funny. Anyway, I diverged. So, on the topic of being ready for if some new opportunity opportunity comes about. How do you kind of make the decision? Is there a question that you would recommend people to ask themselves? When figuring out should I take this opportunity I've never even thought about before.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: So you mean like if someone's in a good job right now and then end up another opportunity presents itself? Should I make that leap? If there's one ques-, I don't think there is just one question. I and there's a number of questions. So I'll kind of I'll take you through the questions that I train our recruiters to ask people. So one thing that I really don't like is when someone makes an emotional decision for their career, because one of the rules that I always say is that it's our responsibility as recruiters to ask someone how impassioned they feel about a job when they leave that interview, that final interview, but then we should speak to them again in 24 hours, and if that passion has died out, well, what's actually left? Because our responsibility isn't just to get someone to take a job that they're going to stick with for a month, I need to make sure that they're going to be able to survive the difficult Monday mornings, or the Tuesday afternoons where their boss has just had a go at them. Like it's about longevity rather than just a flippant, "Oh I really like it." You know, and I always equate like your new permanent job as it's like a marriage, you know, it's a relationship you're gonna be in work longer than you will be at home, but you better get on with the person that's that you sit next to or at least respect them and feel you can learn something from them. So I think I ask a lot of questions that people should ask themselves and sometimes it goes really basic to if you are changing career slightly or path slightly, is that going to reflect on the money and you take in a monetary drop? Because if you are, you need to make sure you can still pay your rent and your mortgage. So just like simply survival. But more importantly than that, I like to take people through a process where they have to ask themselves technology wise, how much does this interest you? And what you like about the technology that they have today? Right? And it's, I note, I said before technology changes per second, but can you actually do that job they've asked of you to do? Can you do that today? And will you be interested by it? And because a lot of people take a job where that part of it, they'll put up with it for what it gives them elsewhere. And all of this is a weighing up situation. So you got to weigh up. Is that is that tech interesting? The opportunity that's in front of me, for me, and where my career could go, how, how good is that opportunity? How much am I involved in that? Am I proud, would I be proud to go and tell my parents that would I be proud to go and tell my my friends and an extended family? Oh this is what I do now and they're into it? You know, these are all things to consider. The company itself. How how much the remuneration? Is that something that's in line? Is there is a chances for learning. Will you be invested in? what do you think of the people? What do you think of the projects? So there's, there's a whole load, I probably says about 15 questions. And I couldn't just give one because I think it's all a balance it isn't just a "Well, they're giving me 100 grand, so I better take that job" because if it's a rubbish job, and will do nothing for you, you may go, yeah, I take that, no, you're wouldn't, 'cos in 3 months time you'd be back at your old 35 grand job that you actually love. And that's the reality of life. So it's our responsibility as recruiters to help people understand all the questions that they should ask themselves. And what we do or what I can get the guys to do in the office is to write it all down from day one, when they discuss when they meet their candidate. What are you looking for? What are your long term goals? And then when they come out of this final interview, they'll be pages and pages of notes. They've asked it a million times, and at the end, they go right so now what you think, like tell me, how did you go on with that manager? What about that project? What about the future projects there? How involved in this would you be? How excited are you? Who's the first person you're going to call to say you've got that job? You know? And and that tells you like who they want to go and show off to or, or who they need approval from. And this is all really important for making a good long term decision that will stick and recruitment - so many things don't stick because people are persuaded into jobs that never should have been persuaded into. So my thoughts on it is it's my responsibility and our responsibility as Harrington Starr to help people make the right decision because they've questioned as much as possible around it.
David Sint: You said beforehand that you shouldn't make emotional decisions about business. What happens if someone's in a comfortable job, they're happy with where they're at? They've got a great team. They like who they're working with. They like the management. But everything's too comfortable, and they're ambitious, would you recommend to move?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: I love that. That's a really good question. So just one thing first sorry, so people listening to this, they probably they probably don't know me, right? So I can say don't make emotional decisions in business. Because I know the two of you sitting here you probably can see from who I am. I'm highly emotional, I get very excited, I can get very deflated. And it's something that I work on day in day out to try and be as commercial and I don't really want to say middle of the road. See, that's my whole thoughts on emotion already, but I try and I try and be quite clear with, "am I making the right decision? Because I'm excited. I'm making the right decision because it's the right decision." So I think emotion is important, but don't be led too much by it. But to answer your question, and we see that a lot, that people are comfortable in their job, and they're scared to go into a discomfort zone, and they're scared to leave what they know, like the back of their hand. And actually, that is the majority of the reasons why we have people accept counter offers, because they're too scared to actually make the plunge and make the move. And the most interesting thing about counter offers, just to kind of explain, we see it all the time. Someone goes, hands in their notice to their boss, their boss says "no, please stay. We love you so much. Don't you remember, we used to go and have coffee at that coffee shop every Monday. Let's go and do that again. Let me buy you lunch this Friday" and bada bing bada boom, they've decided to stay with the promise of a much better role in the promise of more money. And, of course, none of this comes to fruition. So that's your typical counteroffer. But realistically, when that happens, 90% of the people that it happens to and if you google this anywhere, it's not just us as a recruitment agency that sees this, it's the whole world. 90% of those people will be back on the market within six months calling me saying "Hey, is that role still live" No! because the manager put an offer to you and you said, "No I'm staying with my current manager." So I think it's really important for people to look at the question you asked. "I'm comfortable here. I'm really happy here. I say hi to the receptionist downstairs, I've got my favourite sandwich shop. I know this code like the back of my hand. I could I could literally probably get my whole day done in two hours or less, if I really put my mind to it." That means you're comfy, that means you're not stepping forward and you're not stepping up in your career. That's really hard to admit. And that's a certain part of recruitment as well that I try and bring to it. It's so important that I try and help people understand how much further they can go if they really want to. And it's the really want to bit for me personally, I can say it, because when we set up Harrington Star, I was in a great job at a competitor that does incredibly well. And they were absolutely lovely people, they had a great business strategy. And I would have done really well if I'd stayed there. This was a massive step out of my comfort zone. And I'm so glad that I ended up doing it and it was a bit of a windy road for me to get here. But by doing it I've now progressed my my career so that I can, I can say I'm a co -founder and what I've learned from co-founding a business is way more than I ever would have. But it's been hard, and being an MD of a business and now jointly with my other MD James Hounslow, running a team of 70 people, did I ever think that I was capable of doing that? No. But if I'd stayed in my comfortable job where I knew the managers and I knew what I was doing and all that, I'd probably still be at that level right now. So it's a choice that we have to make and that choice is a hard one. Because it's not just black and white make a choice and got that stick with it, isn't as easy as that. It's talk to people about it, talk to your recruiter about it. And most of all talk to yourself about it.
Ryan Clifford: It actually reminds me of something that David Sint says, which is "Comfort and growth cannot coexist."
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, lovely quote.
Ryan Clifford: You said that to me, a couple years ago, and it stuck with me.
David Sint: I think it's something originally from the CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty, I think.
Ryan Clifford: Best quotes are stolen. Another one which someone told me was on that line of emotion, is "Don't make permanent decisions based off a temporary feelings." I love that. She probably stole it from someone else, but...
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, So in the the book of the samurai, hagakure, so I read that years ago and there's a few bits that really stuck with me. And one is you do make decisions within seven breaths. So a lot of us we overcomplicate the decisions that we're making, but realistically, if you just *blows out twice* what do I really want, and if you've had enough support throughout the whole, let's say, interview process, anyone should make a decision within seven breaths if you've given them all the information. So I'm massively passionate about that.
Ryan Clifford: So you mentioned a bit around your journey towards setting up your own business in Harrington Star. What is that journey? What made you kind of go You know what, I'm gonna leave my job where I could easily stay here for a bit. Do well, and the company will do well, and that's how I'm gonna take that leap.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: So I think for me, the real crux of it was I have I've got loads of ideas, and I like to put things into place and implement them and I feel that recruitments a responsibility to those around me. So like, I feel that I'm responsible for the people that join our business. I always felt that I was responsible to the candidates that I was representing and responsible for how well they were doing, which a lot of people said, don't be so silly. Like you're just the recruiter, how are you responsible for them doing well in an interview. But I felt that I needed to give them as much help as I possibly could do. And it wouldn't be fair if I didn't meet up with them beforehand, if I didn't do practice questions with them beforehand, if I didn't make sure they understood the the job spec, like the back of their hand. But at the same time I saw as a responsibility to the client. So when we when we set up a large part of that was for me to be able to take that responsibility and put it into action. I think some more traditional type companies having those ideas and wanting to make them happen. There's too much red tape. So you know, people within financial services technology right now they will know if you work for a startup and you have an idea. You're CEO or CTO is probably sitting on the floor with you. And you can go "Hey, Bob". I don't know why it was called everyone Bob. It's like my favourite name. I don't know why. But "Hey, Bob. I've got this idea can we implement it?" Brilliant. Right but if you work for, I didn't know, I won't mention any names but like you know a banking corporate, when ever are you going to get to Bob, you'll never get to him or her, you know the proverbial 'her', you just won't. And you can ask your manager you can ask this you can ask that. So I think for me, erm I probably was, especially back then and probably still now, the archetypal sort of startup person where I wanted to get things done. And my CEO, Toby, his example of this, which I think is great. When we first set up the business one of his first jobs was to get this disgusting fridge from the basement of this awful building that we'd that we were we were living not living in. We had put the company in at the time and he got this all for disgusting fridge and he had to clear it out. Because it was the only thing that we would have so that we could put our milk in it for our tea. This is sort of nine years ago back in the June 2010. And then I remember walking in one morning at 7:30 going "Oh my god, what is that smell?" There's Toby's taken his suit jacket off, and he's cleaning it all out. And he went "This is me CEO of my business". So it's quite a nice story of like, you just got to get on with it.
Ryan Clifford: And how did you meet your other co-founders, it's so important, you...
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: So important. So Toby, I'd worked with him in the past. And I'd also worked with James Hounslow in the past. So back in 2005. It was November, I had my first day ever in recruitment, and it was a week after my birthday, so must have been sort of like November the 20 something right? James Hounslow, my fellow MD now, he celebrated doing three deals. So in recruitment, a deal is a placement. So he'd done three placements and what we did back then was hit a gong, you know, it was quite old school type stuff. But, fun, right? And I remember thinking, wow, who's this guy who's done three placements today. And actually, he'd only started in recruitment three months before. No, our business is quite a big business back then. And he worked on one side and I worked on the other. And we never really spoke, we didn't really know each other. We never spoke because of how large that business was at the time. But what I think's really interesting is back then we didn't have the mobile's we have now you know, and and you didn't have systems that you could log in from home. So if you wanted to do any additional work, you had to stay late. And you had to come in at the weekend, if you want to do anything on a Saturday. So for my entire first year, on Saturdays, I would be found in that office, not all day, but for a couple of hours. And the other person that I'd bump into every now and again, would be James. The same thing happened at my second company, which was Badenoch and Clark, that really nice company I told you about. Now once I got to Badenoch and Clark I didn't have to go in every Saturday because by then we had Blackberries, you could do a bit of stuff on, so I used to write adverts and things like that. But um, but I did a lot of extra hour stuff and the interesting thing is, of room 65 people. So did James, and all these years later, we ended up starting something up together. And again, I think that's that X Factor that we spoke about earlier. Like, if you really care about something, you'll make it happen. And we both in our own ways, really cared about our careers. And now we are, and we work very, very closely together to get everybody in this business to get better every day, which I've told you is my hashtag, #GetBetterEveryDay.
Ryan Clifford: Was there one moment where it was between you and James, were you went "That's it. We're doing this. It's an idea, but we're gonna do it."
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah. So the idea, it came from lots of different places. So Toby who's our CEO. He wanted to start up, we didn't know it was gonna be called Harrington Starr then, like we took us - the hardest thing about starting up was choosing the name - but we knew we wanted to star with a double R because we're massively impassioned by Vince Lombardi. He was a coach for the Green Bay Packers. And he's written loads and loads of books on business and leadership. And his story is a fantastic story. I'm surprised they haven't done it. It's like a Disney movie. You know, like when they do those Disney sports movies when when a team like get turns around within a season. But Vince Lombardi was their coach and his MVP, his most valuable player was a Bart Starr and that's where the starr comes from. And that's why it's a double R, but the click moment for us was we want to do we want to do recruitment well, and we think we can do the basics better, because we really, really care and that's how that's how we came together to start the business.
Ryan Clifford: What has been your hardest things to learn when actually starting your own business? Because working for one, yes, very different to "Okay, now, this is my Business. If don't do this, then it won't get done."
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: The hardest thing for me and I think James and Toby would would probably agree for them as well is I had to really learn about myself and, and then I had to really work on my own mental toughness. So I talk a lot about mindset and stretch mindset and always learning and not being too arrogant that you can't learn from somebody. I'm not saying I was ever arrogant, but I found it very difficult to be criticised. And I wasn't mentally strong at all. And I think when we started up this business, there was nowhere to hide, there was nowhere to go. And if this was to fail, like we'd all be screwed. So, like, there was no choice and I think that actually was the best thing that ever happened to me because I couldn't, I couldn't be mentally weak. I had to work on my mental toughness. I had to take constructive criticism, I had to turn that round and deal with it really quickly and action it really quickly and that's been brilliant for me. In terms of my own personal progression, and of course, the business, so I think the biggest learning for me was about myself.
David Sint: How did you manage to do that? What was your technique?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: *Laughs* Like literally ah, there's no point? No, I have to be very honest with this... I mean, there were tears, like I'm not going to say it was easy. Like I've been known to have to: "Oh excuse me please", and I've had to, like, get out of the situation and take deep breaths in the toilet. But you know what, I will say what I said before about, like, getting better at presenting I'm a massive believer in do the stuff that you're afraid of. I say that a lot. Like, I'm afraid of someone telling me that I've done something wrong. So d'you know what I do the minute we stop this podcast, I'm going to say right, what could I have done to have been a better person on your podcast? Because like that's me kind of taking control. Because if we just shut this podcast down you was like, "you you should have done this, or you shouldn't have done that". I don't like, I think I would take it well cos I've worked really hard on that. But I know I'll take it better If I invite it. And that's me learning myself and taking control of what I don't think I'm good at. And then and also being so open with weaknesses. So I'm actually talking about it really openly. I've spent years to train myself to do that. Because I think that if you're open about your weaknesses, you can make them your strengths, and actually what is a weakness, we've all got something that we're not perfect at and it's okay to, to admit it. But even more so I've got very black and white weaknesses in my past about recruitment. So there's something we talked about all the time in recruitment, objection handling, so old school recruitment, you've got a cold call, and everyone listening, you've heard it from the other side like "Oh, God, another cold caller again". Imagine if your job is cold calling, right? So like I used to have to get get on the phone and I have to pitch a financial services companies, let's say a couple of vendors who are building risk systems and say I've got a C++ developer. "I'd love to talk to you about them" and you'd get a no, no, no, probably 100 times, but one in 100 you convert. Let's be for real, I'll be more clear on that, one in twenty, you'd convert, that's still hard. That's still 19 that are going to probably be quite aggressive in their no to you. And even if you do get them talking, they've got that you know, that voice when they're trying to get off the phone. "Okay then Bye Bye." "Oh, okay. So you want me off the phone then, lovely", You know, and that was not my strength, but I turned that into a strength. And then one of the greatest things is I've got a notes on my 2006 yearly appraisal, which is so good because all weaknesses are now everything that everyone in the business would say I stand for as my strengths. So I'm all about how you handle objections, how you add value to people and every call how you remember, the person every cold call pitch is you talking to a person, it's not just a one in 20 to convert, it's a person that you better be adding value to or you don't deserve to be getting them to say yeah, I'll work with you. Every person that goes into an interview is a person who's probably nervous about the interview, and it's my job to help them. All of these things were things that I wasn't very good at, because I was too panicky or nervous or whatever. And now everyone, that's what I that's what I stand for. So, that is so exciting to me. Because I think if I can tell people that story, it means that people can learn from their own weaknesses, whatever you think you can't do whatever you think, whatever someone's told you, you can't do, rubbish. Of course you can if you put your mind to it. So I think that's really important.
David Sint: Does that mean that you should perhaps even tell your managers about your weaknesses, because then they'd be able to see, well, I can see that really trying hard in that area. And that's something I'm impressed with. Or is that actually really dangerous and you don't want to tell your manager that?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Do you know what, I think in a perfect world you would, you'd be able to go, "Hey, this is something I'm not very good at. I'd like some help here, please", or "this time working on it". But I do think that I can't talk for every hiring manager out there in the city or beyond. But there will be some people that hearing your weaknesses won't want to help you with it, but will want to abuse it. So I think there has to be a level of responsibility for me here to say, look you be aware of it, you make sure that you identify who you want to share that with. But the operative word is always this is what I'm doing about it. This is how I am going to fix this. But I don't know whether you necessarily need to go, "Right everyone, I'm not very good at this, this, this and this." But I can, now that I know that I'm better at, let's say, talking. So I used to be terrible at going and talking in front of people, honestly, like I'd get cracks in my voice and I get that every now and again now. So I did a talk in Amsterdam, and it was great 'cos I had a room of like 100 people and it was brilliant. But my God, I was so nervous, and my voice cracked. And I thought "wow, that hasn't happened to me in about five years." Because I've worked so hard at my public speaking. But I can talk about it now because I've overcome it. Whereas if I was still in it, then I don't know whether I'd want to share it because I don't need everyone watching my journey of training myself. I'd much prefer "This is how I did it." If that makes sense, I just don't be put to put too much pressure on themselves.
Ryan Clifford: It's also quite nice that you can look back and say, "you know what hasn't happened in five years, look at how far I've grown in that space." And acknowledging it happens every now and again, but, it's not a big thing.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: And I handled it greatly, like I went, *clears throat* "Sorry about that", and then carried on. Whereas before or five years ago, when that happened, I would almost want to faint. "I've made a mistake!". But you know, we're all people.
Ryan Clifford: Someone once told me, strive for excellence, not perfection.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, absolutely.
Ryan Clifford: So let's talk a bit briefly about how you expanded to non-financial services with Northstarr which covers commerce, digital and media. Where did that come about?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: So throughout all of this, I hope I've come across to really show how I think that in recruitment and in technology recruitment, it's really important that we put that candidate first what the person wants, what they need, and we help them get to that. Look, 16 years ago, when I first started in recruitment, if I wanted to get somebody a good job, notably, it would be within financial services. Because back then there was a huge rift, it was always, this is what the tech does in the company. And this is what the business does. The Tech is separate they're in the basement, they are away from everybody else. They don't speak to everyone else. It's almost like tech was an add-on to the business. In today's world, tech IS the business there is no business that no business out there could do anything without technology, technology is the core. And like there isn't there isn't anything more impressive. In the last, I don't know how many years of history of how technology has positioned itself as central to almost everything and I love that. But what what it's done for recruitment is that when I used to talk to developers about roles within financial services, Because that's where that's where the tech roles gained investment. That's where they actually were able to talk to the business. Nowadays, that's not the case. Everyone needs tech. So when you're a technologist, do you have to go for the best jobs? Do you have to go to finance anymore? No, not at all. And look, it's easy for everyone to talk about the Amazons and Googles of this world, but let's just separate them out just as I separate HSBC, and Deutsche let's just take them out. Let's go to like different the jobs that I feel are more attainable for everybody. And so let's separate those out and look at what do we have here, we have got a million FinTech startups right now, how exciting are they? You've then got a million non financial services related startups that are tech startups that are doing some really cool, sexy, innovative things that are solving problems in the marketplace, just as important as the financial services problems of the past. So if we were going to be good and be able to give our candidates options. We had to get ourselves out to non-finance as well, which, which is what we've been doing for the last couple of years. And there's team of eight now on Northstar. And it's not just technology, but its technology and sales recruitment. So this kind of represents an even further step. So it's not just about giving technologists the the options of outside financial services that I wanted to bring. But it's also saying, well look how far reaching technology is now, actually, you've got the sales people that will sell the tech product, the techies built, and they better know that tech product really well. So that's now an arm of something that we do. So Northstarr is technology and sales recruitment.
Ryan Clifford: It's quite a holistic approach, of you build something and now you actually need people to use it. That's the sales side.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, that's exactly where the whole concept came to me and, and I think it's also Northstarr really embodies the fact that I love technology. When I first started as a tech recruiter, honestly, I couldn't get my head round it. I remember trying to teach myself Java coding. I bought myself this book called Learn Java Code in 24 hours. And I got to chapter two, which was switch on the computer and I was like "Woah" blow my mind - can't do it. And it took me a couple of years to really understand that I never needed to learn Java coding. I just needed to speak to Java developers. And I think over the years, I've really learnt how important that that is that, as a recruiter, it's our job to reflect what the market is doing. And the market is showing us that technology isn't only technology and finance, now it's outside. And technology isn't just hands on coding in a room. It's talking, communicating and selling, which is why Northstarr really embodies all those changes.
Ryan Clifford: I have some quick scenarios. I want you to give some advice. Yeah. So first one is I've recently graduated. And I want to move into technology. But I'm worried that I don't have enough technical skills.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: And so my advice here, if you don't think you've got enough technical skills is first and foremost, why do you want to move into technology? And what have you done so far within it, like I think it's really important. And again, I'll use the word responsible, that if I'm going to give anybody advice they have to be able to exhibit why they're interested in what they've been doing. Because we do see a lot of people saying "I'm interested". But what have you done? So if you haven't done anything, what's good to do? I'd say is get yourself to meetups. First and foremost, go and meet people that are in tech right now and start understanding what it is that they're doing. Wouldn't it be great if you could end up sitting in a Costa of building a parking app, 100%, but what happens if you don't know people? You get that through the meetups. There are a number of different coding courses that people can go on. I've heard of so many different three day courses that people have done, and people get in contact with me. To find out more about those, so please anybody that's interested you can do. I was recently on a video for the Financial Times giving advice to people wanting to move into coding later on in their career. And I mentioned, Birkbeck University has a Master's Course. And you can do an evening masters course for computer science. Now, that isn't the only option. However, there are certain idiosyncrasies within especially coding that it's, it's not necessarily learnt from from your next door neighbour. Instead, it's actually I must learn the fundamentals of something. And there are some companies that will never change, and they will want to see that you have an accreditation or you have a proven ability and you've had something that's been stamped by a University, which I understand that some of those companies but then there are others who just want to see the passion and that you've, done something at home and the most beautiful thing about Technology nowadays, is anyone can have a Mac at home, anyone can get themselves a little server, anyone can be playing around building different things at home, whether it's a parking app, which I keep going back to, and this guy's gonna kill me because he's parking app, and I've said it a million times. And whether it's that or whether it's, it's reviewing results of a Rubik's Cube, and how many different ways you can do that, if it's something you're interested in, like, follow your passion, but have something to exhibit when you're going to go and because you can't, you'll never get yourself an interview without any evidence. And you'll never do well within that interview, unless you have something that you can talk about. So I hope that helps.
Ryan Clifford: Second scenario, I'm someone, who's had about three years experience out in industry, not in technology, but I'm now looking to move into technology, but I'm also actually I need a certain salary to stay up to now I've got three years experience. How do I move in without necessarily taking a demotion or paycut?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah, So my first my brain straightaway goes to "Where do you work right now?" And "do you know the tech manager in that company?" And you should be talking to that person, him or her. You should be sitting with them saying "Hiya, this is something I'd love to do." And because I'm telling you now nowadays, every company out there is talking about how do we retain our staff? Everyone's talking about the fact that they can't hire because there isn't the right talent out there. And slowly but surely, people are starting to listen to my talent triangle pitch of invest in people and create your own talent. So if you're in a company right now and you're thinking I'd like to become more technically minded technically focused, go and speech your technology manager that is straight first up. But also the second thing that let's say if that that manager isn't helpful, and they're like, No, no, we only hire like for like and people that can do it. I'd actually say like, really, really look into what your network looks like because, I bet you there are people that you know, within technology, or those friends of yours at companies that have a very established technology arm or technology part of the business, and actually saying, "I'm really passionate about this, what could I go and do", getting actual connections of yours that you know to say, "you know what we're doing this at the moment, we really interested to hear your take on it." That's how you end up getting a foot in the door. Right now we have quite a long way away from our last recession. And so we're in a beautiful time where, people are actually, they're getting given chances. And what's a really good thing right now is that there's a whole diversity of thought, that's getting promoted within the technology space at the moment. So you almost want someone who doesn't know technology to be pitched. This is what we're doing at the moment. This is our project. What do you make of that? And that person to go "What, I think that's mental", and everyone in the room to go "well, we didn't even look at it from a user's point of view." Right in you come, let's talk about this a bit more. And suddenly, you're advising on how product works or your your innovation strategist. As I, as I mentioned earlier, these are new roles that are coming about or you're communications officer but not marketing communications officer. But communications from someone who's deeply rooted, entrenched in technology are able to communicate what that actually means for the user of the system. So I think there's loads of different roles out there, but utilise your connections. Or of course, get in touch with someone from Harrington Starr.
Ryan Clifford: And the last scenario is someone who's had five years experience wants to progress. And they want to stay technical, though, and typically, it's the whole "Oh, I'm a good developer, so I'll manage developers", because that's the next progression, which isn't always the best person for it. How do I progress but still stay technical?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Yeah. So I think that there's managing projects as well and being in charge of how those those projects are run that's not necessarily people management. So I think that's the problem like people think I'm a really good developer. So I must go into people management, managements lots of lots of different things. And it's not only like looking after individuals and people, it can be the project itself. But I think there's loads of other avenues that have cropped up over the years. There were enterprise architects, that was a thing for a while. And that was actually someone sort of looking above the parapet at the, the whole organisation and how bits of technology were put together and how they were merged together. And I think that there's lots of different options nowadays from how well is a product implemented, how, how vastly is implemented, like there's lots of companies out there where you could become the person that gets it into other companies all around the world globally. But people don't necessarily talk about that if you if you're not putting your hand up saying "what other options are there." So, in short, my advice is for you to be constantly talking to your managers, all the time saying, "what options are out there for me within this company", "I want to commit to this company for the next 10 years, but I'd really be interested, what new roles that you're looking into, because I'm the person that won't be afraid of going into the unknown. I'd like to hear about it." But I think we all have to work incredibly hard to make sure that we're knowing the changes that are happening in our businesses. Because, you know, like the example I said earlier, if the company of 250 people, not everyone's going to know that actually, we've got a vacancy for someone who's going to going to be in every board meeting around this talking about every new product, and your role is to rip that apart, rip apart all the assumptions in and that's a new role, let's say and, and not everyone knows about it. So I think it's really key to position yourself and make sure you're constantly asking your managers and people around you. What are the options here? I'm really happy with what I'm doing right now. But what are we looking for right now and what roles are there?
Ryan Clifford: That's been great. I've loved this conversation. I think it's been great. It's given me an inside view to recruitment. And I've just gone through that process of a recruiter get me into a role and the now I'm starting to go, "Oh, that's what she did, ah now I see it." So thank you so much for your for your time and advice.
David Sint: I mean, certainly it's perspectives I'd never even thought of before. So really, really fascinating. Thank you.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: Thanks, guys.
Ryan Clifford: This episode was produced by Ryan Clifford and me David Sint at Harrington Starr in the City of London. You can find out more about the Tech Allies Network by going on to our website techalliesnetwork.org or find us on social media. How about LinkedIn?
David Sint: If you found this podcast useful, please share it with a colleague and let the network grow. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you're hearing this now. The intro music is by Everous and Canonblade provided by Argofox and this outtro music is by grapes. But before we go, here's one last question that Ryan asked Nadia.
Ryan Clifford: Cool. Okay, diversity in technology, how do you increase it?
Nadia Edwards-Dashti: There's loads of stuff I could say about this. But I will point you towards my step forward programme, which is online. And we could do a whole podcast on its own about this. And, essentially, rather than me saying is that I know all the answers to this, what I have put together is an 11 point plan. Because I think there's some amazing companies out there that are doing brilliantly to increase gender diversity within the workplace. And I say gender rather than diversity all together, because I think there's lots of different types of inclusion that we need to be working on whether it's gender, race, age, class, I could go on and on. But my 11 point plan, I called it step forward for gender diversity in the workplace, and it gives 11 points that I think should be celebrated because other companies are doing this right now. So rather than go through all the 11 points, I'll definitely refer you to that. But the main thing for me is if you want to make a difference within the firm, and you want to increase diversity of thought and diversity of people, the biggest thing you've got to do is have it measured, and understand what it is that you've got, what point you want to get to, and understand the why behind it. And you've got to get everyone in your business right now understanding that why otherwise, everything you're doing is going to fall down. Because if you've got a group of let's say, 15 men, and you want to have your next next five hires in that group as females, you need to make sure the 15 men understand why having five ladies is going to actually make a difference, and a positive difference to their team, rather than we're hiring five women because we want to hire five women, and that that degrades everything that we're trying to do. It's about understanding why it would be a benefit. Why do you want to have diversity of thought within technology and I don't Think I need to go into that because it's so obvious, however I will. I love having different points of view. And I think that technology at the rate it's increasing, it is actually quite a socialist thing. We share the ideas, we talk about what we've all learned. We bring it all together, we have different points of view. And that's what makes technology so strong. So why would we hold ourselves back by only having one portion of society in the room? It's crazy. So yeah, look at my step forward programme and that will explain all!