employee stories

“My career advice to women? Listen to your gut and find an environment where you can thrive”


WORK180Jan 7, 2019

In May 2018, FundApps hired a mathematician and qualified lawyer with a love of craft, music and octopuses, as well as a fierce sense of self. Five months on, Shaughnessy Hawkins and FundApps are thriving.

We interview Shaugnessy by phone, as she’s spending a month in North America, combining a trip to the New York office with a visit home to Canada to see her dog and her Mum. Her openness and direct manner shine through from the start, and she sums up her feelings about her employer with typical candour: “I’m more able to be myself at FundApps than I’ve ever been.”

As Compliance Associate with the regulatory compliance tech specialists, Shaughnessy takes the law and codes it into the FundApps algorithms and rules engine. She also works with the product team as a part-time product manager, managing the strategic direction of the content team’s work. She loves the work and the ownership (“We’re empowered to get sh#t done”) and feels encouraged to move beyond her day job and find ways to add value across the company.

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It’s surreal! The work is so intellectually stimulating. And the fact that we’re smaller also helps. I’ve already taken on a bunch of additional responsibilities and have delivered tangible results. This matters to me.

Like many professionals, Shaughnessy has also experienced darker moments in her career. She had a particularly difficult time with one former employer, where poor workplace practices and a male-dominated culture extended to a fight just to be paid.

Women sometimes are more trusting. I had a hard time seeing that people could manipulate you… and really do horrible things.

Rather than dwell on the past, Shaughnessy has sought to learn from those experiences and now has a clear sense of what she wants and the conditions she needs to thrive. She says she loves her role but that it’s the people and the culture that matter most. Her career advice to women and men is to stop prioritising a dream job and focus instead on a dream working environment for you. “Listen to your gut. If it’s not right, make a move.”

Having done just that, Shaughnessy feels very proud to work for the company she has chosen. When asked what makes FundApps special, she advocates with energy and ease for her employer. She’s pleased to see them continuing to improve their parental leave policies as they grow. And she speaks enthusiastically about the benefits of their approach to flexible working, self-directed learning budgets and transparent culture. The latter, she says,

"is fuelled by a team of “genuinely good people who value community and who want to contribute to the world around them.”

Caring people and an open culture are recurring themes in our conversation with Shaughnessy. They emerge again when we ask her about gender diversity at FundApps, who voluntarily report on pay equity at the company, and who have made a number of important changes to drive greater diversity and inclusion.

“We’re continuing to grow and evolve in terms of diversity and inclusion. We have a strong group of women across the business, including in engineering roles. We support each other and seek to create and nurture safe spaces – places or people that every person feels able to go to for support.”

Shaughnessy laughs as she describes the private Slack channel that they have created for women:

We talk about everything from needing feminine supplies, to what’s going on at work, to which of us would be a serial killer, according to the laws of astrology.

As the conversation continues, so does that blend of career impact and belonging. Shaughnessy talks about strategic roadmaps and then her submission for next month’s bake-off. She discusses her work to improve team workflows and influence regulation, before mentioning a recent talk she gave to her colleagues about octopuses (“It’s the first of a three part series”).

All in all, it’s an uplifting story to hear. We’re left with a lasting impression of a creative, talented woman who has found her place.

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About the author

WORK180

WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We also take into account diversity initiatives focusing on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The information we uncover is made public on our website, so that everyone knows what to expect from each employer before applying for a job. We continually review and evolve our pre-screening criteria to ensure workplaces are fair and equal for everyone.


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