We spoke with Josephine, and Gerisha who have today launched The Other Half; a new podcast which covers the gritty reality of start-up life, the shared challenges women face in the tech workplace, and practical advice for people to navigate their careers.
Meet Gerisha Nadaraju and Josephine Conneely. The pair met while working together at open banking payments network Truelayer, and have taken their workplace friendship to the microphones to launch a podcast together, dedicated to helping women in technology.
I’m Gerisha, an experienced product operations leader, speaker and podcaster. Over my career, I’ve worked at scaling fintechs in London (TrueLayer, Dojo) in roles such as Head of Product Operations and Head of Business Operations. Currently I’m using that experience to advise early stage startups, and I’ve also started angel investing to put my money where my mouth is and invest in diverse founders.
And I’m Jo, a fractional operations leader. I’ve worked at various tech companies, of all shapes and sizes, from small early-stage startups (TrueLayer and Impala) to large hyper-growth and public companies (Stripe and Box) both here in the UK and in the US.
Why did you want to launch this?
We decided to start “The Other Half” podcast because we found that over the years, we were spending countless hours messaging each other about the big and small challenges we faced as ambitious women in the workplace. We realised that the things we were talking about with each other were being experienced by SO many women around us. Women who felt like they couldn’t get ahead and were thinking of leaving tech all together.
And we came across this stat that from Accenture and Girls Who Code, that “around 50% of women are abandoning careers in tech by the age of 35”. It was something I saw in my own career and only more intensely the more senior I became. There were just fewer and fewer women at the table.
In addition, that same report showed the percentage of tech workers who were women in 1984 (35%) was actually higher than it is today (32%). So despite efforts currently in place, things aren’t changing.
The podcast is born out of a desire to change those statistics. We hope by sharing challenges and practical advice on how to overcome them, we’ll inspire more women to become founders, VCs and leaders who build great careers.
What makes The Other Half different to what’s gone before – what makes this unique?
There are a lot of great podcasts out there. I think what makes The Other Half a bit different is that we have this dual focus on being totally honest about the big and small challenges women face working in tech. We definitely don’t gloss over the hard stuff! But we’re also providing practical advice to hopefully empower our listeners.
‘The Other Half’ is all about inspiring women to take action, whether that’s starting a business, going for the promotion, or finding ways to better navigate everyday career challenges.
My dream is that after series one, two or three – people get in touch and tell us “I listened to this, I took the advice, and I’m starting a business or starting a side hustle” – whatever the case may be. That’s really our focus and our vision for the podcast.
I also think what makes it different is that Jo and I are seasoned practitioners in this space. We’ve achieved senior positions in tech and created side hustles (podcasts and newsletters etc), but we haven’t been in the C-suite or started companies yet – so we ARE our target audience.
We are genuinely energised and motivated by the episodes and hopefully listening to it feels like you’re having a conversation with friends who understand you. We’ve worked together and are friends too, so we really want that to come through.
Who is this for, and who should be listening to this?
Our main focus is on women working in tech as employees or running their own business, or women who WANT to be doing these things. But there’s something in there for all sorts of people. The topics we talk about can be really useful for tech employers who might want to understand how to make their environment more supportive for women, or men who are employees and founders who want to be a better ally to their colleagues.
Our guests are experienced women working in tech, as well as VCs and founders. So we’re speaking to women who, for example, have sold their first businesses for $1bn, who have gone through tough funding rounds as first time founders, and other similar experiences. They have great advice for stepping up into leadership roles, and how to actually validate if your startup idea is worth pursuing. So if any of those sound interesting, it could be for you!
What guest or story has resonated with you the most so far?
It’s such a tough question, like asking me to pick a favourite child! But one conversation I particularly enjoyed was with Marta Jasinka (Episode 6), who’s currently VP of Product Engineering at Bumble. She spoke about “knowing your why”. So that’s looking at not just how to get into senior roles and leadership positions, but why that’s important, and what you want to do with that role. She also talks a lot about how she developed confidence in public speaking while being an introvert and the gritty reality of scaling startups which definitely resonated!
They have all been great! I think for me it would be Lizzie Drake (Episode 1), our first guest who is currently a Chief Compliance Officer. She shared so many insights into navigating a career to the C-suite while remaining true to herself. There was also a point where she had an “aha” moment and realised that she does “know her stuff” and I really loved how honest she was about this process of gaining real confidence in her ability.
We also loved the concept she mentioned of spreading “micro-love” and helping others through small positive actions which create ripple effects, almost as a counter to the term “micro-aggressions”.
And who would be your dream guests for the future?
For me it would be Melanie Perkins from Canva, she has built a great product and business outside of the traditional tech hubs. And Dame Steve Shirley – the original pioneering female founder!
I’d love to have Melinda French Gates as she’s such a big advocate for more women shaping the future through tech. And Whitney Wolfe-Heard from Bumble, as she faced some major challenges herself in one workplace, and used that as fuel to build her own business. Very inspiring!