Now you’ve read the “formal” job description, here’s the “unofficial” peace-and-love version, highs and lows, and brutal but exciting reality that will hopefully push you over the line to say “HELLS YEAH AM I APPLYING!” or “Dear, dear me, this group is NOT for me”.
I ostensibly co-founded One HealthTech, but really, a whole heap of amazing people have given a huge amount of their time, all for free, to support, grow, champion and get under the bonnet of OHT. Add on top of that our amazing employee and Community Manager Andra, and our wonderful secondee Angela, and we’re a pretty passionate wee team. We’ve been hugely fortunate to have the privilege of helpful and kind people, and our own flexible time to grow this community organically over the last few years. But we really are at breaking point (the good kind!); so many amazing people passing through the community, so many needs and wants, so many solutions we could provide, and so little time because for most of us, we all have other day jobs. This is why this role is so important. It will ensure OHT can have the impact it so easily could have, but with the commercial backbone to fly.
Why is does this role provide a genuinely tricky commercial problem to solve?
The professional world is full of professional bodies, membership organisations and networks that charge an arm-and-a-leg for swanky drinks and exclusivity. These organisations have their place in our professional world, but increasingly, organisations built on charging individuals or organisations for access to events and people are struggling to justify their fees. They’re also more often than not, just not that inclusive and fun.
Whether we like it or not, we are increasingly used to getting what we want for free, garnering the value, and then potentially paying for it. Maybe. A freemium attitude permeates a lot more than we think. OHT is not barrier-free (more on this later), but it’s a lot easier to access than some networks out there, and that in itself provides a lot of the value, to both individuals in the community, and partners wanting to sponsor us. Lots of Meet-Up based communities out there follow the easy route and just charge individuals access. In doing so, they fundamentally change the nature of the “contract” between members and the community. The answer might look like some sort of two-sided market, but if we then layer on top of that the fact that there are Hubs all over the country, and increasingly all over the world, this gets even more complicated. How do we ensure this remains a genuinely federated community and avoid a Hub-and-spoke model? This is TOUGH, it should make your brain hurt in terms of how to address this, and if you’re the entrepreneurial firecracker we’re after, your mind should be BUZZING with ideas, or even better, challenges to our current thinking!
We are not only after a commercial wizard, we need one that can think about this problem sensitively, identifying what’s valuable, and to whom, and how we need to structure ourselves and move forward sustainably. That person also needs to be able to roll up their sleeves, and just DO IT.
Some things I’ve been asked about this role that I thought I’d share more widely:
- “I don’t understand how you can run an organisation with so many volunteers”
All our Hubs are run by amazing Curators, some need more of a helping hand than others, but all are equally motivated to build inclusive local communities, and that attitude is the most positive, inspiring and energising thing out there. Volunteers are tough and amazing to work with all at the same time, because often family life, jobs, or just mood takes priority. And that’s cool. This also extends to the founders, we are still very involved (I wouldn’t contest accusations of founder syndrome…) but like all volunteers, sometimes erratic, in both our ideas and our time-commitment. I know, this can be deeply frustrating when you’re trying to grow an organisation, and your leadership spends a small percentage of their brain space on the organisation. We’d love to improve this.
- “Are you actually inclusive?”
Hells no. I mean better than 99% of the healthtech groups out there, but not where we should be. For one, I am a white, PhD (soon…ish), middle class, heterosexual, able-bodied female. In the grand scheme of things, I am about as privileged as they get. I know nothing about the social and structural barriers that a huge number of people face. Not first-hand, at least. That was a huge motivator behind why we renamed from HealthTech Women to One HealthTech, to be more intersectional and aim for inclusivity. We’ve had great and provocative input as a team from individuals from all sorts of backgrounds to challenge our biases but we want to make this much much better and have clearer mechanisms to address the specific needs of different groups.
- “When you say the job is ‘flexible’ what does that mean?”
We trust you. Currently, different individuals in the team work remotely, at odd hours, long hours, evenings, in corners of offices we’ve borrowed, or in their kitchen at home. It’s about as flexible as they go. Be under no illusion though, that this job should and will work you hard (Andra & Angela will definitely agree!), but we want to not be worrying about clocking-in/-out, and just focused on outcomes we define together. Life’s just easier if we just trust each other to get the job done.
- “I don’t have all the skills you’ve asked for, but you’ve asked a lot…”
We are going in with an open mind. Sure, we have some job-spec-type skills we think would be pretty useful to have but really, someone’s attitude, ideas and ability to execute on the things they say they’d do is the most important thing. This is a big role, and you will be 50% of the employed team, which also means no task is beneath you, there’s no one to do your admin, email-drafting or sponsorship-pack writing. YOU have the power to change that with pennies you bring into the organisation, but when you start it will probably feel like a lot of pressure on you. And you kinda have to be OK with that. People say co-founding a company is like dating, well… whilst the company has been founded you’re going to be working intensely with our Community Director, Andra. It will feel a lot like it’s just you two. And, albeit you have a wide range of people to ask for help at your fingertips (I don’t sleep too much so always on the end of the phone), this should feel entrepreneurial, at an early stage, in every sense of the term.
- “I can’t get a feel of what salary you are looking at”
We want to cast our net as wide as possible and pay grades instantly affect who applies. But put it this way, you may well be taking a pay cut if you’re a big fancy person. But, you know what, that may be worth it for the experience, flexibility and fun of this job, and who knows, in the near future you may well be earning more than before. We have money in the bank, but not so much that you can twiddle your thumbs for months on end. The important thing is that you have the power to influence your salary, we want to motivate you to bring money into the organisation, grow your skills, and grow the team, in partnership with our Community Director and the bank of advisors.
- “What does success look like?”
It’s not enough for us to say X thousand people signed-up online, we want to be able to put our hands on our hearts and know we influenced the culture and make-up of the sector, for the good. And importantly, that we asked the community what they wanted, and then we did. But we can’t even come close to our ambitions of widespread #communityfeels if we haven’t got someone driving the sustainability of the organisation in a considerate, sensitive, but effective way.
This is an organisation that has consumed most of my free-thinking time, evenings and weekends for the last few years, the same can be said for many of the OHT volunteers and our employees. There is huge potential to retain the essence of the chaotic community vibe but provide real impact, at scale, to the exploding healthtechnology sector, through the sharing of ideas, skills and connections. We are all deeply humbled you’d even consider applying for this role, that in itself means a lot.
Maxine Mackintosh, One HealthTech, Co-Founder
@Maxi_Macki | firstname.lastname@example.org