Get to Know Rocket.Chat's People & Culture Lead: Laura Coutinho
Laura Coutinho never thought she’d end up working in people and culture. Laura actually started out working in biotechnology, but a unique set of circumstances have seen her now playing an important role in the HR team at open-source communication platform Rocket.Chat. Laura started studying biotech because she wanted to do something diverse. She did well on the course, where she’d done a range of internships in different biotech-related fields. At the same time, she’d done a junior enterprise, which gave her a glimpse of a career working in the people sector. She was a little shocked to realize that the core of her biotech work wasn’t actually what appealed most to her, and the people side of things excited her most. “I had to make a choice at the end of the course, like where I wanted to work. I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing? And what the hell am I gonna do after I graduate?’ I didn't want to go for a Master's. That was the obvious route for people in my course, but it just didn’t feel like it was for me. After the struggle of figuring out what she wanted to do, Laura’s next challenge was figuring out how to approach getting a job in a field she hadn’t formally studied. She credits an influential friend for encouraging her to put herself out there. “He told me, ‘You just have to lose the shame. Go be shameless and talk to people on LinkedIn.’ I was like, ‘Okay, I'm going to put all of my shame aside for two minutes and send five messages.’ I remember seeing Rochet.Chat on LinkedIn and they seemed amazing. “I found a job description that totally fitted with what I wanted to do. It was kind of a general position for the people team, so I decided to send a message to the head of people and ask him to talk over a coffee. He said yes, which was a crazy surprise, and I ended up joining the company in November 2019.” Laura had to hit the ground running, with a team of around 30 staff and a role that required her to get involved in a few different areas of the business. She remembers being trusted with putting together an agenda for three days of their company-wide annual summit. “This was basically my first and biggest challenge, to help build the company summit. I had to put this agenda together for the first three days, where we had to do all these things - talk about culture, we had to do some team building, and I was like, ‘Okay, let's do this.’ It was really overwhelming, but also so fun.” There’s been no looking back for Laura since then. She likes to call herself a People & Culture analyst, meaning she does a lot of different things to develop the company culture for her colleagues. Not having formally studied HR before making it her career certainly hasn’t inhibited her ability to make Rocket.Chat a good place to work. When she’s not focusing on doing that, Laura makes a real effort to disconnect from her work. She values her own time, which she likes to spend walking her dog or watching movies. She also wants to be able to travel and meet new places the first opportunity she gets. Rocket.Chat is growing their team, check out openings here!