Life at Cleo

Take the Mic - Roisin Allum

There aren’t many people that know Cleo like Roisin Allum, or who have contributed as much to our progress. From everyone at Cleo: happy 5 year anniversary, Rosh!

Image of Roisin Allum, the operations manager at Cleo

Tell us a bit about your journey to Cleo, what was your first role here?
I was only supposed to be here 2 weeks! I started in a temporary role covering Customer Service for a couple of weeks and when the time was up and the work wasn’t slowing down, I stuck around.  I don’t think I had an "official role" for about 6 months but as the only non technical person around, I did a bit of everything like ordering the wine for Friday retros, recruiting our next developer and talking to our users.

How has your role changed over the last 5 years? 

A LOT!  Every 6 months I feel like I have a new challenge that almost feels like a different job. In my time at Cleo, I've had the opportunity to scale Customer Service in a creative and meaningful way, worked with product teams to improve Cleo's natural language processing, and now get to work on all the processes behind our credit product. The only consistent thing has been change (did some famous philosopher say that or did I just make it up?)  

Edit: googled it and… “Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying "change is the only constant in life."” (and start-ups😉 )

Selfie with Cleo employees
Sending a photo to a user who didn’t believe we were humans, 2018

This is a long stint for a start-up! What has kept you here?

I think when you start somewhere at the beginning of the journey you get emotionally attached 💙 Cleo holds a special place in my heart. It's a unique opportunity to see a company go from 5 people to a global 150+ employee company, helping millions of people across the world. 

It helps that the problem we are solving (fighting for the world’s financial health) is huge and important. Plus, the people here are all hilarious and amazing to work with.

polaroid of cleo employees
Summer boat party, Aug 2019

What’s been the biggest change you’ve seen at Cleo?

Definitely launching in the US. The weight of financial problems is so much bigger in the US, talking first hand to our users about their bank fees and everything else that is broken has taught me so much, and also made me pretty sad and angry!

Oh and the global pandemic. Obviously. 

Cleo employees on zoom
Getting used to zoom, 2020

How would you describe the Cleo culture?

Vibez! I think the most special thing about Cleo is we collectively have a great sense of humour, which really helps people feel comfortable from day 1.  We are not afraid to laugh a little when we fail and that helps us get back on track when we do.

What’s something you’re really proud of from your time at Cleo? 

Building a culture-first Customer Service team.  We really value everything we can learn from CS, our Customer Champions work across the business in different functions and are always progressing. Watching people progress through CS as I did is also super exciting . 

 What’s the reason we’ve been able to keep hold of the Cleo spirit, in your opinion?

Prioritising it!  We have so many amazing people whose job is to literally make Cleo employees' lives better. From the serious stuff like mental health and diversity to very well planned socials and all our little slack sub cultures (I'm talking dungeons and dragons, tomato-growing competitions, and that channel everyone just uses to scream AAAaaAaAAAAaaaa)

Empowering employees to create spaces that work for them is important. Give people the time and some $ if necessary to put together unique and fun things for teams to do and it snowballs from there. 

Do you have a stand-out favourite Cleo memory?

The time around series A fundraising was really special. We had a great office space, a summer heat wave, the Cleo team and user base was growing FAST, we watched the world cup and Love Island together, had lots of BBQ's on our office balcony, had an offsite to Amsterdam. It felt like the world was our oyster.  I don’t think I could have really imagined how much Cleo would change and grow at that point but WE DID IT! (and continue to do it!) 

Picture of cleo employees at an outdoor garden
Christmas drinks, 2021

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