Hayley Sudbury: an entrepreneur with an innovative mind

Hayley Sudbury -  headshot.jpg

Hayley Sudbury is a strong believer in diverse and inclusive communities in the workplace. Hence, WERKIN – an acronym for ‘We Are Kin’ – which denotes the idea of building a community within a workplace was born.

The mobile app WERKIN helps businesses create, track and activate mentoring and career development programs for their employees.

From financial services to tech-enabled mentorship, the Australian entrepreneur shared with Advance how WERKIN is driving innovation and growth for businesses through embracing diversity and inclusiveness.

Interview by Tammy Lee, Marketing & Communications Officer, Advance

What made you move to London and New York before returning to London?

I wanted to be part of a bigger market. I was offered a larger role with a global bank in London. 

What does WERKIN stand for?

WERKIN comes from the idea of building a community within a workplace. It's a play on "kin," meaning community. How do you find your kin, your community at work? At WERKIN we help companies build diverse and inclusive communities in the workplace. 

Where did you get the idea for creating a tech-enabled mentorship platform to promote workplace diversity and inclusion? How does it work?

My founding partner and I were approached by a global company to support an internal program with our technology. At this point, we focused on B2B and targeted mentoring as our core offering. We believe that using tech-enabled mentoring can better support the career journeys of women and underrepresented talent. We are consistently seeing this in our programs.

Did you experience any setback when you first started WERKIN? If so, what motivated you to keep going?

It's one big roller coaster. It was insane. The highs and the wins always outweighed the challenges, though there were many. The successes we've had have sustained me through the setbacks. The ride continues...

What's the first step a businesses should take to embrace diversity in the workplace?

Leaders need to have an honest look at their numbers. They need to ask why they have unbalanced numbers. They need to set D&I targets to individual KPIs so that everyone in the company becomes responsible for building a more diverse and inclusive culture. 

What's the most common default assumption or stereotype about LGBT people and how does it affect workplace inclusion?

Being LGBT isn't always visible. It can be easy to cover. If people are covering, it's probably because they feel they can't bring their whole self to work. Bringing your whole self to work is what matters. 

What do you miss most about Australia?

It used to be the flat whites and Australia's coffee scene, but now the Australians really run the New York and London coffee scene :) I miss my family and on a grey day, I miss the weather.