Milly Richardson is the VP, People at Vitesse PSP Limited, which provides cross-border payment services to banks and businesses via a globally distributed settlement network.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I’ve been working in the people profession since 2005, starting off in agency recruitment but very quickly making the move into in house generalist HR.
My career started in big corporates such as Thomson Reuters and News UK however I grew frustrated with the inability to affect real change or do things ‘my own way’ so eventually jumped into smaller, tech fuelled start ups and scale ups where I really found my sweet spot!
My current role as VP People at Vitesse is exactly that, I joined at 60 people as the first People person and have been building the people experience and culture from the ground up, whilst growing the team to now just over 100 (in 7 months).
2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
As cliché as it sounds, there really are no 2 days that are the same in this job!
Being a small and agile team means that we get involved in everything that comes our way, from building career frameworks to improving our benefits offering, right up to running strategic workshops with the Exec looking at how we want to evolve our culture.
At the moment I’m focussed a lot on hiring (always the case for a scaling organisation) and defining our cultural ambition and values statements.
3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
As a mum to a 3-year-old, work life balance predominantly means ensuring I am available enough to spend time with him, whilst doing the best I can at work.
That means balancing days at home with being in the office, having the flexibility to drop work if he’s ill or nursery has to close (which happened a lot during the peak of covid) and occasionally, making some time to just be Milly (not mum or everyone’s People person!).
I’ve found that the best way to achieve this balance is to be very upfront before I even join a company that being a mum is my number 1 priority in life and that having that flexibility is essential for me, that way everyone knows where they stand and I can at least control the ‘mum-guilt’ to some degree.
4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
I try to make space for exercise on the days I’m working from home. I find a 20 minute HIIT followed by 10mins cool down at 8am is a good way to start my day. Recently I’ve been learning about breathwork and have taken some workshops to learn how to properly breathe (turns out it isn’t as easy as we all thought!).
Finally, sleep, whenever I can actually get it, is a huge part of my balance routine. Allowing myself to go to bed early when my body is telling me it needs it, instead of mindlessly watching TV. This is essential when you have a toddler who hasn’t worked out how to sleep through the night yet!
5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m a self learning junkie and I’m always on the look out for books or podcasts that ‘feed my soul’. Recently Glennon Doyle’s ‘We can do Hard Things’ podcast has been taking up my commute. Anything by Brene Brown or Michael A Singer are great for getting you to challenge how you live your life and pushing you to open your mind to another/better way of being a human.
6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’m always genuinely interested to know how other senior, working mum’s make it all work. So many women are forced to return to work part time due to childcare challenges and I found it really hard to find other women on the Exec team who were balancing all the plates I was.
Not saying I’m some kind of superhero, I just don’t think working mums tend to shout about everything they are achieving so it’s hard to be what you can’t see, as they say!
7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I’ve spent most of the past 3 years feeling like I was letting someone down, either my kid, my boss or the employees I look after. Recently I’ve felt like deliberately giving myself a break on this one. It turns out, no one else is that concerned about the things you think are so very important – they are too busy worrying about their own balance and life. So as long as you’re happy with how you’re doing adulting, I say that’s good enough!
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