Empowered Management, The Revolut Way

Hanna Karolina Johansson

 · 03/12/2020  · 03/12/2020

From the moment I saw the Business Development job posting for Revolut for the Nordic region, I knew it was my dream job. I went back and forth on whether to apply for four whole weeks because I felt I was too green for the job - and in the end just jumped in. When they asked for my salary expectations I said: “a great manager and a coffee machine”. Who needs anything else? Saying yes was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Imagine being the first person permanently based in a new launch territory for the company you’ve just joined. It’s exhilarating, terrifying, open to a thousand new possibilities. Despite being fresh from graduating university, I already had experience from pursuing my own business ventures and working in the fast-paced Red Bull Marketing Department, and I was hooked on the feeling. Entrepreneurship has been a core part of my personality from when I co-founded my first company while still in school.

My first line manager was Irina Nicoleta Scarlat, now Head of Growth for Central and Eastern Europe. For those first six months, she was more than just a manager. She was my main point of contact with Revolut, my sounding board for every idea, and my biggest cheerleader. It can be challenging to be a woman in fintech. There aren’t loads of us yet, so I really valued having a female line manager as I was starting out at Revolut. Irina taking me under her wing taught me to be confident in moments where I’m the only woman in a meeting room, or the only woman on a panel.

Nobody ever has all the answers from day one. Irina embodied the Revolut attitude of “make mistakes, but learn from them to make us better”. Sometimes it’s a case of trying different ideas and seeing what gets the best engagement. Globally, we realised that markets need individual approaches culturally, economically, and technologically, and I applied the same concept to the Nordics. She was always encouraging and pushed me to discover on a deeper level where an approach had gone wrong, but she also didn’t skimp on praise. It’s made me more open to taking a leap with an innovative idea.

Having a great manager-employee relationship is built on good communication. As much as performance reviews were about getting feedback on my successes and learnings, I was also encouraged to give Irina feedback on what I needed from our partnership to be able to thrive in my work. Despite working in offices in different parts of Europe, we built rapport with weekly meetings where Irina always followed up on what we had discussed the previous week. There was a strong and structured strategy in place that meant I’ve been able to grow in this role and subsequently develop it into the Community Manager position. Throughout, Irina encouraged me to envision a long-term career path for myself at Revolut. When Lasse Kalkar joined the Nordics team and became my line manager, he continued with that same Revolut energy in empowering me to develop my skills and knowledge base.

Hanna and Lasse in our Stockholm office.
Hanna and Lasse in our Stockholm office.

The first time I was the only woman in a fintech panel on stage, it was intimidating. Since then, I’ve grown to love being a role model for women in fintech. I feel empowered that I’m driving change in who’s representing Revolut in Sweden - the face of our company in that territory is female. The more opportunities we provide for visible diversity, the more opportunities we create for bringing different perspectives into this company. I think about one day giving other people  the same support that I’ve had from my managers and I’m excited for this next chapter in our Revolut journey - are you?

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