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Elle Meredith

Please introduce yourself:
I am a web developer with more than ten years of experience writing Ruby and Rails. I've co-organised multiple Ruby conferences in Sydney (with Steve by the way) and New York. I also co-organised Rails Camps, Rails Girls workshops and in 2017 I developed and ran the Qantas Hotels Engineering Academy, a paid apprenticeship program, up-skilling junior developers in better development practices over six months. I sometimes give talks at conferences or other public events.

In addition to work, I am currently studying for a Graduate Certificate in Psychology of Business and Management with Curtin University.

What do you do for work?
In 2017 I started Blackmill with Lachlan Hardy, a software engineering consultancy, where we work with organisations and their people to solve cultural and business problems. We use consulting, workshops, and tech leadership coaching, to help our clients nurture a healthy culture that is adaptive to change, ready to grow, and supports both the business and its people.

What do you do outside work?
Before getting into web development, I worked as a scuba diving instructor and dive operations manager for about ten years, and I still enjoy spending time on and under the water.

In 2016, I joined a friend for a sourdough class at the Brooklyn Bread Lab. Took me another few months to gather the courage to bake my first bread, and I've been making sourdough breads regularly for family and friends ever since.

We used to host Pizza Fridays. We held an open invitation to come and have pizza with us on most Fridays. Covid threw a spanner in the works with that. Hopefully, we can start feeding friends at home again some time soon.

A month ago, I started writing a weekly newsletter with cooking tips and recipe suggestions. I know most of the people on the mailing list and so far the feedback I'm getting is positive. So that's been one positive thing in the middle of ongoing lockdowns.

Toughest work moment?
There has been more than one tough work moment, but a recent one that comes to mind is expressing frustration in an inappropriate manner, i.e. the wrong channel. For someone who has given multiple talks about feedback, I should have known better.

Most rewarding work moment?
Again, not sure I can pick just one. Working with clients on improving their organisational and team cultures have been amazing. Seeing teams gel better, work better, and feel safe and comfortable to contribute more because of my work has been a joy.

Your 'one sentence' work-related advice:
Problems with underperforming teams are rarely about the tech stack, but usually about people and communications problems. Focus on the people more than just on outcomes or output. Work smarter, not harder or longer.

Your one-sentence hiring-related advice:
Standardise your hiring process to reduce unconscious biases and to make better hiring decisions. Did I mention I can help with that? 😊

Connect with Elle on LinkedIn.