Hello everyone, I'm Spiffy, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. I recognize that humanity is passing through some painful and deeply stressful times. But if I have deep faith in their amazing capacity to heal, love and grow. Today, I am catching up with one such inspiring human, Toby Hervey, Co-Founder of Bravely. He's working hard to help companies and employees reduce stress at work. Let's check out our conversation!
SPIFFY: Nice to finally meet up, Toby! (PS: Took me a while to get his appointment!) Lemme begin by asking you what challenge are you addressing through Bravely?
TOBY: Great meeting you too, Spiffy! At Bravely, we want everyone to live their best lives at work, and help every company support their people to thrive. We’re often held back in our work because we have a challenge we don’t know how to tackle, we’re stressed or feeling unsupported, or we’re not communicating as effectively as we could.
SPIFFY: No one can argue that solving this challenge is the need of the hour! (A special shout-out to parents who are juggling between kids and WFH!) So, what motivated you to do it?
TOBY: I’m not going to pretend I didn’t always fantasize about starting my own company. When I had the idea for Bravely, it felt like my calling, and like there was a real path to create something that could change the way companies support their people. With that, nothing could hold me back.
SPIFFY: That's a great feeling to discover one's calling, isn't it? Work doesn't feel like work anymore! (I had the same feeling when I took to sharing inspiring stories of change-makers across our universe!)
So, tell me about a recent milestone by Bravely and what impact does that make?
TOBY: With the recent global crisis and sudden shift to many more organizations working in a distributed fashion, we’ve seen leaders rethinking how they support their employees. Because Bravely is proven to meet this need, we’ve seen a huge spike in growth in recent months.
SPIFFY: Good to hear that! What more is Bravely doing to help build a more equitable world?
TOBY: Our approach of powering fully confidential coaching for every employee at every level is intentionally designed with equity and access in mind, furnishing a development opportunity and support resource to people who have historically been under-served, or less likely to engage internal support channels for fear of misunderstanding or even retribution. We've provided coaching to many people dealing with micro-aggressions and blatant discrimination, and we're raising our voice more than ever to stand with BIPOC people everywhere.
SPIFFY: Nice! ❤️ Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from failure?
TOBY: These years have been peppered with hundreds of micro-failures: rejections from venture capitalists, customers choosing another solution over us, botched conversations with team members. Each taught me something, including that failure is an inevitable part of this journey.
SPIFFY: Indeed, it's inevitable! (Just ask me how many rejections I've faced on all the planets I've visited so far!) What is something you've unexpectedly learned recently?
TOBY: I’ve long been skeptical about distributed teams being as effective as fully localized teams. My own team has proven my skepticism unfounded in these last few weeks as they’ve gone above and beyond, and demonstrated their unquestionable commitment to our purpose.
SPIFFY: Yeah, I've been impressed myself on how well humans are adapting to the new reality! On a parting note (I'm off to Planet Fanoolu next!), is there any advice you would like to share with our young readers?
TOBY: If there’s something you wish you were doing better for yourself, or a dream you’ve always had, it’s never too late to start. But also don’t put undue pressure on yourself to start right now. When you feel ready, you’ll know and you’ll find that first step to get you there.
SPIFFY: Thanks for those wise (and heartfelt) words, Toby! Until next time, byee and TC!
TOBY: Bye Spiffy, safe travels!
Toby Hervey is the CEO and Co-Founder of Bravely, and a Board Director of Out in Tech. Toby’s career experience—as a manager, an executive, and a gay man navigating the professional world—has given him a passion for building workplaces that empower everyone to do their best work and thrive.
Read Bravely's recent statement on racial equality HERE.
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse stories with the mission to inspire kids and youth around the world to become entrepreneurs with empathy. This series features interviews of inspiring founders by our very own Spiffy to introduce young readers to innovation, inclusion and entrepreneurship. Check out Spiffy's tales from Planet Earth and other planets HERE.