Hireup is an online platform that’s shaking up the way Australians with disability find, hire and manage support workers.
Sonia Flynn, a previous Facebook and Google executive, is among the new hires to join Hireup’s strategic leadership team recently.
During a busy period of growth for the company, she has been appointed to play a pivotal role in helping Hireup scale its reach and impact in the disability sector.
Sonia brings with her extensive experience building and scaling new businesses internationally in complex, rapid growth environments, having worked across a portfolio of fast-growing technology companies in Europe.
A unique voice in the disability sector, Hireup is changing the idea that people with disability must accept support on someone else’s terms. The platform uses a system that matches people not just on qualification but on shared interests.
Hireup also uses a contractor-free model, which means all support workers are employed by the company and protected with industry leading wages, a first in the Australian peer-to-peer economy.
Flynn is excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
She believes her past career experience at companies including Google, Facebook and Soundcloud has given her an understanding of how we can use technology to form deeper connections between people and communities and ultimately, improve lives.
“The ongoing relationships that Hireup builds between people demonstrates to me how technology can offer a scalable, empowering new way for people to find the support they need on their own terms,” she told Women’s Agenda recently.
Below, Sonia answers some questions for Women’s Agenda.
Can you tell us a little about Hireup? How is it changing the lives of Australians with disabilities?
Hireup is an innovative, for-purpose business driven by a desire to achieve real and revolutionary change for Australians with disability.
At Hireup, we harness technology to provide people with disability greater choice and control in how they find, hire and manage their own support workers. From help around the house to support with education and employment, people seeking support can choose the best support workers who fit their needs and share their interests.
What are you working on right now at Hireup that’s got you excited?
Any number of things! We are focused on building the infrastructure at Hireup for the long term across the business; from our product and tech teams to how we deliver service.
What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months as Chief Operations Officer at Hireup?
To spend more time with and to learn from our community at Hireup so that any future plans we have as an organisation are aligned with what they need.
To make sure that we are well positioned as a team with the right (light touch) structures and capabilities to deliver the next stage of growth as we work to build a more inclusive Australia.
Can you tell us about your career trajectory? Where did your career begin and how did you navigate moving through the ranks?
I studied languages so not the most obvious choice for a career in consumer technology. I’ve always been passionate about helping people reach their potential and travel.
That led to some interesting career opportunities to work with teams in different countries. I’ve always been willing to take a chance and move to places like Bulgaria, India, Poland and now Australia.
I’ve also always been drawn to the earlier stages of building a business and that has been a theme in deciding whether to take a new opportunity or not.
How does your past career experience, as an executive at companies like Google, Facebook and SoundCloud, help you navigate new challenges at Hireup?
My past experiences have shaped how I think about scale and the need to question and to be open to doing things in a different way to reach scale.
For the majority of my career, I’ve always been focused on how we can use technology to form deeper and more meaningful connections between people and communities. The ongoing relationships that Hireup builds between people demonstrates to me how technology can offer a scalable, empowering new way for people to find the support they need on their own terms.
I’m focused on taking the very best of what I know and applying it to the mission we have here at Hireup to build a more inclusive and connected Australia and that means we fulfil our promise to reach and offer services to more communities throughout the country.