Renegade Generation co-founder AND CHIEF EXPERIENCE OFFICER (CXO)
Caroline knows what it means to make big life changes, having moved from a small country town in Australia to London 16 years ago, and now lives in Notting Hill. She realised that the crucial skills for negotiating change successfully are adaptability, resilience, leveraging your transferable skills and having a diverse network. It’s also vital to put yourself out there and say yes to opportunities, even when you feel completely out of your depth.
After making the move from hotel and event management to IT after university, Caroline’s first role in the UK was the Personal Assistant to the Director of Law, Governance and Procurement at the London Development Agency (LDA). Her boss was also the official legal representative on the London 2012 Olympic bid team so she had no choice but to quickly adapt to an unfamiliar city, a new country, and a unique and frantic working environment. She recalls this time as a major sink or swim moment!
She then moved to QAS, a software company owned by Experian before making the leap to self employment as the project manager at a high-end female-only building company. This was another fascinating role where she was helping manage the full refurbishment of a large property in Regent’s Park owned by a well known yet very hard-to-please British business magnate. These roles taught her the importance of attention to detail, dealing with multiple stakeholders and managing client expectations.
She found the property industry too unscrupulous, so she used her previous experience in the tech industry to retrain as a Social Media and Digital Production Account Manager. This landed her a position in the digital team at Edelman London, the largest PR firm in the world. This team contained some of the brightest in the business, and together with the NYC office were renowned for pioneering award-winning campaigns in partnership with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. It was a completely new world (although the PR side was like being in AbFab) and the fast-paced learning culture was incredible.
After only a year at Edelman, Caroline received the news that her dad’s dementia had significantly worsened and she was needed back in Australia to help her mum look after her dad and gran, now also needing full-time care. She had only just turned 30, but fully understands the immense challenges that come with having to pack up your life and reluctantly face up to an incredibly sad and uncertain situation.
On a brighter note, having London experience gave her a big advantage when looking for work in Melbourne and she landed a Senior Digital Manager role in a boutique branding and advertising agency. Although it was a step up in terms of seniority, she began to consider the impact her work was having on the world and decided to look for something more meaningful.
At the same time the field of User Experience (UX) was beginning to emerge - after existing for decades in the form of Human-Computer Interaction - and it offered Caroline the new opportunity she was looking for. In 2014 there was no formal training to become a UX Designer so she researched online, read books and joined UX Book Club where she found mentors and supporters. Although she had a lot of transferable skills, there was still a lot to learn and one of her book club contacts got her a freelance gig at a charity tackling digital inclusion and social injustice. Her first project client was Australia Post and she was tasked with creating a website to help older Australians realise their online potential. After weeks of user research, insight gathering, affinity diagramming and prototyping the blueprint for Go Digi was complete. At last she was able to deliver a meaningful, positive impact for people and whilst the learning curve was immense, she knew she was on the right track.
From there her career went from strength to strength and she began freelancing between Melbourne and London. To increase her chances of a successful career pivot she snapped up opportunities offered by interim projects and multiple locations while expanding her skill set to include Customer Experience (CX), Service Design, Design Thinking, Behavioural Economics and Product Management. This enabled her to land a Service Design role with Fjord (Accenture Digital), multiple contracts as UX Designer at Transport for London and Lead Design Mentor for Google’s Launchpad programme in London.
After going back to school to study Product Management at General Assembly in Melbourne, Caroline permanently relocated back to London to embark on a lifelong ambition of building a successful company. She joined forces with Fiona Green after recognising they had shared values, vision and a complimentary skill set. Caroline also realised the benefit of starting a business with someone who had successfully done it previously and came with invaluable knowledge and expertise.
And so Renegade Generation was eventually born out of two years of full-time research and concept validation. As Co-founder and Chief Experience Officer, Caroline now spends her days using all aspects of her experience design toolkit to solve ageing workforce challenges.
Since launching the business she’s grown increasingly passionate about helping organisations and mature individuals future-proof at a time when rising life expectancies and an ageing workforce presents unprecedented challenges and untapped opportunities.
Two years on, the Renegade Generation team are now the official ageing workforce thought leadership partner for Scottish Widows, Atos and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Their Age-friendly Employer Profile initiative with the FSCS is a finalist in the 2019 CIPD People Management Awards. The same initiative also won Highly Commended at the FT Adviser Diversity in Finance Awards in July.
Their clients are forward-thinking professional services organisations who go to them for thought leadership, strategy and training in order to attract, retain, retrain, reengage and generally get the best from their mature talent.
Caroline is a powerful advocate for harnessing the skills, talents, experience and energy of mature workers and believes they are a secret weapon for switched-on employers. She loves collaborating with best-in-class partners while applying fresh thinking to design innovative (and proven) ageing workforce solutions. She believes in the benefits of lifelong learning, growth mindsets in fun, human-centric and dynamic working environments. She knows that good businesses can produce profit alongside positive impact - from both a social and environmental perspectives.