Hi, I’m Sarah.

I’m Director of Engineering at Novoda. I’m the one who powers up the members of our client teams, supporting them to self-lead, take on accountability, think outside the box and work as efficiently as possible.

My favourite way to describe myself is a ‘complexity buster’. No matter the technology, situation or problem, my superpower is distilling a whole bunch of information, simplifying it and bringing it to some kind of resolve.

I believe good digital is accessible and inclusive.

Good digital is accessible – meaning it can be used by everyone. For me, accessibility is also about how I talk about tech. Living abroad, I learned to simplify my language to improve my communication, and as an engineer, I avoid using complex acronyms or jargon that might confuse or intimidate people.

Making the digital world more inclusive can be as simple as removing the need for users to identify their gender or adding gender-neutral titles or pronouns. If you need to ask customers security questions, think about how inclusive these are – for example, asking people what university or college they went to could mean anyone who didn’t go on to further education might feel like your service isn’t for them.

It’s also important to think about imagery in your digital products and ensure you feature a diverse mix of people. Representation in tech matters because it helps people feel seen and included.

As a business leader, if you can foster an environment where everyone’s values are honoured and respected, then you’re doing good business.

I lead with empathy and integrity.

Empathy is the foundation of good leadership. Everyone is an individual, which means they’ll be motivated by different things and deal with different challenges. They might have chronic imposter syndrome or hold themselves to impossible standards because they’ve never felt good enough. As a leader, your people need you to see them, hear them and support them to navigate their feelings without shaming themselves. 

The best leaders are often revealed in times of instability and uncertainty. They recognise when people don’t feel safe or secure, judge which conversations may or may not be appropriate, create space for concerns to be shared and keep everyone informed.

As well as empathy and open-mindedness, good leadership is about being accountable for your choices and acting with integrity – always putting your values first and standing by your decisions. 

I’m passionate about inclusivity in business. 

The best businesses to work for see their employees as individuals, not job titles. It’s not just about knowing their talents, you need to know their passions and what gives them energy.

When your recruitment processes look at individuals as a multitude of talents and passions – instead of a person filling a pre-defined job role – you end up with the right people in the right places doing the right things, making you more effective as a company.

Most traditional recruitment practices are neither accessible nor inclusive. For example, I’m a person who needs time to think. If I’m in an interview situation and feel pressured to answer a question immediately, you’ll never get the best from me. That’s why my favourite interviews always gave me a project to prepare in advance.

When businesses fail to provide alternative ways for employees to learn and contribute, they miss out on so much of their talent because they don’t give everyone a fair chance.

I’m at my happiest being creative and being in nature.

I love any situation where I can express my creativity. I’m an artist at heart. Right now, I’m thinking about just taking a black pen and drawing dragons all over my stairwell. How fun would that be?

I feel happiest on the beach with my feet in the sand – especially if it’s a cold, foggy beach. I like feeling the elements and smelling the air. Looking out and being unable to see what’s on the other side sends me into a world of possibilities, and my imagination floats away.

That’s me!

If you feel moved by any of my values or the beliefs I’ve shared here, or just generally fancy a good chat, I’d love to hear from you!

Drop me an email at sarah@novoda.com and let’s grab a coffee.

Sarah Gruneisen Director of Engineering