It might not be the most obvious career transition, but for former circus performer Sunni Cooper it was a seamless step from the trapeze to the tech sector. “I’ve always been super fascinated with narrative – I read up to three books a week, that kind of love – and I’ve worked in a publishing company before, as well as the circus and various public and private sector organisations. I realised there are so many people making cool shit on the internet, and I wanted to be part of that, and Envato appealed as a leading example of this.”
A former marketing and communications specialist for organisations like the University of Melbourne and the State Library of Victoria, Sunni initially had reservations about how her work experience would apply in a such a different setup in her role as a Digital Producer. “I’m a language person, and I originally wasn’t sure how much of a good fit I would be. I even explicitly asked that question at my interview – I said I have a background quite different to a lot of your employees and how will that pan out?”
“The chats I had with people around the business made me feel a lot better and very comfortable with the decision to shift into tech. There were people from a lot of different backgrounds, but like me, they all wanted to work for a place where people do exciting and positive work.”
A fairytale come true
Sunni is just one of a handful of new starters at Envato in the last six months, part of a new generation of ‘unicorns’ in the tech sector who are choosing to take their skills and apply them at one of Victoria’s fast-growing startups. It’s part of a wider sector-push lead by LaunchVic to attract talented professionals from a diverse range of career backgrounds into a career in the local tech sector.
Concerns about not having the right skills for a job in tech were also front of mind for Envato’s new Author Communications Coordinator Steve Lamattina. “I guess my journey was never aimed squarely at working in tech, it was just an environment and topic I was interested in more generally. I’d never really considered tech at all before, as I didn’t believe I had the skills required for a tech company.”
“My fear was that I wasn’t qualified to work within tech, as my skill set was focussed on communications and media more generally. I thought that you either had to be a product manager, a developer, or a CEO. And although I technically had a taste of CEO-life in a small arts organisation, I definitely did not consider that path!”
It took working for a small Barcelona-based startup who focussed on mobile apps and email tools to open up the door. “After working with people who have a passion for technology, I realised that this was also where one of my interests lay. These interests roam pretty far and wide, as my work history can attest, but I decided to follow this thread and see where it led.”
For Steve, the change has been a positive one “I love the people I work with and have found most people to be good collaborators who are easy to talk to. There’s a level of trust and agency that can be hard to find within other workplaces. I also find it very accepting, and being part of the queer community, I’ve felt super welcome and have joined the LGBTIQ+ committee which has a bunch of passionate, friendly members.”
What’s in a name
Envato’s name in the local tech sector also appealed to Product Manager Richard Burke. “(It) has a good name in the Melbourne tech community. After my role in the State government, I was looking to move to a more tech-focused and nimble organisation that has a history of delivering good products.”
“Envato is actually a bigger organisation than what I was thinking of joining, but after talking with the team I felt I had a lot to offer in terms of my Government experience and being at Internode during their growth phase.”
And Richard says he has joined at a perfect time. “Envato is investing in growing its product practice, so it’s an exciting time to join and be a part of that. I can see that my career is following a similar path as I want to focus more on the people and ensuring good product practice, and as the company grows there will be other opportunities.”
On the path of growth
Professional growth was also high on the priority list for Product Marketing Specialist Madeleine Rochecouste. While no stranger to the startup scene, having co-founded the company behind portable coffee machine NowPresso, Madeleine was keen to boost her experience and skills by working within a larger tech company.
“The first thing that attracted me to Envato was the ‘Working for Envato’ video. I was really inspired by the team members and CEO, the culture, values and work environment, and what they are looking for in someone who wants to work there. I just knew Envato was going to be an awesome place to work and grow.
“It’s turned out exactly like the video, but even better as I am now, fortunately, a part of it! From the moment I joined I have felt so welcome, respected, included and encouraged. I love the agile work culture, clear communication and our productivity working together as a team. I am so grateful for the guidance and growth I have already experienced working at Envato.”
For more information about the unicorns of the local tech sector, check out LaunchVic’s ScaleUp campaign.