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Q&A with Iris Hermelin – VP of People at AnyRoad

Interview and Q&A with AnyRoad

At AnyRoad, we’ve always known that it’s all about the people. As we continue to invent and scale the platform for the global experience economy, our team of Roadies has grown from being able to fit in one elevator to now being spread across multiple cities and countries. We’ve always invested heavily in our culture, striving to build a team that’s diverse, creative, empathetic, and full of emotional intelligence. We keep our snacks budget low in order to invest more in our yearly AnyRoad Summit (the last one was a spectacular week in Barcelona before the pandemic). We continue to hone our flexible work framework so Roadie parents never have to choose between work and family. Almost a quarter of our team has been here for over 5 years – this retention speaks for itself.

It’s time now to double down on our People, and I’m beyond thrilled to announce that Iris Hermelin is joining our team as our first-ever Vice President of People, overseeing HR, Talent, and Culture. Throughout Iris’ career, she’s built a stellar track record of balancing operational excellence and a high bar for talent with a level of empathy and openness that’s rare in the technology community. As we’ve gotten to know each other over the last few months, it’s clear to me that she’s both thinking ten steps ahead of me, but also focused on the small things – because the small things are crucial to achieving the big dreams. 

When I asked one of the smartest tech leaders I know who the best people leader he’d ever met was, he didn’t hesitate in naming Iris. Iris has been a founder herself, as well as a leader of rocketships like Lyft, where she scaled Level-5, their self-driving division to over 400 people, including many of the world’s top AI engineers. 

Iris has already started building a world class people team here, and is excited to get to know our Roadies, as well as prospective candidates. We’re hiring for many roles in SF, Portland, Athens, and elsewhere! ( 

We’d love for you to get to know her better. 

Jonathan – Tell us about some of your previous achievements throughout your career.

Iris – In the last 20+ years I have been building and growing effective teams, as well as being a strategic HR partner to the business. I’ve established my own recruiting firm in the Bay Area and helped many tech companies of all sizes scale. My work is my hobby and I love connecting with people, getting to know them at a deeper level, and helping them execute on their goals and succeed with their ambitions. Each role I’ve started throughout the years presented me with new challenges that helped me grow and develop. At AnyRoad, I am excited to build and lead the People function while preserving the amazing culture as we scale.  

Jonathan – Why did you choose to join the AnyRoad team?

Iris – One thing that was very apparent to me when I was evaluating the position was: AnyRoad has an amazing culture that the founders are keen on preserving as the company grows. In every conversation we discussed the people and the investments we want to make in the team, as well as the close-knit community! For me, it’s all about the people and having strong leadership that genuinely cares, and I already feel so much welcomed to the AnyRoad family!

Jonathan – What are some of the core principles and values you consider essential for building and maintaining a great team?

Iris – When I think of growing great teams, a few things comes to mind: 

First of all, Strong Emotional Intelligence is important, particularly at the leadership level, but not only. It’s been 25 years since Daniel Goleman published the book Emotional Intelligence. During that time, it’s become an important part of the management toolkit and corporate jargon . Today many people leaders see it as one of the successful levers to foster communication between diverse cohorts of employees.

Successful companies also encourage curiosity and learning as well as diversity of thought. As a people leader, I encourage this by advocating for practices that foster diversity in the workplace and create a more inclusive culture.As a  result the company will see more innovation and collaboration as people feel comfortable bringing their ‘authentic self’ to work.

Finally, when it comes to hiring, I prioritize potential as there’s almost never a perfect fit, but with the right potential and coaching the sky’s the limit.

There are many more important principles and values but the secret formula is hiring people with the right attributes that contribute positively to the culture, and foster collaboration and psychological safety, while having amazing potential for the role! 

P.S. We’re hiring. Check out our open roles here

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