Eliane Lugassy, CEO and Founder of Witco
After studying business law and obtaining a degree from ESSEC, Eliane began her career at Rothschild & Co in Paris on Mergers and Acquisitions. She accompanied several real estate projects, including the sale of the “Cœur Défense” building.
In 2016, she left finance to create Witco an application that improves tenant experience in all buildings while facilitating their management.
Connect with Eliane on LinkedIn.
Intro: [00:00:02] Welcome to Daring To, a podcast that finds out how CEOs and entrepreneurs navigate today’s business world, the conventions they’re breaking, the challenges they faced, and the decisions that they’ve made. And lastly, just what makes them different?.
Rita Trehan: [00:00:19] Well, good afternoon, and welcome – if your – or morning or evening, wherever it may be that you’re listening and whatever time of the world that you’re in. We are a global podcast which is so exciting. And actually, my guest today is in Paris. I’m in the UK and this has been recorded in the US. So, if we ever wanted to know about global hybrid working, I guess this is it in action.
Rita Trehan: [00:00:40] I’m really pleased, actually very excited because we’ve got not only an amazing woman on our podcast today, Eliane Lugassy, who is the CEO and Co-Founder of Witco. So, kudos to you, and also you’re a woman founder of a tech company. I mean, you know, I hate to say it, but they’re few and far between, and there needs to be more of them. So, I think your story today is going to be really exciting. You are the co-founder of a company called Witco, which is an app. It’s a smart building app, as I understand it, that makes commercial and residential buildings more serviceable, more collaborative, and flexible, and enhances the experience for everybody in it.
Rita Trehan: [00:01:22] We’re going to talk a little bit about that, and particularly because in this environment today, post-COVID, hybrid working and everything, it’s probably a really relevant product at service to be talking about.
Rita Trehan: [00:01:34] But there are three things that we really want to focus on today, your journey into the entrepreneurial tech space, the challenges of the work environment today and what that brings to organizations, and why you’re so passionate about it if you write a lot about it, and clearly your product is all about that. And then lastly, a little bit about you as a leader because you’ve come a long way.
Rita Trehan: [00:01:57] So, here you are, somebody that studied law and business, like work for this amazing, really well-known brand, Rothschild and company, and worked on mergers and acquisitions. That’s not easy. You know, it’s a tough job, but it’s a big, you know, global brand, global career. And then, suddenly one day you wake up and you go, “You know what? I think I’m going to go start my own business.” Now, that’s a pretty bold decision to step out for anybody. For a woman entrepreneur, it’s three times as hard. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey into the entrepreneurial world? How easy a decision was it for you?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:02:35] Yeah, sure. Happy to. So, I think you summarized it well, you summarized it well. So, yes, I did law and then investment banking. I wanted to be always challenged and to always challenge myself to higher standards. So, I spent three years investment banking, and then every three years you are promoted. So, I got promoted and I thought, “Okay, the longer you stay, the harder it is to leave this kind of environment because you know you are well-paid and everything is done for you to stay.” On my part, I thought, “Okay, I’m still under 30 years old and I don’t have any children and any other family to support heavily.” So, it’s my shot to just try and I believe that’s something where it should be done in the future of work environment at the time.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:03:24] So, I tried, maybe I was a bit naive, but I didn’t see it as like a mountain, you know. I just thought it like, “Okay, something needs to be done.” And I think the product, I imagine, would like to do – like the bigger part of the people, not just me. And then, you know, one step at a time, I figured a product that could actually work and that people would buy. Because it’s not just something that you imagine, it’s also something that you need to have people to buy for. So, that’s how it happened. So, I think to be quite honest, I didn’t imagine it would be that hard. And I just thought, “Okay, this is a challenge. Let’s go step by step.”
Rita Trehan: [00:04:11] Well, and you know, it’s interesting that you were probably ahead of your time if you think about it really when you first thought about Witco, because, you know, we weren’t in the midst, really. We were kind of in the midst of hybrid working. There were lots of discussion about should people work from home or not work from home. The whole idea about workplace wellbeing and like individual spending a lot of their time at work. You and I both know in the corporate world we’ve spent hours in the office. It is really where most people – you know, their working life, it takes up a lot of your hours.
Rita Trehan: [00:04:44] But you were kind of ahead of the curve, really, because, you know, the challenges today are 10 times more than they were when you probably thought about the idea and people are demanding more. Individuals want a different kind of experience. You know, this whole desire for personalization is hitting everything. Technology has advanced so much. So, what is it about Witco and what it offers that you think is really helping to address the challenges that a lot of leaders and organizations are right now are really struggling with?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:05:18] I think you should take it from the beginning. Like, 2016 was not a time where it was such a struggle to find talent and retain them. But it was starting to appear because, like, especially the younger generation wanted to – wanted something different and they wanted to be considered. And they didn’t want to be like just one person inside the organization, but they wanted to have a job that matters.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:05:42] So, I think it was the beginning of this trend. And for sure, when COVID hits, it’s accelerated this trend. But it started, like, to me in 2015, 16, especially when we were – they said the same thing at the time was a workplace should be an experience. So, this was the beginning. But for sure, the shortage of talent and the shift towards some, like a workplace that is more flexible and also a way of managing people changed over time. And I think maybe the consecration was more like during COVID for sure because everything had to be changed so quickly.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:06:19] So, yes, it’s accelerated. But the trend already existed, in my opinion. And for my part, I just thought, okay, you guys, like my employer was expecting so much from me that in return I wanted a software that was very easy to use. And that will also make me more efficient because I don’t have time to lose, to chase someone to fix the incidents, the [inaudible] that doesn’t work. If I forgot my badge, I wanted someone, like just – why can’t I just use an app? I can’t enter a building, or, no, I can’t enter like a train or a plane with the QR code that I could not without my phone. It was like entering a building. So, why? So, I just wanted to remove all those pains that were not having me focused on my work.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:07:07] And then, as you mentioned, COVID raised other concerns. Meaning, how do I manage a workplace that is not just on sites? And, how do I make sure they stay engaged?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:07:21] So, this app is not just only to make sure that people are efficient, but also to make sure that they stay engaged because they are part of a community. They are part of a company, and the company’s culture was before only made of the workplace. But tomorrow is, yes, the workplace, but not only. You need to keep this link between the company and the employees. And this is what we are trying to do also with this app.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:07:44] And, when they have to go to the office, it’s very easy to use. They know where they will sit. This is also one of the trouble and you say, okay, I don’t have my desk anymore, but that’s fine because I know that – okay, I know who is on the right, on the left today, so I can book this place. I will be surrounded by people I know, or maybe this is people that don’t know. That’s great because this is an opportunity for me also to meet new people that I can’t do at home.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:08:11] So, this is all the thing about H.R. management – the H.R. people that need to think of how to – how do I reorganize the workplace and how do I make sure people in place are still engaged and they are still happy to be part of this culture and this company. And, we are trying to help them with this app.
Rita Trehan: [00:08:36] What’s really interesting I think about when you talk about it, I mean, you bring up the H.R. organization and, you know, it warms my heart to hear, you know, you’re making that connection between the role of like something that is about organization productivity, it’s about engagement, it’s about experience and connecting it to the H.R. function. Because often people would go like, “Well, that sounds like – isn’t that to do with like how you manage the building? Isn’t that about how you like organize meetings and that?” But actually, it doesn’t sound, but that’s what you’re trying to get at. It sounds like you’re trying to get at something much deeper than that about making the workplace, where people can be the best that they can.
Rita Trehan: [00:09:15] And, I guess it’s a kind of a wake-up call for H.R. And I’ll quote you in something that you said that really struck me, that which was around the 2022 challenges. We are now in 2022 and we are right at the start of it. The challenge now is to design a hybrid model that meets employee expectations while maintaining team cohesion and motivation. 2022 will be an exercise in empathy. I’m really curious about that. However, balancing the needs of your team with the bottom line.
Rita Trehan: [00:09:46] What’s your call to H.R.? Because I don’t see any of them stepping up, and they surely should be in highlighting what you are trying to bring to the forefront, I think, with Witco, which is like we’re losing a lot of productivity and we’re also losing a lot of what people can bring and to the experience themselves, so they bring themselves to work and do the best that they can. I mean, how do you get that message across to an organization?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:10:13] In my opinion, and especially today, H.R. managers understood that things need to change the way people are managed and the way the company culture is spread. So, I think it is a matter more of how are we going to organize ourselves because everything has changed so quickly. That’s for sure. We are experiencing a phase where there will be struggling.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:10:43] You know, at the beginning they were thinking maybe it’s just the beginning of COVID. In six months, it will be over with it. And now, they’re realizing even when COVID will be over, things won’t go back to normal for most of the companies if they want to hire and retain tenants. So, it’s a big shift, and I need to admit also that most of the time the clients that we are having, or even the prospects we are talking to, they are really listening to what is going on in the market and what can be done in these aspects.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:11:16] And, again, it’s as you said and I mentioned, it is a balance between having people productive. So, it’s not just to stay home to relax and to not be as productive, but it’s also a way of, okay, I trust them, and to keep like to have objectives and not just hours you put in the office, and you say, “Okay, your hours, your objectives for this quarter. This is this. We have check-ins regularly and then I trust you to do your best and to choose whether it is better for you to go to the office, to see other employees, other people in your department because you also need collaboration and the time also you need to have to work for deep work at home and focus on it to deliver on time.”
Eliane Lugassy: [00:12:06] So, to me, it’s a combination of trust and also control. You know, you check, but you also need to trust, and I think this is moving into the right direction. And also, the managers need also shifts. It’s not just the H.R. It’s also the managers.
Rita Trehan: [00:12:24] Yeah. So, how are you helping organizations get value from the insights that Witco can bring by having sort of like this seamless integration rather than having like, you know, 15 different ways to book a meeting room, communicate with somebody, know if somebody is in town or not, whether you’re working from home or not. I mean, how are you providing insights that are helping them to make good decisions, not just about the workplace, but obviously about the work experience as well? We know that, you know, right now that’s really important. How is your product helping to do that?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:12:59] Yeah. So, the idea is to be – to have this single app where it’s become like the companion of the employees. So, through this app, they should be able to have all the services available to them and very easy to use. So, it could be a mapping where I could see, “Okay, where should I sit today?” And then, I click on it and I book the desk for the week, depending on the limitations and also the settings of our clients.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:13:24] They can also say, “Oh, okay. I’m coming to the office tomorrow. Who will be attending to?” So, that’s interesting. So, I know that for lunch, I won’t be alone because what we are seeing today is people coming to the office, but the floor is empty. So, why am I coming? Why am I commuting for an hour if at the end of the day it’s the same as working from home?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:13:43] So, what we’re trying to say is, okay, you’re coming tomorrow, let’s book meetings because you need to work with other people. And also, if you don’t have anyone, like, physically near you, at least you know who is attending today, and you can also break the ice and say, “Oh, hi. We don’t know each other specifically, but maybe we can have lunch together.” And also, again, it brings humanity on top of what is happening as well. So, just taking maybe this COVID situation as an opportunity also to do things differently and also to meet new people and to what are the [inaudible] also – so people you will not maybe meet in real life or maybe not come across.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:14:21] So, this is what we are trying to do for employees, but also for H.R. managers where they can see the occupancy rates of the buildings and, for instance, organize better, for instance, the shifts of the teams. And also, for instance, what we do for us is we make sure that at the same day, we need to have a sales team present the same day as the developers, so they interact with each other and it’s like one team, and we are – every time we make sure it’s not just every day, the same people, the same time at the office, but, for instance, it’s product one day with CSM and et cetera, et cetera.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:14:56] So, also with this app, they manage to say, okay, who is coming, who is not coming in terms of teams and foster the collaboration and when, for instance, you see someone like a team never coming to the office, it’s also a way of saying, “Oh, what is going on?” So, you have like a dashboard to see what is going on and not just rely on managers telling you, yes, it’s perfect. Everything is going great. So, we start –
Rita Trehan: [00:15:20] But I guess it’s assuming – it’s providing me with some insights on employee behavior and sort of like experience [inaudible]
Eliane Lugassy: [00:15:26] And engagement as well.
Rita Trehan: [00:15:29] Yeah,
Eliane Lugassy: [00:15:29] Yeah.
Rita Trehan: [00:15:30] So, let’s talk a little bit about this. You know, do you think the hybrid environment is here to stay? I mean, there’s been a lot of – you know, we can read all the stats. You know, we can we see that a lot of people are, particularly among young people, the stats are saying like mental health of being isolated, of not being with other people is a massive – has had a massive effect. There are others that are saying, forget the workplace. Everybody likes working at home. We’re going to work from home. Offices go away. What’s your view? I mean, it’s a big challenge right now. How do you bridge that gap with what you’re trying to do?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:16:05] I do believe hybrid work is here to stay. Definitely. For how long? I will not comment on that, but for sure, it’s – will not going to – will not going to disappear like after the COVID period, and especially because I think people are eager for flexibility. And, you know, some people can be willing to come every day in the office because they feel better, you know, being surrounded by people, the energy that comes with it and also because this is the way they like to work. And that’s definitely fine. And flexibility needs to also say, “Okay. You want to come in every day. This is possible.” We’re not just asking you to leave the office two or three days a week because we have budget constraints. No, I don’t think this is a signal we need to send.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:16:51] And, at the same time, I think there should be limits where like you need to see employees once in a while and if, for instance, someone never wants to come, it’s an issue, in my opinion, because otherwise, you know, you don’t create a culture with committed people attached to the company and at some point, you need to see them.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:17:10] So, I don’t believe in fully remote teams. I don’t believe at some point you are as efficient because collaboration is key, and to be efficient in collaboration, you need to see people. And, there is like so many, so much communication that is not verbal. That is like – so it is necessary to have physical meetings and especially, I believe, for junior people and for women. We saw that it was not the best way to operate.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:17:44] Like, especially like for younger people, you need to – you know, you have a way of replicating what you saw that you can’t do when it’s just through Zoom. So, you’re learning curve is not the same. So, again, I think a mix of on sites and working from home is best. And, everyone needs to also think, how do I organize myself tomorrow? And, if, for instance, this hybridization is not perfect, they need to know themselves and maybe ask for more flexibility. Can I come in every day or can I come a little less for this period of time because I have this and this? But don’t worry, in terms of objectives, I will be there.
Rita Trehan: [00:18:22] So, it sounds like, you know, you’re trying to address a couple of things there. I mean, you also talked about like the women’s piece. There’s been a lot of discussion about proximity bias and by not being in the office. Women are – you know, unfortunately, I’m working from home. Like, traditional stereotypes are coming back because women are at home now and they are being kind of pushed back into that traditional role of juggler of all and therefore not necessarily viewed from a company perspective as in the same way. They are not seen, not heard kind of thing. And it’s like, “Oh, will you be able to cope with all of this?”
Rita Trehan: [00:19:01] So, that’s something I guess that we need to address and that hopefully is sort of captured in some of the technology and data that you’ll be able to provide with your product.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:19:10] Yeah. Sorry.
Rita Trehan: [00:19:14] No, go on, carry on.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:19:15] Yeah. We try to help with this product for sure, but at some point, it’s also how you use it and especially, for instance, for women. That’s why I thought for me, we need to have like a minimum where someone can say, I’m never coming back. You know, I’m not coming. Because we need to see also people. And if, for instance, women are told you guys we expect you to come in in the office, then you know, you mitigate this risk of, for instance, women just saying, “Oh, yes, but I have other things I prefer to stay home.” No. We forced you to come because we want you to feel part of the company and we need to see your face as well so that you are not disadvantaged because you are not seen by the top management. So, at some point, that’s why also like limitations, like limits to – a principle needs to be also set.
Rita Trehan: [00:20:08] So, let’s talk a bit. I mean, a lot of this is also about how you lead, right? It’s about the leadership, so commitment to understanding the importance of this, and then actually applying that using the technology and applying that in ways that demonstrates good leadership.
Rita Trehan: [00:20:22] Let’s talk about a little bit. Let’s kind of switch gears a little bit and talk about you as a leader. I mean, you know, woman entrepreneur in the tech industry and leaders don’t know yet, but, you know, you raised 14 million dollars of funding. I mean, that’s pretty hard to do for anybody. Is it more difficult as a woman to go and try and raise that money, or do you think that the issues and the challenges are the same?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:20:49] I would go against figures if I were to tell you that these are the same for women and men. I would say it can be harder, but I will not pretend it was that hard for me, at least now, because when we raise, like, a few months ago, we had product-market fit and we had good figures. And then, for sure, I think from my investment banking product, I know how to talk to men. You know, it’s like you need to learn how the system works, and then you fit right into it, so you need to show confidence.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:21:22] And I think where we are lacking as women is, we try to under-promise and overdeliver. But when you under-promise, like, and you are against other men saying, yes, I can just go to the moon and I will make you a billion-dollar company in five years. And when you have like a woman next door and saying, yes, I would try to do my best, et cetera, you are not selling your stuff as well as men. And, I think that’s where we are lacking as women. It’s confidence. So, I would urge them if I were to give some advice is just to feel confident and a bit more than we are used to do.
Rita Trehan: [00:22:05] I love the phrase. Like, you know, underpromote and overdeliver. I think, you know, if there’s a phrase that the women listeners and men listeners on the podcast this week for them just to go back and like just keep that in their mind. You know, am I underpromoting and overdelivering? And perhaps, you know, I need to start overpromoting.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:22:26] That great.
Rita Trehan: [00:22:26] And I think that’s a great nugget of insight. But tell me, you know, you started with a team of five. It’s quite good when it’s just a really small team. It’s something that a lot of companies when they first start and it’s a small team. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody’s like geared up. We’ve all got the same passion. But, you know, success comes with growth, and with growth comes challenges of more people. And suddenly, there isn’t just five people that know everything. You’re now a team of 50. But tell me about some of the challenges of that, about finding the right people, the finding the right talent, building that team. What had been some of the highlights and sort of lessons learned from that for you?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:23:07] Yeah. Building a team and finding the right talents, to me, are the hardest parts, and especially because for tech companies, talents are key. You can’t do anything without the right talent, so they are the core of what we are trying to build. We don’t have any machines, et cetera. So, yes, that’s key.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:23:23] I would say values are also so important to make sure you hire – even if you hire more and more people, then we are all sticking to the right values because we believe in them and we understand each other. So, first, I would say values and the second aspect I would say over-communicate to your team and not just the CEO, but also the managers to the team to convey the mission, what are we doing. And I think this is the purpose of what we are doing, the mission that is driving us that make people motivated to come engage and willing to do their best.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:24:01] And I think I’m really in bad blood at the moment and what I feel that what struck me is that even if, you know, the machines were not working, people were so into it because they were thinking, “Okay, we are changing the health industry. We will not have used ones are like leaving us too soon because we didn’t have the means of detecting if they had any health issues, et cetera.” So, that’s why so many people just kept going, even if they were like so many struggles inside the company. And, I feel like this is so right because starting from scratch is hard and we will have obstacles all the time. But if we continue to see the bigger picture, okay, why am I doing this? What is the endgame to this? And, you have a healthy corporate culture, then I feel people can do their best and you can also thrive. So, I would say communicate the culture and make sure you hire people with the same values as you.
Rita Trehan: [00:25:04] Why do you think so many organizations struggle with that? I mean, like something that, you know.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:25:09] Because it’s so hard.
Rita Trehan: [00:25:11] Why is it so hard? Like, you know, why is it you think so hard? What is it that makes it so hard? I mean, it’s like, we know it. CEOs around the world say one of their biggest – always one of their top three concerns is like finding the right talent for their growth plans, making sure they’ve got the right culture. And why is it so difficult?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:25:32] I think because the culture is something – is evolving, and that’s also you need to materialize. It’s not just, yes, we want to work hard and we want to have, I don’t know, honest people, et cetera, et cetera. You need to materialize it on a day-to-day basis. Otherwise, it’s just values, but they are, like, not concrete.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:25:52] And that’s the most difficult part is on a day-to-day to repeat and also to feel, “Okay. Am I implementing those values? And, am I part of something bigger, and am I on this right track?” So, I would say once values are just -for one, values are great, but then we need to incarnate them.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:26:15] And the second part, especially today, is like there are more money than talents, to be honest. Like, it’s hard. Like, we are fighting for the right people to join our teams. And, only CEOs saying this is a lot of money is out there and you’re struggling because you are not like a company of five where you can promise, like, more shares and more proximity with the founders, et cetera, but we are not like a [inaudible] yet. Soon to be. So, we can’t say, “Oh, yes, you would be part of like the hottest companies in the world,” because we’re not there yet. We are in the middle. So, how do I engage them while I am in the middle?
Rita Trehan: [00:26:57] So, I guess a lot of that must, you know, I mean, money is a factor. We know that. But often the research says it’s more than that. It’s about the experience that they get or the manager that they work for. I mean, is there – you know, there’s a lot going on right now with the four-day working week. We’re seeing loads of people also talking about the great resignation. People are leaving [inaudible] the companies that they work for. People are making different decisions.
Rita Trehan: [00:27:21] But let’s start in the four-day working week. I think you and I might have a different view on this. So, you know, we’ve just piloted in the UK here. They have just piloted – a certain number of companies have gone to a four-day working week. There’s been lots of discussions. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? You know, obviously, an app like Witco could help from that perspective, but fundamentally it comes back to some of the things that you know your product was based on. Is it a good thing or not?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:27:46] I don’t know what your stance is, but I would say, in my opinion, it’s not. I don’t think that people [inaudible] intend to work less. But, again, the intent to work on something that matters. And if you tell them, if you work five days a week but this is for something bigger than you, they might do it more easily. For sure, if it’s something that you’re doing, you know, automatically and you don’t exactly know what you are doing it, it’s boring and you just want to leave work. What I’m saying don’t apply, but this is [inaudible] right, but this is what managers are for. They need to inspire the workforce, not to work less, but to work better and to understand why they work.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:28:35] So, that’s why I think – like, maybe also because I’m a heavy worker, I like to work a lot, but also because I enjoy it. So, that’s why I think – the issue is not if we work too much is are we enjoying what we do? And, when you enjoy what you do, it’s like it’s become a passion. You don’t see the line between pleasure and work, but that’s the point. If you don’t really feel, okay, I’m doing something that I enjoy. For sure, you will want to work less. So my point is.
Rita Trehan: [00:29:04] So, maybe they’re missing the point. Maybe we’re missing the point. It isn’t about a four-day working week. It isn’t about five-day working week. It isn’t about a seven-day working week. Maybe it’s back to what you said at the beginning. It’s about trust. Like giving people – like, you know, there’s a certain amount of work to be done. Trust the people that they’re going to get the work done in the hours that are allocated and worry less about is it a four-day working week or a five-day working week. And, are people being productive and being as efficient and as effective and giving their best at work? I don’t know, but you’ve actually prompted me to think like actually is the problem, really, not about the hours, but about, like, how you create the work environment and that is engaging enough that people want to deliver and want to feel part something [inaudible]. I don’t know. Like, you know.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:29:50] Yeah, but –
Rita Trehan: [00:29:51] Like, maybe we’ve been addressing the wrong problem.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:29:54] Maybe.
Rita Trehan: [00:29:55] Yeah.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:29:55] At some point, again, I do believe, especially for startups, that we are judged and the whole system is based on pace and rapidity. And at some point, like, even if you are a leader, at some point you need to put in the hours. And I would – the metaphor I would use is you don’t become a champion by going less to the court. You go more and more than everybody else. And this is how you stand up.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:30:23] And at some point, depending on the kind of companies you are in, I didn’t pick which side because I wanted to work less. I wanted to be so much challenged. Like, it was something I was looking for. And, if at some point you need or you want to attract the best ones, maybe you will want – you would say, okay, I will not go to this company because, okay, the company’s culture is different than mine. And if I want to learn a lot and, yes, maybe it was very challenging, as I said. But on the other side, I learned so much so quickly.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:30:53] So, again, to me, it depends on also the company size and stability, I don’t know. But, especially for tech companies, you need to go so fast to take the market that if you just – even if, like, in four days, to me, I can’t do anything and I work so like long hours. So, I’m not saying that everyone should be like me, especially like CEOs, it’s particular. But at some point, if you want to overachieve, you need to do more than average people, average [inaudible].
Rita Trehan: [00:31:24] I guess that’s how entrepreneurs have shown their difference, the ones that have the staying power to understand, you know, probably get the right talent, make sure you’ve got the right people on board to help you get there, and be really passionate about what you do. I mean, you’re clearly, like, very passionate about what you do.
Rita Trehan: [00:31:42] I have one last question, well two, actually. There’s something else that you said that really resonated and I think will resonate with our listeners, which is, you’ve said the challenge of a workplace is that we need a society where you can progress by your own merit. It saddens me when the system seems broken due to gender or social discrimination.
Rita Trehan: [00:32:03] You talk a lot about meritocracy. So, tell me like, what does that mean to you? I mean, it’s obviously that statement, that sentence like clearly is something that comes from a deep self-belief, and it’s very powerful. And I think it hits at the heart of what a lot of people, individuals experience today, and the need for inclusive cultures has never been more so and I mean inclusivity in its broadest sense. Tell me a little bit about meritocracy and what that means for you.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:32:31] Yeah. Yeah. To me, it’s something very – that I strongly believe in, especially because I think I’m an illustration of it. I think if you, again, work hard, you can achieve it but by your own merits. So, I tend to say the same to my team. So, you will have the place that you will take and that you will deserve and not because for some like network or some connection that you’ve made. That’s not how we operate.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:33:03] So, for sure, you can’t treat people exactly the same way depending on the background. But as much as possible, I expect people to be treated fairly and objectively. And when, you know, when we talked about [inaudible], this is what they are for. It is not like a subjective review. It’s objective. “Okay. What did you do? What did you bring to the table so I can promote or not promote?”
Eliane Lugassy: [00:33:31] So, yes, to me this is the core of every organization and once – and when meritocracy is broken, this is very hard to keep people motivated because, you know, what’s the point? I didn’t get promoted, but it is not based on my merits, on my demerits. It’s because I was not like friends with my manager. So, that’s not fair.
Rita Trehan: [00:33:53] So, it’s a really powerful insight. So, I ask every individual who comes on the podcast to share one daring to moment. So, what’s your daring to moment? [Inaudible] you’re daring to do going in the future, something that you’ve done. But what one daring to moment would you share with our listeners about you?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:34:12] Could you please rephrase your question?
Rita Trehan: [00:34:13] Yes, so daring to. What are you daring to try and do, pushing the boundaries of something? And, it could be something that you’ve done, something that you have an ambition to do that you could share with the listeners today.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:34:29] Is it daring to like something I avoid or something that is very challenging for me?
Rita Trehan: [00:34:33] Very challenging like that you want to do, that you want to change. I’m daring to change this or I’m daring to challenge something, or I’m daring to push the boundaries in some way.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:34:44] I would say, keep growing and again have my team as motivated as they want. Again, this is so hard and the value of this company is talent, so, you know, the bigger we are, the harder it is to stay close to them. And also with this COVID situation, where we are like all in the office and certainly not in the office, and then like everything is changing all the time, to me, yeah, the most challenging part is to keep them motivated and so they know what they are doing and why they are doing it, especially [inaudible] ambitious people, you need to fit them all the time. Otherwise, they get bored and, like, suddenly they are not here anymore. So, yeah, I would say that. Does that answer the question? I’m sorry [inaudible].
Rita Trehan: [00:35:33] Yeah. It’s great. And, I guess, you know, I think, you know, what I would end on with the listeners is, you know, Witco. I mean, you’ve shown how valuable it is in the countries that you serve. But the funding that – the series A funding that you’ve raised has really highlighted that this is a global issue, that there is a, you know, there’s a demand for it globally. So, you’re already expanding in the UK. This is not a, you know, a geographical-specific issue around the workplace of the future. So, it sounds like this is something that could be really helpful to organizations. And we do have a global listening – listener-based, so it’d be great for them to listen into this.
Rita Trehan: [00:36:10] So, if they want to find out more about what you’re doing about you, the company, how do they do that? Website, LinkedIn, Twitter? What’s the best way for them to know more?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:36:19] Yeah. Yeah. They can ask for a demo on our website or just information, or they can also contact me through LinkedIn. I’m very responsive, so we’ll be happy [inaudible].
Rita Trehan: [00:36:28] Okay. And your website address, what’s that? If they – what’s the website address?
Eliane Lugassy: [00:36:32] Yeah. witco.io. So, w-w-w, and, yeah, witco.io.
Rita Trehan: [00:36:37] Great. Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure to listen to you. You are very passionate about what you do. You can hear it as you speak. I think some of – you know, ahead of your time in coming up with with a, you know, an app that it’s only needed that goes beyond just sort of like, you know, how you manage but really gets the whole of employee experience. So, it’s been great having you as a guest.
Eliane Lugassy: [00:36:58] Thank you.
Rita Trehan: [00:36:58] If you want to know more about DARE Worldwide, then you can find out more on our website, www.dareworldwide.com. Also, check out our latest inclusivity index. It’s a diagnostic that has been endorsed by MIT and how you can take your organization from being purpose-driven to inclusivity-driven. It’s the future of where organizations go.
Rita Trehan: [00:37:19] So, thank you for listening. If you enjoyed it, please leave a comment, and look forward to seeing you again soon.
Rita Trehan: [00:37:25] Thanks for listening. Enjoyed the conversation? Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out on future episodes of Daring To. Also, check out our website, dareworldwide.com, for some great resources around the business in general, leadership, and how to bring about change. See you next time.