Yena announce Abby Scarborough as Director ahead of new developments
How long should you build foundations before starting on the building itself? Well, that all depends on how big you want that building to be.
With 6 years of foundations under our belt, it’s safe to say we’re pretty set on building something pretty grand – not out of grandeur, but simply relative to the work that needs to be done to deliver on the mission we have: to help anyone, anywhere, start & grow a business.
You might say that Yena was started as a ‘movement’ in 2013 (when it was an acronym, instead of a noun) and what followed from that very first meetup was 3 years of solo driving up and down the motorway between 4 UK cities, connecting people, charging them nothing, making no money, not really understanding why, but just knowing it had to be done.
Then, in 2016 a few things changed.
People started to ask about products or services that Yena might offer – none of which existed at the time, which prompted the creation of a subscription service that would appeal to the modest yet diverse community that Yena had already attracted.
Apparently not content with things actually making sense as a business at this point, I grabbed a coffee with a recent university graduate who had attended one of our events and by the end of the hour, offered her a job – a job I didn’t have to give and a job I couldn’t afford to employ for (I wasn’t even paying myself at the time). However, offering full autonomy (I didn’t really know how to manage), choice of job title (what do you call the second generalist in a startup anyway?) and a fair amount of food & drink (more of an excuse to indulge myself more anyway) seemed to help ease the wheels of what would eventually become a fast moving machine of a startup.
That person was Abby Scarborough – someone who has since grown to become a core part of what Yena is, helping initially to hone the product and managing events but eventually, essentially, becoming the force that keeps my magpie-personality in balance.
Over the 3+ years she’s been in the role, Abby’s input has seen those 4 initial meetups pale in comparison to 18 cities we’re now live in, managed by 31 hosts in 6 countries across multiple time zones, attracting 3,500+ people, for free, to connect each year.
She’s even become the descriptor for many startups looking for ‘an Abby’ to support their own companies; a testament to her recent shortlisting as FutureSpark in the regions SPARKIEs awards.
Since day one Abby has proved her worth many times over. For all of the reasons above, and the many more that I’m sure will be told in stories to come, she has rightfully earned herself a place on the cap table for the company as a shareholder with title COO to be utilised once we grow the team (we both believe that C-level titles are a bit pretentious & frankly not relevant in a 2-person organisation).
On that note, there are big plans afoot that you’ll be seeing more about in the months to come, with team growth making up just one part of the vision that will be revealed soon.
I’m excited to grow a hopefully remarkable business, just like our members are and I know it will be easier with Abby helping to lead the way.