Lynne Oldham is a highly successful global chief people officer and business leader with 20 years of experience in strategic human resources leadership and key talent acquisition in various industries, driving profitable growth strategies for startups, private and public companies and international organizations.
She was the chief people officer of Zoom Video Communications, starting right before the pandemic outbreak in January 2019. The next three years at the company, which will forever indelibly be linked to the Covid-19 time period, was an interesting and exhilarating experience.
Zoom exploded and the organization had to staff up quickly. Since the pandemic started, it brought on an average of 150 to 200 new employees per month–more than doubling its workforce from 2,400 pre-pandemic to 5,000 today. Oldham spent the past three years at Zoom, where she quintupled the employee base, led to the highest engagement scores on record and helped Zoom meet unprecedented demand as revenue surged to $4 billion.
Hiring from anywhere has created “exciting” opportunities to diversify the workforce. Overnight, the organization suddenly began hiring remote-first employees, opening up a world of possibilities. This included underserved candidates who may not have lived in the geographical area around Zoom office locations, LGBTQ applicants who may face increased pressure to conform to gender norms in on-site workplaces and disabled workers who benefit from their at-home accommodations.
Here are some of the lessons Oldham learned from two years at a company that revolutionized work from home and surged in growth to meet demand:
- Hire fast, but never neglect quality or values fit.
- Scaling is all about getting execution right, especially cross-departmental alignments. Diagnosis of a problem, root cause, solution, as well as clear definition of ownership is a rubric that works.
- Transparent, clear and continuous communication is key.
- Ensure all employees understand the value they are bringing to the company–from their direct manager, as well as senior leadership.
- Do not underestimate the criticality of creating and perpetuating a sense of belonging for all.
- Meeting hygiene is so important, including leaving time not to have meetings.
She said about her experience, “It probably sounds like it felt chaotic and crazy. But actually, we stayed very calm because we had already hired a great talent acquisition team. We had launched structured interviewing to keep us fast and consistent. [We kept] one foot in front of the other–marching to our numbers.”
Oldham has recently moved to Stash, the subscription platform that empowers everyday Americans to invest and build wealth. Oldham, one of the country’s most innovative and admired people leaders, is now the chief people officer and a member of the Stash executive team.
She said about her new and exciting role, “Stash is uniquely positioned to change the lives of millions of Americans, giving the 99% more economic power. It’s time to close the wealth gap.” Oldham, happy to be with yet another fast-growing, cool company, added, “I am ready to once again lead a company through transformative growth, so they can achieve and exceed their goals.”
In a LinkedIn post, Oldham shared her heartfelt reasons for joining Stash. She wrote, “There are so many things we look for in an employer, some obviously more critical than others–the most critical for me are PURPOSE/MISSION, LEADERSHIP and CULTURE. Stash represented for me a powerful convergence of all three.”
The ethos of Stash—changing the status quo to help everyday Americans build, invest and grow wealth—resonated with her. “When I heard what their mission was all about, it really excited me.” Oldham continued, “When I was young, we didn’t have a lot of money. Investing and money weren’t things my family instilled in us. When you think about the wealth gap in the United States, it just keeps getting bigger over the last 40 years. The top 1% owns 50% of the country’s stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Stash helps the people who aren’t able to get access to the things they need to grow their nest eggs, and that speaks to me.”
She added, “For the majority of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, investing was outside their reach and Stash has changed that. Stash has articulated a purpose, which extends beyond profit-making. This is a MEANINGFUL WHY I can get behind.”
It’s also about people and relationships. “From the first day I met Brandon Krieg, CEO of Stash, I knew he was the real deal. He and Ed Robinson (president) struck me as authentically and transparently believing in and fighting for their cause, not delegating it to others. In addition to embodying the purpose, they understand that their PEOPLE are imperative to their mission, so their view of the HR/People team is not transactional but strategic,” she wrote in the post.
Krieg, CEO and Cofounder of Stash, said in a LinkedIn article about the fintech startup, “Today I’m sharing that this flexible, hybrid way of working will be our go-forward model. Everyone at Stash has the choice to work wherever they would like. We are also looking to open office hubs around the country that enable people to gather as frequently as they want to share ideas cross-functionally and enjoy being together in person.”
Based on employee surveys and feedback, Stash offers the following employee empowerment policies and initiatives:
- Every Stash employee has a choice in where they work, whether that’s full-time in one of its office spaces, full-time remote or telecommuting. Stash does not require formal schedules for people and will not mandate that people have to work in an office for a fixed number of days.
- Every Stash employee will have the opportunity to visit either its New York City or London offices to meet colleagues, collaborate with team members and ultimately enjoy each other’s company. While this will not be required, Stash appreciates the benefits many find in fostering in-person relationships.
- Every team can decide on the schedule that works best for them individually and as a whole. This means that those who are in a different time zone, or who prefer early-morning or late-night work, can align with their colleagues to find a solution that’s beneficial for everyone.
- Every Stash employee has a voice. The company is highly aware that its new way of working is just that: new. As it puts its hybrid model into practice, there will inevitably be room for iteration and feedback. Stash is committed to a solution that delivers equal access to communications, equal opportunity to input into decisions and equal opportunity for career growth. Regardless of their role at Stash, every employee has room to speak up and be heard.
Oldham remarked, “I am happy that Stash is a different kind of company that leads with its mission and whose leaders are living the values and responsive to their employees.” She is very glad to have joined the company, as it hits an inflection point of growth. “Everything I’ve done so far has led me to this moment and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
This may be another wild ride for Oldham. She joins Stash at a period of record-breaking growth for the pioneering fintech, which serves more than 6 million customers across the U.S.
“Stash is scaling fast, and our ambitions go well beyond our incredible product growth,” said Krieg. “We are building an innovative, hybrid culture laser-focused on our mission of empowering everyday Americans to build wealth. Lynne’s track record of high-velocity hiring, paired with her ability to develop an engaged, happy team, speaks for itself.”
Stash knew Oldham was the right person, especially as the company plans to double in size yet again, quickly surpassing 500 employees nationally and in the U.K. In 2021, the company announced a $125 million Series G led by Eldridge. The company is poised to surpass $100 million in annualized recurring revenue this year.
Stash has launched a suite of innovative products, wrapped with personal advice and educational tools, to help middle-class Americans invest in themselves. Stash Smart Portfolios—set-it-and-forget-it managed accounts with crypto exposure—were launched in the past year. To date, nearly half a million people have signed up for Smart Portfolios with thousands more Stashers opening accounts every day.