25 May 2023
Company4 Minutes, 32 Seconds read

Meet Stitch Head of People, Thelma Janse van Rensburg

Get to know Stitch Head of People Thelma Janse van Rensburg, and learn more about how the People Team at Stitch ensures we attract and nurture the best talent, to set the whole company up for success.

Lucille Wilcox, Content Marketing Manager

1. Describe your job to a 10-year-old.

You know how you go to school (the big thing) and then you do lots of other things at school (smaller things), like math, languages, sports and so on? Just like that, my job (the big thing) is made up of lots of little smaller things, like making sure someone else gets the right job at the company I work for, or helping people learn more about their jobs so that they can be better at what they do.

I also make sure we know how to test people at our company to see how well they are doing, and make sure we have everything we need so that someone can work for us. And lastly, my job involves creating a wonderful space for people to work in. My favourite part, though, is seeing people be happy in their jobs - rather than just doing a job to make money, as we spend sooooo much time at work. Not enjoying it is such a waste of time! 

2. What excites you most about working in the fintech space?

Money impacts everyone. It doesn’t make you happy, but it gives you options. When payments are restricted, or moving money is restricted, that takes away from a person’s options. I am excited about working in an industry that is positioned to make money movement more seamless for everyone, giving more people more options - not just those who have access to certain payment methods or technology.

3. What made you decide to move from a large organisation overseeing People Team operations for 1000+ employees to a startup? What advice do you have for others looking to make a similar move?

The decision was easy; I started to feel out of touch with the outcomes of the decision-making process. Things were moving too slowly, and I wanted to get back into an environment where I could be more involved in taking decisions from inception through to final result, and seeing the value that those results add to the business.

The move in itself wasn’t as easy. I was in a position where I wasn’t executing on things any more, whereas now, I am heavily involved in strategy and execution - the cost of being more nimble. My advice is to remain open to getting stuck in the work. You cannot delegate understanding. Get stuck to fully understand the company, its culture, its products and people before moving yourself into an elevated position.

4. What is unique, and what do you love most, about the way Stitch approaches People? 

Stitch really makes an effort to listen to its people - and then really cares about what they have to say. I think that is unique. Often companies send out surveys to get feedback, but they don’t care as much about what the feedback is. 

As well, working in a fintech startup means the competition is plenty, and only the top talent can take us where we need to go. I really appreciate working with highly skilled people and seeing how every single one of them contributes to our mission, while challenging each other to be better.

5. Stitch recently launched its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative (DEII). Can you share more about this and why you think it’s so important or relevant – especially in the fintech industry?

We serve diverse markets. So if we ignore our belief that diversity powers better innovation, better teamwork and ultimately, better results, then we won’t achieve our mission. We were struggling to juggle all the many priorities we had as a People Team in such a fast-paced environment, so we looked to our talented team to get more involved by creating our DEII. This also ensures that the team owns and buys into the DEI work we prioritise and execute on. It cannot just be a separate forum to the business; it has to be ingrained in every single thing that we do and every single decision we make.

The DEII is a group of individuals who raised their hands to get involved in bringing this belief to life at Stitch, and ensuring we understand how to continue ingraining Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in everything we do so that our employees have a full sense of belonging at work and so that we ultimately serve our customers better.

Rapid fire

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Let go; you cannot control everything.

What’s your favourite way to spend your downtime?

With my 4 kids!

What would your superpower be, and why?

To be in more than one place at the same time - like what Hermoine did with the time turner.

What are you reading or watching at the moment?

I started with two books (non-fiction): A Field Guide to Global Payments by Sophia Goldberg and (fiction) Lessons by Ian McEwan - both are progressing equally slowly.

I also started watching Daisy Jones & the Six on Amazon Prime. I have to admit that this is probably only for Sam Claflin - the acting is weak, the plot is also not great,  and the music is average.

The only other thing I can watch semi in front of the kids is Ted Lasso. But it is really hard to find something that is family-friendly for all of us to watch together and that I don’t have to stay up after 9 pm to watch by myself.

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