January 22, 2024 – Munich (Germany)
As part of our series taking a closer look at the phelas team and their personal stories, we spoke to Noortje. We talked about her journey and what brought her to phelas. She shares her experiences, motivation and insights about working in phelas.
Q: Could you briefly describe your current role at phelas?
A: I actually asked my boss the same question the other day because I didn’t really know how to describe it and he said your role is like a Swiss army knife. So it’s not solely dedicated to one department or one subject, but it’s very much thinking and building the organisation in many different disciplines and at many different levels, from building financial processes to office management.
“phelas has a very strong sustainable mission and a product that pushes the boundaries of what’s out there.”
Q: Could you describe your career path leading up to your role at phelas? What motivated you?
A: Before my time at phelas, I was working for a start-up in the Netherlands in a quite similar role. From HR to IT and organisational development, I had very different tasks and roles over the years and loved the dynamics and variety of it. The biggest driver for me to join phelas was the fact that they have a very strong sustainable mission and a product that pushes the boundaries of what’s out there. That combination made me super excited to take the leap.
Q: Every role has a learning curve. What aspects of your role or the industry did you find most difficult to grasp initially and how did you overcome them?
A: I’ve only been at phelas for a few months, so I’m still learning a lot about both my role and the organisation, and the energy sector itself was completely new to me. But I very much enjoy being surrounded by super smart and motivated people, and so far, every day at phelas teaches me something new.
Q: Have you had any mentors or role models who have influenced your career?
A: A very big role model for me was my previous boss. I think a very profound thing is that she taught me how to lead people in a way that I aspire to lead, and how to empower people rather than limit them. She is an engaged and genuinely interested person on a personal level, asking you why but never telling you “how” to do things. She has really opened my eyes to how leadership can be done.
Q: Could you give us an insight into the culture and team dynamics at phelas? What do you think stands out the most?
A: What I really like about phelas is how open and honest people are with each other, so there’s this environment where people work hard but also play hard. So, on a work level people are asking important questions and giving feedback, but when the work is done there’s also time to relax and hang out together. That balance makes it a very relaxed environment in which you can connect. You can be yourself.
“No two days are the same in phelas and I think that’s exciting.”
Q: In a start-up environment, roles can be very diverse. How has working at phelas allowed you to explore different aspects of your skills and contributed to your personal and professional growth?
A: It’s very interesting to see how the perception of a role can change so much in just a few months. From before, to when I started, to now, my role has changed so much! I’ve gone from doing social media, to doing HR, office management, finance, to scraping the Rockwool off the PoC. It’s so many different things and that’s the nature of a start-up. No two days are the same and I think that’s exciting.
“Be ready for the ride, it will be bumpy.”
Q: Based on your experience of joining phelas last year, what advice would you give to newcomers starting their journey in phelas or any other start-up?
A: I have a cheesy quote in my head that goes something like “be ready for the ride, it will be bumpy”. People who join a start-up should expect things to break down as they build and change direction, phelas is no different. You have to have a bit of a thick skin in that sense, and ask yourself if this is an environment you can thrive in. However, in return you get the opportunity to work on ground-breaking technology, have a lot of freedom and work with a passionate bunch of people from all over the world.
Q: Thank you for the interview.