Sit down with Peppy’s Project Manager, Em Yates

May 30, 2023

Introduce yourself to us. Tell us about you, your life, your career before Peppy, and what you’re passionate about outside of work.

My name is Em. I’ve been working as a Project Manager for the last couple of months after being in our Operations team for about 2.5 years. I joined Peppy in September 2020, when I was fairly fresh out of the University of Bath where I studied Politics and International Relations.  My final year was hit by COVID and whilst I was all geared up to join a graduate scheme in higher education, I’m pretty glad it was cancelled as that’s how I ended up at Peppy! I got a message on LinkedIn for a 6-week administrator role and then a week later I started my first day at Peppy in true “Pioneer at Pace” fashion. It’s been the longest but best 6 weeks!  

Outside of work, I’m quite into photography. I’m the friend that comes to all the social events with about 3 different cameras on me (yes, they are all different!) and I’m trying to get more into film photography. I’m also very into music– Spotify told me I listened to 101,000 minutes of music last year which is both a little bit impressive and mildly shocking…  I love live music too and living in London is great for going to spontaneous gigs. When I’m not in London, I’m probably back up in the Lakes with my family, spending time with my three young nieces! 

What attracted you to join Peppy back in September 2020?

I had never worked in a startup before, but I immediately liked the idea of working for a mission-driven company. I had a side project when I left uni that aimed to educate graduates about all the things you don’t get taught at school like tax, credit scores etc. and saw a lot of parallels between that and the work Peppy was doing– particularly when it comes to menopause, parenthood and fertility options. They’re just not something you get taught about in great detail until you hit the age where you suddenly need to know about them. 

Peppy was 10 people big when I joined and I also really liked the idea of being a part of something that was growing, that didn’t have everything figured out straight away. At Peppy you can be creative whilst having responsibility for things and that was a big draw for me starting a junior role. 

Looking back at the last 2 years, how has that evolved?

I think the longer I’ve stayed at Peppy, the more bought into the mission I’ve become. Especially having worked in Operations, you get a real insight into the impact you’re having on people’s lives. I’m lucky to work alongside our practitioners who have an enormous wealth of clinical knowledge – I’m really proud to know and work with them. I think Peppy itself has also massively evolved; not only in the services that we offer but the size of the Peppy team itself. I’m very fortunate to have had a few different roles at Peppy now, all of which give me responsibilities and the ability to learn something new each day. 

My very first role at Peppy was as an interim administrator and I vividly remember being 3 weeks into my 6-week contract and starting to think about looking for other roles. Luckily, I had the chance to become a permanent member of the team and became a customer experience administrator. This role was great– every day was like a juggling act and this really exposed me to different parts of the business. I look back on this role very fondly because I think it’s when I really started to realise what I enjoyed. I then became the Vertical Lead of our Menopause and Healthy Minds services before becoming the Operations Manager of Fertility & Women’s Health. My family say ‘thank goodness you took that 6-week contract role’ approximately once a month and I couldn’t agree more! 

What does a Project Manager do at Peppy?

As the cliche goes, every day is different! But in a nutshell, I work with lots of teams across the business on projects that support the delivery and improvement of the services we offer. The projects themselves vary in size, but from start to finish my role is to ensure that the teams involved have what they need and that we’re on track for delivery. This means that on a daily basis, I’m speaking to our clinical, operations, client success and content teams (to name a few!), to make sure that everyone is in the loop. I love being able to be a part of making change and seeing positive improvements, and it really feels like I’ve come a long way since my first day at Peppy! 

What impact do you personally feel you and the Operations team have on Peppy’s success?

The projects I work on are focused on the brilliant services we provide, which are at the heart of Peppy. I’m lucky to see and hear about the impact that Peppy has on a daily basis and feel very fortunate that I work in an area of the business that is directly related to this.

At Peppy we’ve got a mixture of people choosing to work fully-remote and those who take advantage of our hybrid-workplace option; what made you choose hybrid working?

I was at a very early stage of my career when I joined Peppy, and it was also the height of lockdown. I was working in a bedroom and I’d been so used to going to my uni campus every day and being a part of a lot of engaging conversations. Lockdown was a real test of that– I’ve always been someone who’s more productive in a busy environment! I think as someone at the beginning of their career, I realised that I was only exposed to the conversations I was having. I was thinking a lot about how to phrase things because I wasn’t hearing how other people were doing things, that in a normal office environment you’d subconsciously pick up. Going into the office for me has always been a combination of being able to learn from other people, and being in an environment that works for me. 

How do you and your team manage to stay connected and build lasting relationships, while some of you are remote, and some of you are working hybrid?

I think good communication skills are 100% the way to go. I really like to actually get to know my colleagues – being in the office helps with that! – but even for those I don’t see as often, I think just taking a couple of minutes at the start of a call to check in goes a really long way. 

We launched our 5 core Values at Peppy in January 2022, but I’d love to know which ONE of the FIVE resonates most with you? And why?

I think ‘move as one’. Having been part of the Operations team and now in Projects, I have always had the sense that everyone at Peppy is working towards the same goal. There might be lots of different priorities at play, but everyone comes together when needed and is there for one another and I think it’s really great that we maintain this even when working at such a quick pace. 

What’s your single greatest achievement so far at Peppy?

Something that will always stick in my mind is the events we host for our users. We introduced these when I was only a few weeks into my first role at Peppy. I joined one of the broadcasts and saw the host and thought, ‘I could never ever do that’. As fate would have it, a few weeks later we were without a host for the event that evening (nothing like pioneering at pace…) and I was asked if I would do it. I decided it was then or never, so I did it and I actually really enjoyed it. That was a little lesson for myself– not only ‘never say never’, but that I never really knew what was around the corner! 

What single personality trait of yours has served you best for success so far at Peppy?

I’d say I’m very dedicated to what we do at Peppy. That’s really helped me in Operations and now in my Projects role– I put a lot of effort into what I do. Working at Peppy is very fast-paced and being dedicated to the cause means that I’m invested in thinking of new ideas and making sure that the services we offer are the best possible. I love that I can contribute towards the experience our users receive. 

Who within the Peppy team inspires you? Why?

There are a few, but Rachael Fowler. Rach was my very first manager at Peppy and the only other person in Operations when I joined so we’ve spent many a Zoom call together. I very fondly look back at the planning calls we used to have, with the radio playing in the background like we were in the office together (despite not meeting in person until about 8 months later). She’s one of my go-to people for anything professional or personal, she’s very honest and she manages to have fun while doing a quite literally incredible job at what she does. She’s also filled in a lot of the popular culture knowledge gaps I have (turns out Casper the friendly ghost and Ghostbusters are two different films…)– thanks Rach! 

If you want to work alongside people like Em, check out our careers page.

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