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Meet our finance business partner, Katja

Wow, where has the last month gone? I started at Belu at the beginning of April 2021 just before the Easter weekend. On the morning of my first day my family presented me with a beautiful bunch of colourful tulips and a “good luck in your new job” card and sent me on my way to work. Well, upstairs to the study where my first video introduction was scheduled to take place, one of many virtual ‘Hello’ with lots of friendly faces. My first goal was to remember all of the names in the Belu team, which for once I nailed rather quickly, one advantage for being part of a small team.

Joining a virtual team

Starting a new job virtually was definitely new to me, but everyone made me feel welcome right from the start. Also, not having to worry about navigating a new commute and finding your way around the office was a big plus, my home comforts (including our coffee maker) definitely took the edge off. The week before I started, the team invited me to join one of their socials, a virtual cook along and Belu cocktail evening, a great way to be introduced and certainly made that first day less daunting.

From a team of thousands…to ten

I love the fact that I met the whole team on day one and everyone already feels familiar. This is very refreshing as my previous roles have been in larger corporations with thousands of people. Since my first day I had many more on-line meetings and introductions, including to our outsourced partners in the UK and also Hong Kong. I am already part of projects and activities involving the delivery of the Belu business plan with heaps of things for me to get stuck into and bring my own experience to the table. There is plenty of ambition, drive and enthusiasm in the team, it is so great to see, especially as business was so hard hit during the last year and lockdowns. The majority of customers come from the hospitality sector so the easing of lockdown and the re-opening of many establishments in April injected lots of energy into the team at Belu. Opportunities and new leads are celebrated on a daily basis via the team chat and weekly gatherings. I am starting to feel at home, I have always dreamed of working for a smaller enterprise and getting more involved in operations, not just be a member of a silo finance team. On top of that, I am already learning so much about the day-to-day running of this business and team dynamics. One of the most exciting things about Belu for me is what this Social Enterprise stands for and their biggest goal: changing how the world sees water by 2030. The underlying purpose in everything the team does, the discussion on impact on people, society and the environment, something I proudly talk about to my family and friends whilst asking them to look out for the Belu brand on their new travels and visits to restaurants and hospitality establishments.

Finding work-life balance

Joining Belu was an easy decision for me, the fact that we work virtually and don’t have a central office base wasn’t daunting. Being at home more and being flexible in the way I work is something I wanted from my next role, moving away from the traditional office and being present in an office when most of the journeys to and from work could be spent in better ways. Wanting to be more present in my family’s life was another driver and although I am pleased that schools are back on, it is the 10 minute walk to school in the morning which is so much nicer and less stressful these days, compared to how I used to start my day when I didn’t see my family in the morning. The icing on the cake is the type of organisation I have joined, seeing first-hand what it is that drives the team. Also, how I can directly support the delivery of their amazing and ambitious plans is a huge motivator. Working at Belu has most certainly made me and my family think more about our own impact on the environment with many conversations and actions on how to do more at home to lower our own carbon footprint. What are my funny takeaways from my first month at Belu? Well, there is the joy of working from home when you have just dialled in to an all team video presentation on the launch of the mixer range, including board representatives, our flavour house and branding agency and my cat proudly drags a rodent ‘present’ through the cat flap right next to me. Yes, I was glad that I had figured out how to switch video and sound on/off before hand!
Written by Katja Mildner, Belu Finance Business Partner

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