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September 9, 2021

Meet the team: Alex Duell, VP People

1. What attracted you to working at Cutover? How did you get involved?

I’ve worked in the Index Ventures portfolio for most of my career and was lucky to get an introduction to our CEO, Ky Nichol, via Index following them leading our Series A funding round. The Index ‘stamp of approval’ is important to me, but not as important as meeting a CEO who clearly leads with empathy and is genuinely people-centric in how he works. My first conversation with Ky told me that this was a place where I could be truly successful building a world-class People function and nurturing an inclusive culture that people from all walks of life (myself included!) would want to be a lasting part of. 

2. What are the main responsibilities of your role and what does a typical day look like?

The “People” role in scale-ups is a diverse one. I look after what would traditionally be known as Recruiting, HR, and Operations. But I think of my role as having two key components: 1) hire amazing people and 2) ensure they’re set up for success and can bring their whole selves to work.

I work with an unbelievably talented People team, who impress me every day with their passion and their creativity (plus their ability to get sh*t done), making my role fantastically enjoyable. 

A typical day? I don’t think that exists!  

3. What are you most excited about at Cutover in the coming months?

We’re on the cusp of something incredible. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to assemble such a brilliant, diverse team. We’re still building foundations this year, following our Series B funding round, but we’re getting the recipe for success really dialled in. Seeing the 60+ people we’ve hired so far in 2021 bed in and hit their stride over the coming months is something I’m really looking forward to. 

I’m also thrilled at the engagement we’ve seen brokering meaningful internal conversations about key societal topics over the past six months. We’ve opened up impactful dialogue with multiple events relating to Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May) and Pride Month (June) and have seen collaborative, informative, and honest conversations spark across the business. Building a safe space for people to bring themselves to work properly is key to fostering a world-class culture. We’ve taken the first proactive steps to do this ahead of the next chapters of our growth and I’m very excited to see us take things to the next level over the coming months.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

Anyone heard of COVID? Yep, that hasn’t been easy! 75% of our company have joined us since the first lockdown in the UK in March 2020, which has led to never-before-seen scenarios for our People team. We’ve adapted well and have built a strong sense of community in spite of this. This has led us to create what we feel is a best-in-class proposal for choice-led hybrid working, that we’re formally rolling out later this year.  

5. What’s one thing that surprised you about working at Cutover?

That a cutting-edge software company can truly build an age-diverse workforce that is engaged and successful. We joke about the “four generations of Cutover” and our employee age span of 21-66 years old and everything in between, but it’s massively impressive. Coming from the world of Bay-Area-headquartered (mostly millennial) workforces, I’d not experienced such diversity before. Nobody talks about the importance of age and generational diversity in tech, but they should. Seeing our team learn from each other and being genuinely curious to tap into diverse viewpoints and backgrounds is an absolute pleasure for a people person like me. Long may this continue! 

6. Resilience is important from both an operational and personal perspective. What does resilience mean to you?

Resilience means being able to tolerate ambiguity and find success in grey areas. Being okay with screwing things up and learning from it. Getting back on the horse when things aren’t going to plan. Being a strong, empathic leader to bolster those around you. Knowing when to call it quits and try something different is also part of building resilience, in my opinion - bashing your head against the same wall 1,000 times in a row and not breaking through it is foolishness, not resilience. 

7. The past year or so has created a lot of challenges, but is there anything new from the last year that you would like to keep?

You know what? I’ve whinged about Zoom for 18 months straight, but I’m now starting to love it. Mixing the focused, undistracted, productive 1:1 Zoom meeting culture with a few less structured days in collaborative in-person office scenarios feels like the ‘magic mix’ for me. Choice-led hybrid working for the win!


Alex and his team are still looking for top talent - from Marketing to Engineering, find your role at Cutover. 

Alex Duell
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