Just over a week ago, we announced the launch of our Milk & Honey office in Sydney with the help of The Holmes Report. Since then, a lot of people have been interested to hear the reasons behind the decision. Our new Australian managing director, Caroline Addy, explains the story behind our people-first culture.

If someone had asked me a couple of years ago whether I’d consider launching a company, my answer would have been ‘not a chance’.

I’ve never been one to shy away from hard work. I’ll try most things once and have achieved a lot I’m proud of in my 34 years. Yet the idea of being at the helm of such unchartered waters was enough to send shivers down my spine. That was until I joined Milk & Honey.

The rollercoaster of joining a start-up

In 2018, I moved back to the UK after four years in Sydney. I heard about a new PR agency that was on the search for a new client director. I had only ever worked at independent agencies and after meeting Kirsty decided it offered me the chance to join another ambitious, female-led environment. Looking back now, I had no idea what was on the cards!

In the 12 months that followed we more than doubled in size and revenue. We even had to buy sturdier furniture to showcase our awards! We were growing fast and it felt like we were on a rollercoaster at times. Yet everyone knew the business goals we were collectively working towards. That feeling bonded us together as a team.

Work and life don’t always see eye-to-eye

My career was really taking off. Alongside client director Jess Ballinger, I was promoted to the board, attending leadership academies and incredibly proud to be mentoring a growing team. However, almost 18 months after arriving back in the UK I still felt unsettled. Along with my husband, we made the heart-wrenching decision to move our life back to Australia.

The day I told Kirsty about our plans was the day I experienced first-hand what it truly means to work in a people-first company. A place where our lives outside of work are important. Lives that encounter both highs and lows, as well as situations that are not always straightforward.

The very same day, Kirsty and I agreed this didn’t need to be the end, but the start of something new. We would work together to create a business plan and the idea for Milk & Honey Australia was born! Unfortunately, though, opening a company is not that simple. After weeks of planning, decision-making and late-night phone calls it was time to announce our news. Suddenly I was standing in front of my team at the helm of uncharted waters. Yet thanks to their passion, support and friendship it wasn’t shivers of fear down my spine, it was excitement!

The value of bravery

The Holmes Report published an interview with Kirsty and I about the launch of our new company. For a not quite three-year-old business to expand into Australia is unusual. Bravery is one of our company values and within our team it flows from the top down. If you surround yourself with people who prize bravery it doesn’t go unnoticed. From what I’ve experienced so far, bravery comes in all forms and is there to be celebrated and rewarded.

The year ahead offers so many unexpected opportunities and challenges; from building a brand-new hive to ensuring we retain the ethical standards of a B-Corp certified company. Now I’m off to grab a flat white, get settled into my new co-working space and start recreating the buzz of Milk & Honey down under!