Typical 24: Alice Newton-Rex, WorldRemit
Human Resources

Typical 24: Alice Newton-Rex, WorldRemit

IDG Connect is looking to speak to IT, business and marketing professionals across the spectrum to discover more about their very different, typical working days…

 

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Name: Alice Newton-Rex

Job title: VP of Product

Company: WorldRemit

Location: London, UK

Years’ experience: 3.5 years at WorldRemit

 

 

  1. What time do you reach the office each day?
    I like to get to the office at 8am most mornings. I’m lucky in being able to walk to work every day – it’s not too far and I get to cross the river, which is a lovely way to start the day.
  2. Is your job varied?
    I’m responsible for the WorldRemit app and website; we’re an international money transfer service used by migrants to send money back home to their family and friends across the world.
    Working on such a global scale means that each day is different! We always have a few major initiatives on the go, whether we’re launching in a new country, or releasing a big new feature. I also get to go and meet our users, both those based in the UK and those that live in the receive countries. My most recent trip was to the Philippines – you learn a lot when you hear from users first-hand about the role remittances and the WorldRemit app play in their lives.
  3. Is your job creative?
    Absolutely. When I first started at the company, WorldRemit had no product designers, so I made the wireframes and designs myself. These days we have a strong product design team, so the creativity in my job is more around solving strategic problems for the business. We send money from 50 countries to over 140 countries around the world, on multiple devices, across multiple financial systems. You definitely need to think laterally to create a consistently excellent service across all those dimensions.
  4. What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
    Every day is different, but I’d say I spend about half of my time working on the product itself, reviewing our progress through the product metrics and reviews, giving feedback on upcoming features, and working on product strategy. The other half of my time is more operational, including recruiting, having 1:1s with the product managers and designers in my team, and meetings with stakeholders.
  5. Do you personalize your desk?
    The most interesting thing on my desk is a giraffe made of brightly coloured beads that was given to me by some guests from South Africa. They were part of a business school programme, and came to our office to learn more about innovation in fintech for emerging markets, particularly in Africa. After my presentation they gave me the giraffe and some chocolates as a thank you gift. The chocolates are long gone.
  6. Would you describe yourself as creative?
    I think most product people are creative as well as analytical. I did a degree in Classics, before going on to study International Development, Economics and Computer Science, so I’ve always enjoyed both the sciences and the arts. I’m glad I had a chance to study computer science, because I think it’s harder to be creative with technology if you don’t understand what’s possible.
  7. Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
    My walk to work is my daily ritual. I’ll usually listen to a podcast as I walk; at the moment I like Radio Lab, This American Life and The Thought Show.
  8. Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
    Most of the time I work with other people rather than on my own. Often this is with my own team – made up of six product managers, three designers and a product analyst. But I also work closely with other teams across the business. Whether it’s talking to operations, business development or finance, my job isn’t a very solitary one! 
  9. How many hours on average do you work a day?
    Typically, I’ll work from 8am – 6.30pm, but I might stay longer than that ahead of a product launch, and less if I’m not so busy.
  10. Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
    I honestly couldn’t say – every day is completely varied!
  11. Do you use social media much for work?
    I’m a frequent user of Twitter (I’m @alicenewtonrex), which is good for getting news and keeping up to date with developments in product management, fintech and the wider tech industry. LinkedIn is useful if I’m looking to hire for my team.
  12. What do you enjoy most about your work?
    Meeting the people who use our service – it’s so rewarding to hear about how the app fits into their lives. Every user I’ve met has had an interesting story: why they moved abroad in the first place, who they’re sending money home to, or what they hope the money will make possible. I get to meet users at least once a month – it adds a real-world impetus to the work we’re doing.
  13. What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
    I don’t personally, but I can always hear the radio playing from the Customer Services team!
  14. What do you do for lunch?
    I like to get lunch with colleagues, or if I’m busy, I’ll eat something quickly between meetings.
  15. Do you socialize with work colleagues?
    -
  16. Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
    -
  17. What is your last task of your day?
    Due to the time zone, my last task of the day is often a call with the US, where we have our second biggest office. The US is currently our highest-growth sender market, so it’s important we continually improve our product for US users and make sure it feels perfectly local to them.
  18. How do you like to relax after work?
    I’ll either go out for drinks with friends or colleagues, or cook dinner with my husband.
  19. Do you keep checking email through the evening?
    If I’m at home then I will, and on the weekends too, but not if I’m out for the evening spending time with friends or family.
  20. Do you take work projects home with you?
    I’m happy to take work home if there’s a good reason to do so, like an upcoming product launch.
  21. What would you say to your 20-year old self?
    I’d like to tell my 20-year-old self there’s no need to worry about not having a ‘master plan’ for her whole career. Every single role I’ve had didn’t even exist when I was 20 – WorldRemit certainly wasn’t around yet. The pace of change in the world of work is so rapid now, particularly when you’re working in technology. You just have to be ready to seize whatever opportunities come your way.
  22. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
    I’d like to be President of the United States for a day, because I’m an American citizen as well as a British one. I promise I wouldn’t go to power mad!
  23. What device did you use to answer these questions?
    An iPhone 7.
  24. Do you use your own personal device for work?
    Yes – I use my personal mobile for work, although I’ll use my work laptop at home.

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