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Asana Voices: Meet Aoife Minihan, People Partner Team

November 16th, 2021
6 min read
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Welcome to our blog series, Asana Voices! With each post, we’ll feature one-on-one interviews with the talented individuals on our global team. You’ll get to know the people inside the company, including the twists and turns in their career journeys, what it’s really like working at Asana, and what they value most about their unique impact on our company, customers, and mission.

Meet Aoife Minihan, a leader on the People Partner team based out of our Dublin office. Aoife joined the company two and a half years ago as the first People Partner located outside of the U.S., and now leads our International People Partner team. Take a look inside Aoife’s career journey and learn about the growth she’s experienced, while making an impact to help Asana grow internationally. 

What first attracted you to Asana? What has kept you here?

The year before I joined Asana, I spent time reflecting on what energizes me professionally and understanding where my passion comes from. Over the course of my career, I’ve worked across different industries and grew to understand more about what drives me and what I look for in an organization. I knew I wanted to join a company that was truly mission led, had a phenomenal product transforming the employee experience, and put its people at the heart of everything they do. That’s when I came across Asana. 

The role at Asana really energized me because it was the first people role within EMEA, presenting a unique opportunity to build something from scratch and set the foundations of how we wanted to create a meaningful and thoughtful employee experience across the region. The journey so far has been incredible, and I have experienced lots of personal growth. I am thrilled that I now get to build out our People Partner team internationally. 

What is something you’re particularly proud of that you’ve achieved at Asana?

I’m so proud of our team’s growth over the last few years. We’re always pushing the boundaries of what we can do as a People team and really thinking about the employee experience that we’re trying to create. Something that really stands out to me is the work we did around employee success guides. This work focuses on giving clarity to each Asana on what success looks like in their role. The goal of this work was to ensure people had an awareness and understanding of how to grow their careers, while also understanding how we bring our values to life daily in the business. This was one of the biggest pieces of work we undertook as a People Partner team at the time, and it required high engagement and collaboration with all teams across Asana. The work has been a pivotal part in how we continue to foster the growth and development of Asanas in their roles. 

How has your career grown since joining the team?

When I first joined, I was an individual contributor working on the People Partner team in EMEA and the first person on the team outside of the U.S. EMEA at that time was operating across two offices—Dublin and Reykjavik—and  opening offices in Munich and London. Today, we now have Asanas working across seven countries in EMEA. 

In addition to the growth we saw in EMEA, my scope within my first year at Asana expanded to partnering with our leaders and teams in APAC and Tokyo. Partnering across multiple countries and regions afforded me the opportunity of understanding the unique needs and challenges of each region. 

My role has just recently evolved again to lead the International People Partner team, and I am excited about this chapter of building the team internationally. Having that previous experience of partnering with those teams and leaders directly in the region has been an important insight in helping inform our people strategy for the future. When I look back over my career so far at Asana, I think I’ve always been on this path to growing the international team. I just hadn’t realized it at the time.

What’s something unique about Asana?

Without a doubt, the passion of the people! I often think back to my interview process as this is where I first experienced this passion and energy. Everyone I met during the interview process was so passionate about what we were trying to achieve. I loved how their passion showed up in such a diverse and authentic way. I always say that you don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to be heard. At Asana, we embrace the concept of bringing your whole self to work, and we really value everyone’s unique authenticity, perspective, and vulnerability. Feeling this from each interviewer was so refreshing for me, and I remember leaving my interview thinking, “I have to be a part of this company.” 

What was your state of work before using Asana, and what is your work like now that you have Asana?

Up until joining Asana, I used email for everything. This was the norm in the previous companies I had worked in. Trying to organize my work, stay on top of my work, and keep stakeholders up to date with progress was a real challenge and at times overwhelming. It was refreshing coming into Asana and having a tool that helped manage my work, identify what was priority, and enable me to communicate with clarity. Asana has allowed me to organize my work in a thoughtful and impactful way. 

As somebody who is in one of our regional offices working across many time zones, Asana gives me the ability to share progress updates with my global peers and hear their perspective and input on the work we are driving. This keeps us all on the same page irrespective of where we are located in the world.  This connectivity has enabled me to continue to move with velocity without having to compromise on co-creation and collaboration.  

What’s it like working in a regional office

In EMEA, while we all hold different responsibilities in our roles and are accountable for different pieces of work, it really feels like we are all part of the same team. A significant part of continuing to have that feeling of being part of the same village is our continued investment in building strong connectivity with each other, not just on a work perspective but also personally too. Over the last 18 months, we have intentionally and thoughtfully considered how we can be together while being apart, how we can continue to replicate those coffee chats and in person connections that are so special to us, and how we can continue to build relationships with each other. 

How do you feel valued at Asana? 

I feel valued in so many ways at Asana. Firstly through the leaders and client groups I partner with. We have a trusting partnership with each other that has a high level of co-creation and candor. We are able to challenge each other, disagree with each other, and often think if there’s a third way to get to the end goal. 

Secondly, I feel valued with my team. Every day, I feel truly privileged to work with such authentic, caring, diverse teammates who lead with openness, candor, and a huge sprinkling of heartitude. We all have such an array of experience that I’m constantly learning something new and hearing different perspectives that leads me to think about something differently.

What’s your personal mantra, and where did it come from?

I’ve always believed that “Everything happens for a reason,” as simplistic as that sounds. The last 12 months have really tested me on this, both personally and professionally. It is not always an easy mantra to embrace, but I believe that even in the greatest of challenges or in the darkest of days, you can take something from that experience and carry it forward with you. By sharing your experience with others, you might even bring light to them and help them in ways you are unaware of.

If you could give a new Asana one piece of advice, what would it be?

I have to give two:

  1. Embrace the product when you join: Really get to know how the tool works. Talk to people on your team who are in similar roles to you and understand how they use it and what their hints and tips are. Understanding the tool will really help you in setting up your work in a way that compliments your own working style. 

  2. Lead with curiosity: Speak to as many people as you can to understand our journey so far. Lots of Asanas have so much rich knowledge and history to share so really embrace the virtual meetups and coffee chats. Be curious and ask lots of questions. This will help you to understand the context of how we got to where we are today, further enabling your success at Asana.  

Take the next career-defining step in your journey at Asana! If you’re passionate about helping teams thrive and excited by the opportunity to make a big impact at a fast-growing company where an inclusive culture is non-negotiable, we’d love to talk to you. Apply today to join Aoife on our People team, or check out all our open roles across the globe.

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