Spotlight on… Freccia Benn
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|Landowner type: All||Energy:|
We caught up with Freccia Benn—business sage, our Co-founder and Head of Strategy and Innovation at Lumify Energy over socially distanced coffee (thanks, pandemic) for some inspiration on business-owner life. Her nuggets of wisdom and a healthy dollop of reality will have you scribbling down gems. Pens at the ready…
First things first, tell us about your daily commute.
Honestly, it’s quite relaxing. I started cycling during the global pandemic and it stuck, so now we’ve returned to the office, I now cycle to work every day. I really value my cycle into work; it’s a precious piece of me-time where I can take my time, enjoy the ride, get fresh air, keep fit, and can squeeze in an audiobook or podcast.
Describe a day in the life of Freccia Benn.
Well, my two-year-old son usually wakes me up before my alarm clock has a chance! But once the initial tiredness subsides, I’m quite grateful for his early-morning wake-up call. It’s important amid all the madness to spend time with my family before heading out to work.
Family time partly helps me to set some email boundaries too—I try not to check emails first thing in the morning, because if I see one come through that requires me to do something, I just won’t be able to take my mind off of it. And If time is on my side, I’ll pop down to the pool for a swim before heading to the office.
My workdays are really varied. I actually led our recent re-brand, which took a significant chunk of my time working with our design agency and other suppliers. A lot of my role involves dealing with the operations side of the business and our growth through innovation, so I could be having meetings with our developers one day and recruiting new members of our team the next.
Because of the varied nature of my work, I have to keep on top of several things so it’s crucial that I start my working day going through my diary. I like to plan, plan and plan to make sure that I am being efficient with my time, with the help of our wonderful Executive Assistant.
Something I’ve learned along the way is time blocking, working on similar tasks in chunks. And while the pandemic has made this near-impossible for a long while, I much prefer face-to-face meetings. Even after over a year of virtual meetings, I’m not a convert: Zoom just feels less personal, and if I’m being completely honest, a little tiring. The buzz I get from collaborating with other individuals in person is just something Microsoft Teams or a Google conference can’t beat!
What’s something you wish you’d known before you founded Lumify Energy?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint: things will take longer than you expect, so be agile and prepared to pivot if need be. When we started the business, we had a really clear vision about what we wanted to do. At the time, it seemed so simple. But the more we learned, the more we had to change the way we did things. As these things usually do, our changes worked out for the best and have afforded us the opportunities to go on and generate and develop new and exciting ideas along the way.
My goal for Lumify Energy is to simplify the renewable energy industry for everyone involved. I love the things that technology can do for us, from time-saving to making would-be complicated tasks easier than ever before. If we can utilise technology to do the same in the renewables industry (which we know we can), then we’re onto a winner.”
What was your first job?
When I was 14 years old, I worked with my best friend in a junk-mail sorting warehouse—so a world away from renewable energy. We had to group batches of junk mail together in envelopes at (light) speed, or risk being asked to not come in the next day! Thinking back on it now, the wages were shockingly low, and I’d dare say below minimum wage. I’m still not sure how they got away with it back then.
It was quite fun, really—working with my best friend never really felt like ‘work’ and straight after payday, we’d (unsurprisingly) flee to Morgan—the teenage girl’s wardrobe dream for all those who remember—and blow our modest pay packet. Mind you, it certainly made me take my academic education more seriously!
What are your Lumify Energy goals?
My goal for Lumify Energy is to simplify the renewable energy industry for everyone involved. I love the things that technology can do for us, from time-saving to making would-be complicated tasks easier than ever before. If we can utilise technology to do the same in the renewables industry (which we know we can), then we’re onto a winner.
What about your outside of work, what do you do to relax?
It’s all about music for me. I listen to a lot of different genres, but I’ve recently been gravitating to a lot of disco and house music. Mix that with sunny weather, and I’m happy as can be.
And last but not least, travel is a big passion of mine. When everything eventually opens up again, I can’t wait to start making trips to new and far-away places, immersing myself in different cultures, surrounded by different languages, enjoying all the delicious foods. Brazil is one of my favourite places to visit; I can’t wait to go back.