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Julia Cohen, Swood

The impact of benefits in talent retention, being a female founder and much more with Julia Cohen, Swood

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[FH]: What is the problem you are addressing at Swood and how do you solve it?

[JC]: Swood wants to be a useful tool in the life of HR. We were born to reduce bureaucracy, optimize time, facilitate management and retain talent. For a company to have an offer of benefits that actually impact talent retention, it would need to have some dedicated professionals, and even so, it would be very difficult to deliver the same quality. Therefore, our added value is the delivery of an integrated solution that makes the manager’s life easier and increases the team’s engagement.

[FH]: How did the pandemic affect your business model? Did compensation benefits preferences shift?

[JC]: Swood was born in a completely remote working format. Our employees are spread across Brazil, Portugal and the United States. That’s why there hasn’t been a change in that direction. The pandemic brought a sense of urgency regarding our timing of entry into the Brazilian market. We need to rush to prepare our entry into the new market precisely to meet the growing demand for convenience. We want to make life easier for employees. With people working more from home than before the pandemic, there has been an increase in opportunities for services that make people’s lives and work easier. That’s where Swood comes in.

[FH]: As a female founder in a male dominant industry, do you feel you need to act differently than your fellow male founders?

[JC]: I wouldn’t say acting differently, but I’ve certainly seen a different treatment between myself and one of my co-founders. However, as I am aware that there is still a lot of conservatism and machismo in the industry, for any situation, meetings, presentations, etc., I am always very well prepared, precisely to leave no room for anything. Also, if for any reason I feel uncomfortable with a situation, I either make my displeasure clear or I immediately close the situation by saying I have no clear interest.

[FH]: What advice would you give for a female founder entering this industry?

[JC]: Prepare yourself and master your product, company, the subject you want to deal with. I really like to encourage women to become entrepreneurs, but always being very realistic about the difficulty that this involves. If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be: buckle up and get ready for the roller coaster. There will be many ups and downs, loopings and no day is the same. But working hard and having resilience, there comes a time when it starts to pay off.

[FH]: Did being part of the Fintech House community affect your success?

[JC]: It helped connect us with people and investors who increased our networking. It also allowed us to participate in meetings and events where we could show our business model and be exposed in the media. Without a doubt, an extremely healthy environment for startups that are sailing in the sea of uncertainty at the beginning of every business endeavor.

[FH]: Which skills do you value the most when hiring new members for the team?

[JC]: We had to jump very quickly from 4 people to almost 20. We knew that these first hires were very important in creating the core that would drive Swood and its initial growth. We always value the first conversation a lot, in Portuguese we use the expression: “o santo tem que bater”, which in English we can perhaps translate to something like a good first impression, a good feeling. In addition, it is essential to feel that the person really knows the subject, the area for which they are being hired. We really like people with initiative, who demonstrate that they know how to do it alone, that is, they don’t need a boss on top giving all the paths and directions. We highly value the voice of our Swooders and that’s why we bring people to the team whenever we feel they really have something to add, whatever the area.

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