fbpx

SheCanCode Spotlight Series: Sara Tateno, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Happity

Sara Tateno, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Happity

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Sara is the co-founder of Happity, the UK’s leading platform for finding and booking classes for under-5s. Here she shares her story and advice.

She is passionate about connecting new parents in their communities to make life better. Sara worked in corporate roles before having children. She had the idea for Happity during her second pregnancy having been abruptly made redundant.

Determined to bring her idea to fruition, yet knowing nothing about tech, she started learning to code with her baby in tow and went on to build the first versions of the site. She now oversees the Product and Technical aspects of Happity, with a team that has always worked flexibly from home, long before Covid came along!

SHECANCODE CAUGHT UP WITH SARA TO TALK ABOUT BEING A TECH ENTREPRENEUR, RETRAINING IN TECH AND HER CAREER ADVICE.

HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR CURRENT ROLE? WAS IT PLANNED? 

It was an inadvertent result of being made redundant whilst pregnant with my second child! I’d always had an entrepreneurial streak but had been too scared to make the leap. Redundancy was just the push I needed. When people started suggesting it was time to ‘put my feet up’ and stay home with the kids (as much as I love them), the thought of my career ending there horrified me! I figured it was now or never, and having had a pretty difficult experience with my first child, I knew there were some pretty big issues facing new mums that needed to be solved.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ROLES IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT EXPERTISE? 

My husband took shared parental leave when my son was 5 months old, which allowed me the time to retrain as a web developer via a 12-week intensive bootcamp. I’ve always had something of an interest in tech, but had never really considered it as a career choice previously.

I share the CEO role with my cofounder and head up the team on Product & Tech whilst Emily leads on Marketing and Partnerships. My combination of technical skills with prior strategy experience, means I’m well placed to translate the needs of our customers into technical solutions.

DID YOU (OR DO YOU) HAVE A ROLE MODEL IN TECH OR BUSINESS IN GENERAL?

I wouldn’t say there is one in particular, rather I tend to follow people who are just a few steps ahead of us. They inspire me every day. Seeing what other peers are able to achieve makes everything feel much more within reach! I also read a lot of books. I often talk to my children about how mind-boggling it is that all of human knowledge is written down somewhere, and how much potential is unlocked by learning to read.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER, SO FAR? 

I am most proud of the role we have to play in Happity in shaping and influencing a new world of work that’s fit for 21st-century families.

Both myself and my co-founder were high-achieving women in corporate careers, but we felt disenfranchised after having children. We deliberately created Happity as a remote working company long before the pandemic came along, and have sought to build in true flexibility to the company’s DNA.

WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WORKDAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? 

My hours tend to be very compressed into the school day. I have a c.40 min walk round trip on the school run in the morning, which is really lovely bonding time with my youngest. He’s a very bubbly sort and practically skips to school every morning!

I’ll typically have meetings throughout the day, covering decisions and discussions across all aspects of the business. At 4pm, I pick up the kids and may squeeze in another call before family dinner time. Usually I’ll do head-down work in the evening, but one of the major advantages of remote working, is that I can pick up a lot of things on the move, responding to emails (or interview questions like these!) when I’m waiting for children to come out from school!

HAS ANYONE EVER TRIED TO STOP YOU FROM LEARNING AND DEVELOPING IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, OR HAVE YOU FOUND THE TECH SECTOR SUPPORTIVE? 

Definitely not. I’ve been fortunate to have never faced that, but frankly, employers and managers being invested in your personal development should be the norm, not an exception!

HAVE YOU EVER FACED INSECURITIES AND ANXIETIES DURING YOUR CAREER, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

Always! Anyone who says they’ve never felt this is probably lying! Confidence has come from experience and building up knowledge. Also realising that an awful lot of people out there often aren’t any better than you are, they’re better at being confident – or at least appearing that way!

ENTERING THE WORLD OF WORK CAN BE DAUNTING. DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE FEELING OVERWHELMED? 

Nobody expects you to know all the answers. That’s still true even when you’re a CEO. What you need to get good at is seeking the information you need, wherever that may be. Pretty much everything is learnable.

Own the gaps in your knowledge, own your mistakes. The most important thing is to embrace the opportunity to learn and make yourself better.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN WANTING TO REACH THEIR CAREER GOALS IN TECHNOLOGY? 

The biggest barrier you’re likely to face is yourself. Believe in yourself, and go for it! Do that and you’ll always find a way to overcome any hurdle you face.

READ MORE FROM HAPPITY

RELATED ARTICLES

Meet Georgia Davey, Integration Technician, at Seaeye, at Saab UK. Georgia talks to us about getting into the tech industry, walks us through an average...
Brooke Grindlinger, Chief Scientific Officer at The New York Academy of Sciences, shares her insights as she navigates the world of science, innovation, and leadership!...
Today, we sit down with Renske Galema from CyberArk. Renske tells us about her journey into tech, walks us through an ideal day at work,...
Nadia shares her leadership journey from being born as a Palestinian stateless refugee in Syria to becoming the VP of Engineering at HubSpot.

This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to improve your website and provide more personalized services to you, both on this website and through other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy.