✨  Nina ✨
✨  Nina ✨

✨ Nina ✨

Date
Jun 18, 2024 12:15 PM
Team
Product
Role
Product & User Research
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“I always tell people that I have the best job at HelloBetter (sorry, everyone, no offence!): I get to talk to our users first-hand, I get to work with many different teams and colleagues, and there is that wild variety of topics and different projects and products that I enjoy.”

Hi Nina! Short intro round: who are you and what do you do at HelloBetter?

I’m Nina, and, in short, my job at HelloBetter is to help our programs align with the needs of our users, empowering our users and bringing their voices to product development.

How did you find to HelloBetter?

I joined HelloBetter in 2021. The journey about how I ended up at HelloBetter goes back a bit and it’s something like this: Back in 2016, started working at a small mental health start-up that tackled depressive disorders. When it was acquired in 2019, I found it was a great opportunity to jump ship and explore the digital health world further. Before 2016, I had only worked in psychological counselling, inpatient clinics and outpatient psychotherapeutic care, so I felt I had to see more of what the digital health world had to offer. So I joined a digital health agency where I got to work on a wide variety of projects (interventions for professional eSport players, prostate cancer, physical activity programs, “WOOP” method… ) for all kinds of clients - insurance, pharma, even the automobile industry as they were looking to implement digital health solutions for their employees. I had a great time, however, after a while, I realized that some crucial aspects were missing. First, the clinical part of work, as many of the solutions were more focused on prevention, but also a stronger focus on mental health - I am a Psychotherapist, after all! And while I did enjoy the diverse topics and products I got to work on, I was also missing working on a product I could commit to and be part of long-term, instead of ever-changing projects I had to “hand back” to our clients at some point, and leave behind. I had HelloBetter on my radar since they were a bit of a competitor before, and I admired the commitment to evidence-based care and wide product portfolio in the mental health space. The work culture also seemed great. I remember reading through the Handbook before I applied and watching the video tour of the office. The more I saw of HelloBetter, the more it felt like it just “clicked” for me. So I decided to just go for it and send out an unsolicited application which basically said: “Look, I’m a Clinical Psychologist, licensed Psychotherapist, and I’ve been in digital health for a while. Is there any way, shape, or form I can support y’all?” I was lucky - Pierre, our CPO, told me that HelloBetter was looking into hiring a “Product Researcher” in a few months’ time. That felt like an absolute luxury to me, since user research was always something I usually had to fight tooth and nail for. At the agency, there were some clients who just didn’t see the point in involving users, and in the small start-up, there was just never enough time or resources. So I thought becoming a Product Researcher (if I could sneak a bit more User Research in there) sounded pretty neat. So I decided to just go ahead and “give it a try”.
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“I always tell my story to encourage others to apply at HelloBetter, even if there is no open position that fits their profile at that moment. You never know what life might have in store for you.”

What’s one thing you have learned that you didn’t expect when you joined?

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I’ve never worked in a place that gave me so much room and freedom to explore and actively shape my role, responsibilities, and goals. To be honest, it felt a bit overwhelming at first, and at times, I found myself seeking direction and guidance from others when it was up to me to decide and create them for myself. Although I’ve had several Lead positions in the past, it was still new to have so much trust put in me, and just run with it. It’s something I cherish a lot, and I can’t see myself working in any other way anymore.
I’ve seen this with other colleagues, too - some have grown and even transitioned into completely different roles that better fit their emerging skill sets or interests. I feel this is something very unique and special about HelloBetter. You’re seen beyond your (current) role and capabilities only. I feel the company is authentically interested in seeing its employees grow, even beyond initial role descriptions, and even beyond HelloBetter, in some cases... When I decided to reduce my working hours at HelloBetter to explore another facet of my professional life, getting back to therapy work and starting my own private practice for psychotherapy, there was not a moment of second-guessing or putting barriers in my way, just full support and cheering me on. That meant a lot to me.
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What’s your favourite aspect of working at HelloBetter?

Three years later, I feel “giving it a try” as a Product & User Researcher worked out quite well. I always tell people that I have the best job at HelloBetter (sorry, everyone, no offence!): I get to talk to our users first-hand, I get to work with many different teams and colleagues, and there is that wild variety of topics and different projects and products that I enjoy. 🤹‍♂️ Here are some users I got to talk to throughout the years - they all shared their videos or photos with us, to tell their own HelloBetter story and encourage others to get support, too. I enjoy sharing their faces with our team whenever I get a chance - I feel it helps with truly realizing that beyond those numbers of downloads and prescription activations, there are all those very real patients in whose lives HelloBetter has a real impact.
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On a much lighter note, I sometimes joke that I just joined HelloBetter because of the color pallette! Green is my favorite color (I even had green hair at some point…) and HelloBetter’s primary color is also green (my favorite one in the palette is “Forest”, for sure!).
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How do you embrace HelloBetter’s remote-first culture: are you a remote bird or an office tiger?

A bit of both - ideally, I spend one or two days of my 4-day-week in the office, otherwise I just get too lonely, working all day by myself in my home office. Having others around me gives me a bit of a boost of energy, even if it’s just working quietly side-by-side, although I’m also (notoriously) a fan of team workshops and Miro brainstorms. On the other hand, I also enjoy some quiet focus time at home, for a contrast.
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Can you be flexible with your work schedule?

My workday is usually very flexible. I’m a late bird and I appreciate cozy slow mornings, so I usually start around 9:30 and prefer to rather stay a bit later in the evening. We’re generally trusted to keep an eye on our own schedule, so if I need to work late one day to finish a survey or report, I can balance out my working hours some other time when there is less urgent work. On the other hand, if there is some doctor’s appointment, or if I manage to catch an ever-so-elusive appointment with the Bürgeramt, or even if I just notice I need a longer walk to free up some headspace, I can always let my team know and make up for the missed work later. The only restrictions when it comes to flexibility for me are usually team meetings, interviews with users, or general milestones and my own roadmap goals I need to keep up with.
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HelloBetter in 3 words? Kind, clever, creative

If you could switch roles with anyone in the HelloBetter team for a day, who would it be and why?

I think I’d sneak my way into the Content Team for a bit. I enjoy collaborating and brainstorming with them, diving into some theoretical models from psychology and thinking of how we could bring them to the user in a way that is easy to understand, effective, and even fun to apply to their day-to-day lives. I feel that the content of our programs is what lies at the very heart of HelloBetter, what users interact with daily and what impacts them profoundly. Of course, all other teams are needed to enable and bring the program to life, but in the end, it’s those interventions and methods that make it into the lives of our users. It’s just great to see how mere ideas that one gathered from clinical studies, paper-and-pen interventions, some dusty psychotherapy manuals, or simply one’s own mind, can be transformed into concepts that, in the end, are the basis for an interactive, innovative, truly empathetic and life-changing online program, and then be used by millions of “real-life” patients. I think there’s something truly magical about that work.
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What is your favourite Slack Emoji?

I think I may or may not be known for my inflationary use of the HelloBetter rainbow and HelloBetter balloon heart emojis… they are my favs. I also added the “Quote!” emoji at some point and have been using it a lot because our coaches are sharing so much great user feedback in our #user_feedback channel, and I was looking for a more convenient way to say “That’s such great feedback! Can we get consent to use it as a quote?” 😅 I also always use 😅 because I guess I’m just generally a bit awkward, and it goes well with it.
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What would you tell someone considering a career in your team?

If someone considered joining the Product Team, I would strongly encourage them to do so. Sure, you’ll need a lot of frustration tolerance to deal with the regulatory framework, and new product features and improvements might take more time because you need to jump through different hoops, and changes in regulation will regularly burst your roadmap… That’s just something you have to deal with when you are developing a medical device, let alone a digital therapeutic program such as a DiGA in a country like Germany… However, you’ll be doing all that in a team that’s truly great. A team that got each other’s back and embraces its members as they are. You’ll have plenty of room to grow and expand your skill set, and even make mistakes (gasp!). And if things get rough, your colleagues will have an open ear, something goofy to say, and always look for ways to support you.
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You can also learn a bit more about our wonderful Product Team in our 📖 Handbook! 📖
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If HelloBetter were an animal, what would it be and why?

Somehow, I had to think of a Turtoise 🐢 - Maybe because in startup years, we are already very old (over 10 years!), and I’m sure we’ll get much older still, and live a long happy life. Working in the medical field in Germany, we might also be a bit slower compared to other industries or countries, but we’re sure sturdy and persistent, and we’re making our way! The turtoise is wise and patient. It will not be deterred and it will reach it’s goals surely and steadily. On the other hand, the turtoise lacks the warmth of HelloBetter, and is perhaps not as courageous as our team is. So maybe the ideal animal representative is still out there.

What is your favourite HelloBetter or job-related Meme?

It has to be this one that I saw this year when attending the UXInsight Festival in Breda - it’s just too true, and I hope my colleagues don’t get too frustrated with every “It depends” they hear from me. 😅
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This one also really warmed my heart - it was posted by a colleague in our #hello_memes channel, and I felt truly seen in it 😄
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… And your favourite Miro-Board?

As HelloBetter’s designated Miro Power User, I, of course, have a favourite Miro board! It’s definitely this one, where we collect screenshots of funny misspellings and general mishaps around the HelloBetter name that we face in our communication with users and prescribers, and our general network… We have the usual “HelloFresh” and “Betterhelp” suspects, but there are also more creative ones that I like, for example “Hella Better” or “hallo Wetter”. But my most favorite, by far, is “HelloButter” - it is the namesake of our more-or-less-regular dinner evening with HelloBetterians on Thursdays, and its accompanying #hellobutter Slack channel. 🧈
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Who should I interview next in your opinion and why?

I think Jade would be a great candidate! As a Product Designer, she is responsible for the design of our HelloBetter programs as well as the overall brand of HelloBetter across all kinds of different channels. This is such an integral part of the image and “feel” that HelloBetter portrays to both users as well as prescribers. With the wide diversity of programs and user groups, it’s also by no means an easy task. And I think it’s baffling how much has happened in the last 3 years in that area, since Jade has joined us.

Thank you, Nina!

This glimpse into Nina’s journey is just one example of the amazing individuals who make up our HelloBetter team. Stay tuned for more employee spotlights, and consider joining us on our exciting journey!

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