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Humans of Xero: Ella Keegan

Posted 2 weeks ago in Small business by Josh Drummond
Posted by Josh Drummond

We are starting a new blog series called Humans of Xero. Each post will feature one of our awesome Xero staff members. Learn all about their dreams, some fascinating facts and what makes them tick!

Meet Ella Keegan! She hails from Taranaki, where her family home is at the edge of Egmont National Park, with amazing views of the mountain (when it comes out from behind the cloud.) She started at Xero in 2013 as the Front of House person for Auckland, where she got a job as Direct Sales Manager before being promoted to Strategic Marketing Manager for Xero New Zealand. Her job is helping the Xero sales team to take new products and campaigns to market. “I got here by lots of nagging,” she says. “It can be hard to prove that you’re fit for the role, especially if it’s a big step up or something you have little experience in. It’s all worth it though, when you finally land the role and you know that you’re the best candidate for it!”

Ella keeps busy outside of work as well, with her new small business venture Boltra – an e-bike importing and leasing company. We had a chat with her about life in and out of Xero.

How would you describe working at Xero?

Beautiful. I think I have peaked with my first job outside of Uni! It’s a place full of very smart people, constantly innovating and experimenting – keeping us successful. The Xero culture and environment is self-reinforcing, all our efforts support one another, making it a creative, fun and bloody hard-working place to be. Where else would you rather work in NZ?!

What are your passions in life and work?

I have always been passionate to start my own business. Broaden my expertise, skills, education and resources to aid causes that I feel passionate about – and having an awesome time doing it!

I’m passionate about seeing more of the world, a lot more live music, and more fun with friends and family.

Tell us something #Human about yourself

I love Wikipedia – actually, I’m obsessed. It probably started with encyclopedias, or Microsoft Encarta discs from school. Every Wikipedia page page sends you to another ten. My favourite parts are the history sections. I’m always surprised about how things came to be, and reading it can often provide me with lots of ideas or solutions for present situations.

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Where in the world would you most like to travel and why?

The answer to that changes all the time. I haven’t done a lot of travel myself, so I would go anywhere! Right now, I would love to go to London and see my best friend. That reminds me – I need to book some leave!

Looking at all the world’s problems, which one do you think we should focus on and why?

Poverty is something I am continuing to learn about, and I’m trying to understand. It seems easy to shelter myself from the sheer scale of this issue. In NZ alone, the level of poverty is inexcusable. There are lots of organisations doing amazing things to bring about change, and I’ll continue to give them my support. Hopefully our current elections can do even more!

I think climate change is one of the most complex issues facing us today. It’s multi-dimensional – it involves science, economics, society, politics and complex moral and ethical questions. With better education and small changes to our daily routines, we could be the generation to end reliance on fossil fuels.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful for?

My family, my boyfriend, friends, health, Beyonce, the internet, cats, bikes and Burger Rings.

Do you have a side-hustle or a special interest outside work?

Yup – and I want people to know about it!

Tell us about your side-hustle / business / awesome hobby / whatever it is!

I’ve started a new business called Boltra. We are working to accelerate New Zealand’s transition to a sustainable future by creating an alternative transport model that competes directly with public transport or driving. E-bikes are key to this master plan. The deal includes an e-bike delivered to your home or office (at a time that suits you), unlimited maintenance, theft insurance, and a high security bike lock – all for less than a AT Monthly Hop Pass.

How’d you come up with your business? And why?

It’s a type of service I was looking to use myself. I bought a very cheap bike to start riding to work and the whole buying process was very intimidating and unhelpful. I love the ride to work, but disliked getting here sweaty, and I hated it if I had loads to carry. Everyone had great things to say about e-bikes. I just wanted to try and test the quality and commute before committing to the cost. Also, I had very little knowledge how bikes worked, let alone how to maintain one.

I developed Boltra to respond to these pain points and address the top reasons people are not commuting via bike. It also originated in my interest in topics like climate change and sustainability, which I have been trying to understand and mitigate since leaving high school.

Where’d you like to take your business in the future?

In the future I would like to see Boltra lead in increasing the availability of electric transport via bikes, scooters, skateboards, mopeds and electric motor bikes. I want to broaden our fleet so customers can switch between motor bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters as they please, each month.

Boltra is a new startup and our Commuter Pass is currently only available in Auckland. We have plans to expand to all major cities in NZ. We want to increase and broaden our corporate solutions to organisations looking to expand their social strategy and provide additional benefits to their employees, the economy and our environment.

Got any events or anything else cool coming up you’d like Xeros to know about?

Once the weather clears up I will get some bikes over to the Auckland Xero office over lunchtime so employees can try them for themselves. We will have a stand at the first EV World electric expo on the 9th of September. Boltra will also be hosting an event for Auckland’s Biketober (keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details!

Where can we find out more about your business IRL and/or online?

Check out www.boltra.co.nz. I am just getting started – so any ideas or feedback are welcomed!

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