Pioneer Profile: Meet Ellen Kasinopoulou

19th Feb 2024

It’s time that we recognise the people behind the evolving world of work. Our working lives have shifted to being more inclusive, more people-centric, more flexible, and just plain better for both employees and companies. 

These changes didn’t just happen: they were put into place and upheld by individuals and teams working to create a better working future for everyone. 

So we’re finally putting the spotlight on the people who make great companies great: the people-people.  

People-people are crucial to the success of every company. They find you the talent that drives you forwards, and they’ve taken on an increasingly strategic role in the past few years – often taking on responsibility for mental health, diversity and inclusion, culture, EVPs, Employer Branding and team happiness. 

Read more about the Pioneers List and go behind the scenes to understand how and why we’ve selected our Pioneers.

We’re delighted to introduce you to Ellen Kasinopoulou, Head of Marketing at attractions.io, and one of our 2024 Pioneers. Read on to hear all about her career, her experiences with flexible working and building great company cultures, and her hopes for the future of work.

Let’s dig in! 

Tell us a little bit about your career history, and how you got to where you are now. What were the key milestones?

Sure thing, I'm Ellen, and I'm currently Head of Marketing at Attractions.io. I'm now based in Cyprus permanently, but I have worked all over the world, including from Italy, the States and the Middle East. I'm actually one of those people who didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do when I finished university, but I did know that after three years of studying politics, I wasn't cut out for a career in it! Instead, in my early career, I always indexed on how much I identified with the company's mission and culture – which led me to a graduate scheme at Walgreens Boots Alliance, where I rotated through different commercial disciplines. 

In my final rotation, I was working on own-brand activation for a new market, so you could say that was my first exposure to a traditional marketing role! I fell in love with the creative element but wanted to be more involved with the campaign process, including measurement and strategy, which sat with a different team. At the same time, as an introvert, I found it challenging to focus in the huge open office and sometimes felt like I wasn't doing my best work. I eventually concluded that these things might resolve themselves if I was in a smaller company where I could be a) exposed to the end-to-end processes and b) somewhere quieter!

I started exploring digital marketing opportunities and taking online courses to get myself up to speed with basic SEO and marketing methodologies. I then landed my first freelance gig while still looking for a full-time role. Fast forward a few years, and a recruiter got in touch to introduce me to Attractions.io. By this point, I knew that I wanted to move to Cyprus as my now husband and I had been doing long distance for a couple of years, so I nervously plucked up the courage to ask my future boss whether they'd be open to remote working. To my surprise, he said yes without hesitation, and I've now been with Attractions.io for around three years, having worked up from Content Manager to Head of Marketing. 

When did you become interested in flexible working, EVPs, Employer Brand, and the future of work?

I had a number of experiences in my early career that got me fired up about flexibility, remote working and just the importance of fostering culture generally. There was wanting to physically be in the same place as my partner. I'd also had a tough personal experience in a previous role where I was made to return to the office too early. I can remember sitting at my desk in tears because I wasn't capable of being there at that time. Funnily enough, I would have been able to do most of my work from home had flexibility been an option but it wasn't their approach. Being an introvert and in writing-heavy roles, 

I know I do my best deep work at home without distractions. I think these factors kind of combined into a fierce advocacy of flexible working. Also, working in tech now, it's become painfully apparent how significant the gender gap is in the sector. Up until last year, I was one of two women at Attractions.io. We've put a lot of time and energy into building out our employer brand, shouting about the flexibility and benefits we do offer, and are now starting to see more diversity reflected in our team, which is a brilliant leap forward and one of the most rewarding parts of my job. 

What is the most impactful change that you’ve implemented?

A whole host of policies fall into this, but I'm incredibly proud of how we've joined together as a team to tackle underrepresentation across the business. We've changed the narrative internally from 'the gap will naturally fix itself as we scale' to 'we can actively drive change' across the entire organisation. We've focused on the end-to-end employee experience, reframing our interview process, supporting people through life events with additional leave and phased return-to-work plans and made sure that women in the organisation have peers to lean on, even if that means setting up external mentors. Women now comprise more than 30% of our team, which is a huge step forward.

What’s the biggest impact flexible working has had on your own life?

Flexible work means I can live in the same country as my partner without worrying about sacrificing my career or vice versa.  The first few years after graduation, I struggled to balance career aspirations with personal aspirations. I'd met my now Husband, and we'd decided that he would go back to his home country of Cyprus, and I would stay in the UK to complete my graduate scheme. I struggled with the long distance, but at the same time, I knew that the chances of me getting my career off the ground in a country where I didn't speak the native language weren't high, and for a few years, I really couldn't find a way to reconcile both parts of my life.

A few years later, a friend landed a job at GitLab, which was leap years ahead in terms of pioneering remote work programs, and I think that was the trigger for me. I took her lead, began searching for remote first opportunities, and was eventually connected to Attractions.io – safe to say it went well from there! Now I have a job I love and flexibility in terms of where I work (I moved to Cyprus full-time last March) and how I work, so I can still come home and adjust my hours to spend time with my family. Balance restored! 

What's the biggest challenge of being in your role right now?

As AI-generated content becomes ubiquitous, distinguishing genuine content and communicating authentic value is going to be a big challenge. The likelihood of consumers being exposed to content that doesn't quite match reality is only going to increase and early research suggests that may incline people to become sceptical of what they read online. Finding ways to really prove we walk the walk will be key. I think brands need a thoughtful strategy and consistent effort to engage with their audiences in a way that is transparent and uniquely human.

What do you think the next big trend is in working culture?

Building on the momentum gained by remote work and demand for flexible work arrangements I think we'll see more of a shift towards an outcome-based work model where the focus is on the quality and impact of the work completed, rather than the traditional measure of hours spent at the desk. This would acknowledge that meaningful contributions can come from flexible and diverse working conditions, and it champions the idea that success should be measured by results.

For me, an outcome-based model represents a more trusting and autonomous work environment and could empower employees to manage their own schedules and workloads in a way that best suits their productivity and life commitments. 

Take a look at the other Pioneers who made the list, and subscribe to our newsletter to get updates on new Pioneers, guides to help you navigate your strategic role, and exclusive invites to webinars and events