Speaker Interview: Ann Roberts
Get to know the thought leaders sharing their insight at the Future Work Scenarios event (11 May, London) in our dedicated speaker interview series.
Independent Forums: What are you currently reading?
Ann Roberts: Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky
Independent Forums: What is your favourite way to recharge?
Ann Roberts: Binging YouTube content. Favourite channels: Veritasium, the Plain Bagel, anything on minimalism.
Independent Forums: Who or what has inspired you this year and why?
Ann Roberts: I've been inspired by the surge of independent creators on social media covering all things the world of work - they're relatable, vulnerable, funny and informative. People often assume because I'm a seasoned Chief People Officer I must read all the high-brow books and research papers - I do that as well, but most of my inspiration comes from Instagram. I say more power to the people and the power of socially distributed platforms to shine light on issues of today and bringing it to the policymakers.
Independent Forums: What is your biggest source of motivation?
Ann Roberts: Sense of belonging and making an impact in the world. Sounds fluffy but basically what it boils down to in the daily grind.
Independent Forums: How would you describe a typical day?
Ann Roberts: Get woken up at 6am in a bedroom raid by two 3-year-olds. Get them ready for nursery (people think I have a stressful job, but these are my real daily cortisol spike hours). 2-3h of uninterrupted focus time. 25min workout. Some Zoom meetings + discussions. Slack and work. 6pm clock off if all goes to plan. Dinner. PJ Masks. Bathtime & bed. Realise the morning ambitions of watching a film were short-sighted. Bedtime.
Independent Forums: What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?
Ann Roberts: I am weirdly drawn to manual labour, I get a real kick out of it. Raking leaves, digging holes, chopping wood, heaving heavy things. Maybe my modern computer-human work is abstracting me from the roots of human labour, so I take every opportunity I can to tap back into it.
Independent Forums: What’s one thing about your organisation that you wish more people knew? Ann Roberts: Flo Health is building a better future for female health, an area of human wellbeing that is medically underserved, scientifically underrepresented and socially inaccessible to too many. If everybody knew that, this would already be enough.
Independent Forums: How has your perception about the world of work evolved over the past three years? Ann Roberts: I became a mom 3 years ago, and my perceptions about the world of work have gained immensely from the first-person perspective of what it means to be a working parent since then. Because I've always been in HR, I had the intellectual understanding and knowledge, but none of the genuine empathy - and this is what makes for better policy-building and inclusion.
Independent Forums: Where do you see the biggest opportunity to transform the way we work?
Ann Roberts: If all organisations started genuinely and universally measuring people on their work and impact, not where they get the work done. Independent Forums: What are you most looking forward to at Future Work Scenarios 2023?
Ann Roberts: New snippets of insight, inspiration and divergent perspectives in debate.
Ann Roberts will deliver a keynote talk on 'Organisational resilience in the face of crisis' at FWS23 on 11 May in London.
Register here to join the conversation.