Cogent Crew: Meet Jimmy



Sharing an insider look at our people and how we help ideas like yours turn into thriving digital businesses.

A behind-the-scenes look at the people who make us great.

Welcome to the latest edition of the Cogent Crew series, where we invite you to get to know the people who make Cogent what it is.

This month one of our Developers, Matty Ensore interviewed our People Guy, Jimmy. Find out how a rock climbing holiday to a remote island in Thailand lead Jimmy to Cogent and some sage life advice for all the guys out there.

Name: James (Jimmy) Fearne
Job: People Guy
Time at Cogent: 8 months

Matty: Jimmy, you’ve been with us for about 8 months, tell us what an average day looks like?

On a typical day I’d be interviewing candidates and chatting with people about working at Cogent. I get to find out about why people love the places they’ve worked previously and what they most enjoy about their job, and then I get to see whether or not it aligns with Cogent; what we do and what we offer.

Jimmy having a really good day!

Matty: Sounds cool!

Yeah, I think the coolest part is that most people I meet want to do stuff that inspires them, and they want to work on projects that they believe in. If you can do this in your work and get paid for it, that’s pretty awesome.

Matty: So how did you get into this sort of stuff?

A few years ago I was rock climbing in a little place in Thailand called Ton Sai. It’s an area with 200 metre high limestone cliffs shooting up out of the sea, amazing sandy beaches and coconut trees. I ended up meeting a guy who ran a recruitment company here in Melbourne and we got chatting. At the time I was working in sales but I had a real love for meeting new people, learning about new things and new technologies. We had a great chat about what it was like to work in recruitment and I was sold.

Matty: Was he a salesman as well?

He was in recruitment, so a bit of a salesman. When I came back to Australia I walked up to his office and asked him for a job. He politely declined but that didn’t deter me and I found a job at a small agency. In the first couple months of my role I got a guy a position with a manufacturing company. I’d given him the offer and there was this kind of celebratory moment and high fives because he was thrilled he had this new role, but it was much more than that. He actually stopped me and said ‘this impacts my life, my wife, my kids and this could potentially change the course of my career and the rest of my life’. He wanted me to be aware that what I was doing had the potential to shape people’s lives and that was really impactful for me.

Jimmy with the guy that introduced him to the world of recruitment

Matty: If you could pick something other than working in recruitment, what would you like to be?

I studied design all the way through school and graduated from Uni with a Bachelor of Communication Design. As I was finishing my course the financial crisis really hit Melbourne so most businesses weren’t investing too much into advertising and design. The only work I was getting was really just jazzing up annual reports and doing logo designs for small businesses – it was such a jump from what I’d done when I was at Uni that I fell out of love with it. Nowadays, seeing the way that design is done here at Cogent, I could totally see myself running workshops and design sprints. I still love design thinking, I was chatting to one of our designers, Matt Shanks, and we had this conversation around iconography, design and symbology and all of a sudden we’re in this deep, deep conversation, and he looked at me and said, “Wow. You’re really passionate about this stuff.” So in answering your question, I think something in design, something creative.

Matty: Wow that’s so cool. So what projects have you got coming up?

When I came in there was a backlog of work that needed to be done which I spent the first few months getting through, and about a couple weeks ago I finished those projects. Now I’m in this awesome position where we’re starting to look at strategic ways in which we can expand, new ways to engage with people and new initiatives that we can run. The projects I’m involved with are really varied: ranging from looking at ways to make the Cogent team more diverse and inclusive, looking at new ways to use video content to engage with our audience, and cool stuff outside of the the business as usual parts of my role

Matty: What’s been your favourite project you’ve worked on at Cogent so far?

We were recently looking for another Manager, we just literally posted some ads online and had 300 plus people come to us saying ‘your business is awesome and I want to work for you’. They weren’t just run of the mill candidates either, there were some amazing people from amazing businesses who had some incredible ideas. It was so inspiring to know the people viewed Cogent like that and I learnt so much from meeting with a groups of people at that level.

Matty: So what’s the best thing about working at Cogent?

I think its that we really do put people first. There’s very little hierarchy and everyone gets to have their say on how we do things; so people get to work in a way that best suits them, if you want to listen to music then do it, if you want to sit in a bean bag or hang out at a cafe or work from home, then people just do. It sounds pretty simple but having come from businesses that didn’t work like that, it makes a huge difference.

For me, things like self-care, work-life balance, family and relationships are really important. I find that the more that I invest into my own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of my family and my relationships then the more I come to work and I’m firing on all cylinders. I feel great and I’m twice as productive.

Matty: What’s your favourite thing to do at the weekend?

I love rock climbing and I getting outdoors a bit but I haven’t climbed a little while (I broke my elbow skateboarding last year and that has taken a while to heal completely). I’m also a DIY enthusiast and I’ve just renovated my house, which was a huge undertaking and quite the adventure. Aside from that, probably just spending time with family. I’m from a big family and we’re all pretty close. My little brother just had a kid, my best mate just had a kid, and my partner and I are about to get a fur baby so it’s a really exciting time!

Jimmy and a #nofilter photo. We’re not jealous at all.

Matty: Where’s the best place you’ve ever visited?

There’s something about going off the beaten path. The climbing trip I mentioned earlier was to a little island that you could only access via a boat. Everyone that was there loved rock climbing so there was just this amazing atmosphere of people from all over the world coming together to climb.

Jimmy during a climb in Thailand.

Matty: If you had a private chef, what would you get them to make you?

This is probably the hardest thing for a chef, but I love shared plates. I love lots of little things. I get incredibly bad food envy. I hate going to a restaurant where everyone orders one meal and that’s it, you’re committed to it. It could be Indian, Japanese, Malaysian or Italian. I’m all about sharing food.

Matty: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

A lot of the stereotypes tell you that being a man is all about sucking up emotions and how ‘tough’ you can be, but I was once told that being a man is about your capacity to express emotions, to be able to feel them, and be able to connect to them. That’s where the true power is. When I heard that I knew that was the kind of guy I wanted to be. I want to be able to feel and express and kind of connect to life. In all of its richness.

Matty: That’s a healthy thing to be able to do, not bottle things up

Yeah, but I totally thought that I was meant to just shut that stuff down. That I was meant to be the tough guy who didn’t feel anything, who didn’t express my emotions or stuff like that. That’s why when I’m not working at Cogent, I run workshops helping men to be vulnerable and express themselves in a way that’s healthy and safe.

Like the idea of joining the Cogent team? Head over to the Cogent Careers page and say hello

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