Jennie Rogerson is Global Head of People at Canva, a free online visual communication and collaboration platform with a mission to empower the whole world to design. Jennie leads a team of 300 people who come together to dream up and create Canva’s unique team experience, from recruitment to alumni and everything in between, for 2,800 Canvanauts around the world. Prior to this, Jennie joined Canva in 2019 as the first person in Leadership Operations for Co-founders, and CEO and COO: Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht. Similar to a Chief of Staff role, Jennie wore many hats from strategic partner, cat herder, and dot connector, to the driver of many fun and interesting initiatives including Canva’s Future of Work post-COVID approach, Celebration of Diversity strategy, and the Co-founders' pledge to give a 30% stake of Canva to the Canva Foundation.
Everyone has their own vision of a better world of work — for us at Canva, it’s something we’re constantly dreaming about, listening to our team about, and building! There is always so much to be done to create a “better” world of work, and “better” looks different for everyone — so we are constantly listening to our team around the world on what that feels and looks like for them. It’s something we think about a lot as it’s definitely not a one-and-done effort. Thinking of new and imaginative ways of creating an amazing inclusive experience for everyone around the world at Canva will always need to be something we’re thinking of and building in our ever-changing world.
At Canva, we believe one of the most critical things to a better world of work is equal opportunity and true inclusion: a world where every single person can be completely themselves, without even thinking about it.
It means that everyone has a space where they can share ideas freely and equally, and diversity is celebrated in the moments that matter most — where teams embrace the incredible richness of perspective, thought, background and life experience of truly diverse teams to bring all our goals to life for our equally and amazingly diverse community.
Something that means a lot to me, and that I’m also constantly hearing from the team at Canva and through our hiring process, is the importance of being able to do work that contributes towards helping people and making the world a better place. At Canva, everything we do ladders up to our Two-Step Plan – step one: build one of the most valuable companies in the world, and step two: do the most good we can. Something that I truly believe is that a “better world of work” is a future where every single person is working towards something bigger than themselves and making a real positive impact on the world, in any way that feels meaningful to them.
One of the things I love most about working at Canva is our setting, hitting, and celebrating our Crazy Big Goals. We take this same approach when it comes to building a better world of work. That’s not to say we have it all figured out — we don’t, and there’s a lot more we want to learn and do, but one way we’re striving for a better world of work is by fostering a workplace that truly celebrates inclusivity and diversity; creating a place where everyone feels safe and that they belong from day one. We’re working on this through a range of initiatives, but one example we’re incredibly proud of is our onboarding process which sets the expectation that creating an amazingly inclusive place to work is the responsibility of every single one of us right around the world.
Another way we’re building a better world of work is by focusing on collaboration and impact, instead of traditional titles or levels. We have a huge mission to Empower the World to Design and we have a highly collaborative team to get there. While traditionally titles or levels have often granted decision-making abilities or growth opportunities, at Canva, we always try to lean on our values and strive to all take on new goals and solve Canva’s biggest challenges, without such an importance on a traditional hierarchy. Good ideas really do come from everywhere!
We’re also looking to create a better world of work through our hybrid work model that focuses on the importance of balancing flexibility with connection. What that means is we encourage everyone to work in the way that works best for them and give guidance to work from their local office one to two times a season to connect with their teams. What we’re finding is that a lot of our team are coming into our Canva Campuses (that are fortunate to reopen) often, and we’re hearing it’s because of the flexibility and the unique experiences we offer. We’re really lucky to have an amazingly talented group of people that we call the Vibe team who organise all of these incredible events and experiences every day. What it comes down to is always striving to create a collaborative and inclusive space where everyone is free to come and go, get together with their team to learn, connect with people at an event by one of our 500+ clubs, and do a fitness class (think everything from meditation to rock climbing) and much, much more.
It could go a lot of different ways but one thing’s for sure: work will be more flexible — what we’re increasingly hearing through our team and when talking to potential candidates is that people are choosing jobs based on flexibility so they can create the work-life balance that works for them and their families.
In the next few years, I think it will become incredibly important for organisations to create work cultures that are based on trust and transparency — trust around people managing their own time, and what truly matters is the goals that are achieved.
At the same time people want to feel connected, so we’ll see a lot of companies doubling down on creating meaningful remote, hybrid, and in-person gatherings to make this happen. That’s what we’re focussing on at Canva anyway!
Because of hybrid work, companies have been able to tap into wider, more diverse talent pools — from totally remote workers to stay-at-home parents, to people based all over the world who can now work in a way that best works for them — and this will only increase as more organisations adjust to a hybrid and global way of working. We’ll see a lot more organisations invest in diversity and inclusion, which I hope and believe will breed a lot more innovation, and create a fairer and more inclusive world to work in as people come together who would never have had the chance to before. While diversity and inclusion will never be “done”, as it truly is something that will be forever evolving, I’m excited to see huge progress in this space over the next few years and I hope to see true inclusion become just a standard part of how we work, everywhere.
I could go on but to wrap up, as a final note, and an important one — I think we can also expect more and more people to choose companies that are having a positive impact on the world. It’s something we hear time and time again at Canva — that our team feels connected to our Two-Step Plan, and we’re hearing it’s a huge driver for new people joining the Canva team. Something that I truly believe is that the future of work will continue to evolve to everyone wanting to work for companies that allow them to have a direct impact on something bigger than themselves and towards making the world a better place.
This is not so much a challenge but what we view at Canva as an ongoing journey of collective listening, learning, and action – and that is, creating a unified team experience that truly balances connection, flexibility, and inclusivity. We believe it’s this balance that’s key to making sure everyone is doing work that truly fulfils us, aligns with our values, and has real-world impact.
Learn by doing, and by listening!
Don't hesitate to make things happen –as long as you’re focused on impact and act in accordance with your values, and are constantly listening to your team. The rest will follow.
Apart from the Canva team (cliché but it’s true) — someone I’ve always admired is Liz Fosslien. A favourite of mine is Liz’s book, No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work, which I recommend to every newbie on my team. I’m always trying to learn new things about the psychology and wellbeing of teams, and the importance of practising emotional intelligence at work –certain emotions can sometimes feel overwhelming but there are lots of amazing people talking about them and how we can use them to build better teams!
Hear from Dimitra Manis, S&P Global’s, Executive Vice President Chief Purpose Officer, on why companies need to embody a people first approach in response to crisis.
Frances Valintine, Founder of Tech Futures Lab, shares that all team members should feel confident in their decision-making and contribution for a better world of work.
Itʼs time to move away from the perspective that culture and a physical office are the same thing. Learn more from Xero’s People Experience Manager, Nicole Reid.
How do you create a brilliant virtual experience whilst still maintaining engagement? Florence Ferreira, Brand Strategist at Autodesk France, shares her thoughts on how.
Hear from Suncorp’s Group Executive, People, Culture & Advocacy, Fiona Thompson, on why leader capability is the most important driver to improve the experience of work.
A better world of work is where there is choice. Read more from Jennifer Mumford, VP, People & Culture, US, about why it’s important to give your team choice.
Hear from Brighte Founder and CEO, Katherine McConnell, on her predictions for how the working world will shift and why we need to focus on outcomes over hours.
What does one of the best DEIB specialists think a better world of work looks like? Find out in our interview with Mary Haddock-Staniland from EverCommerce.
VP, Head of APAC, Paul Sigaloff, discusses why a better world of work is rooted in flexibility and inclusiveness in our Leaders Building a Better World of Work list.
You know the brand, now hear from their Global Head of People, Jennie Rogerson, on what makes Canva one of the top places to work in our Better World of Work list.
Why are core values important for businesses to build a better world of work? Hear why Sean Nolan, Co-Founder and CEO of Blink thinks so in our Better World of Work list.
Find out why Deborah Choi, Managing Director of Founderland, feels that there is no one size fits all approach to be a truly inclusive workplace.
Be inclusive in decision making and welcome change to stay relevant. Read more insights with Louise O’Driscoll, Canon EMEA, Sustainability Communications Specialist.
Find out why Stuart Hughes, CIO at Rolls-Royce, believes leaders need to understand the individual wants and needs of your teammates to build a better world of work.
Discover how Microsoft New Zealand, Managing Director, Vanessa Sorenson, is bringing diversity and inclusion into their initiatives to build a better world of work.
Read why NLdigital’s Public Policy Manager, Yeni Joseph, feels that diverse perspectives allow companies to grow in our Leaders Building a Better World of Work list.