Meet Our People, Culture & Office Manager

Article by NEMO

Meet Our People, Culture & Office Manager

Welcome to our Employee Spotlight series — a chance to get to know the folks behind NEMO who work hard to innovate amazing gear, improve our impact on the planet, and inspire adventure for all.

 

Employee Name: Jill Holt
Title/Position: People, Culture & Office Manager 
Years at NEMO: 1.5 (She was employee #23!) 

 

Jill and an hors d'oeuvres trayJill and one of her famous spreads. 

 

What does your role entail? What types of projects do you work on, or what duties are you responsible for? 

Primarily, I’m here to enhance the employee experience. Once a person gets their offer letter, it’s my job to do the onboarding and orientation and give them an awesome first experience with NEMO before they’re handed off to their manager. I also try to keep in touch with them throughout their tenure to find out what their needs are and help make their career path clear for them. 

On the culture side, it takes more than one person to build a culture, obviously. So, it’s very much about listening to what [our CEO] Cam’s vision is for the company and what the employees want. I’m very fortunate that you guys aren’t shy in telling me what you want because it makes my job easier — I can then create events internally and externally based on that communication. 

Oh, and I also order the toilet paper for the office. 

 

You’re truly the hero of the office. 

[Laughs] I was hired during COVID, so I think the biggest challenge is figuring out how to keep us all connected through remote and now hybrid working — without being overconnected. I look forward to seeing where this takes us as we continue to be hybrid until further notice. 

 

What part of your background/experience led you here? To this role, and/or at NEMO? 

I am definitely a Jill of all trades. My education is in Early Ed, so I was a kindergarten teacher — which translates very well sometimes! I then worked in divorce court for ten years (probably why I’m single). My HR experience started when I worked for Jabra, a Danish company, and I was very involved with employee onboarding and benefits. I really loved the one-on-one interaction that was available at that company.  

In 2008 I pivoted and went in more of a philanthropic direction, which is how I ended up at Timberland as part of their corporate social responsibility team. I was their community engagement manager, so I planned all the community engagement events both locally and nationally. I was there to help continue the awesome culture and had 8 great successful years there, but it was time for a change. This role came to me, and it encompassed everything I love. I love HR because I love the people aspect of it; I love planning events; and I’m hoping to make community service a bigger priority for us in the near future. 

... And, again, I love providing people with two-ply toilet paper. 

 

It cannot be overemphasized how crucial this is. 

It’s my go-to pick-up line when I meet men. [Laughs] 

 

A proud NH native, Jill's working on the 52 With a View list!

 

Talk to me about setting up events for a big group of people... I get overwhelmed just trying to plan a camping trip for myself! Any advice or tips? 

Fifty people is nothing — I used to do it for 600 at Timberland, in three different states, 8 different sites. I’m a master project manager. I’ve been doing it so long that I don’t even use spreadsheets or Asana, I just use Post-It notes and my brain! 

One tip for a successful event: You must visit the site beforehand. You can’t go in there blind, even if it’s inconvenient for me or for the place we’re going. And I always look carefully at logistics because it’s the little things that really make a difference — when there’s no parking, when it’s inaccessible, when it’s really far for some but not others... That’s the stuff that drives people crazy. 

Also, I never leave home without HandiWipes, a first aid kit, and Advil. That’s what people always ask me for! Oh, and always buy extra water, always. You can never have too much water. 

 

What’s the best part about your role, specifically? 

I forget this and need to remind myself: I’m one of the few positions in the company that gets to know everyone right away. Because I’m onboarding, I know where someone's going and who they work with, and I’m very fortunate because I already know a little bit about them – if they’re on the quieter side or more gregarious. I love that part, and I love seeing people grow in their roles. I’ve only been here a year and a half, but I've already seen one of our Customer Service Guides transition to a new position, and that’s so exciting to me.

  


"Adventure Anywhere" in action — biking around Manchester, NH!

 

What's the best part of working for NEMO?

I love that NEMO isn’t trying to just recruit people from The North Face or Patagonia or Osprey or whatever. Obviously, we need some of those technical people, but I love seeing that they’re going outside the outdoor industry to bring people in. I think it’s going to make us even better. 

 

Talk to me about your experience with the outdoors, or what about it that you enjoy. 

I’m not your typical outdoors person. I love to golf and garden. I don’t mind camping... I'm a glamper, a car camper. I’ve gone backpacking and will go again. I’m working on the 52 with a View list – I'm at like 22. But the outdoor world for me is more about taking care of the outdoors... Timberland was a fashion brand when I was there, but they also had a tremendous impact on the outdoors. They were part of a group that planted 50 million trees and reforested a desert. I’m more in it for that.  

And I just love to cook, so I love the challenge of cooking on an open fire. 

 

Yeah, you said you had some camping recipes to share! Something about “walking tacos”? 

Walking tacos are the best! You just make taco filling — tofu, chicken, ground beef, whatever; get all your toppings, get a bag of Fritos, cut the top off, throw it all in, and chow down. 

 

Do you make the filling at the campsite, or ahead of time? 

I make it ahead of time. I like to prep as much as I can because once you get to the campsite, that’s fun time. 

 

If your priority is to camp in comfort and style, what are your must-have pieces? 

Honestly, good food, good friends, and a fire. Everything else is just a bonus. When you don’t try so hard to make memories is when you have the best time. 

 

What advice do you have for someone looking to join the outdoor industry or NEMO, specifically? 

Be open to anything and realize what kind of company you’re looking at — we were only 23 people when I was hired. I had just come from a company of 400–600 people, depending on the year. You’ve got to realize that you’re going take on a lot more here.  

Being a customer and knowing the product helps. Look on LinkedIn and find people to connect with, or if a company is having a public event, go to it! All these events we do are for potential candidates, as well — they're not just for customers. 

The outdoor space is available to everyone, so bring your uniqueness to it. If you like playing disc golf, awesome! That’s the outside. You like cooking outside? You’re a master barbecuer? That’s the outside.