We’re kicking off the 2024 series of ‘Meet the Neighbours’ by introducing Val Litja, our Operations and Optimisation Lead, responsible for ensuring that everything is running smoothly, from day-to-day functions to long-term service improvements and projects.
Starting her career in operations management with some of the biggest household brand names and working across Asia, North America, Canada and New Zealand, Val’s experience in this area is vast. She has brought many of these skills to her role at Neighbourly in the last 20 months, in particular implementing operational frameworks that maximise efficiency throughout the business.
Your role covers so many areas of the business, what does a typical day look like as an Operations Lead?
I always start the day by monitoring KPIs, before leading a stand-up with the service desk team to discuss status. I also conduct 1-2-1s and stand-ups with the other teams where we review project progress. Then, I shift focus towards long-term projects and risk mitigation planning.
“Neighbourly's commitment to uniting communities and strengthening local connections mirrors my core values and purpose.”
What attracted you to working at Neighbourly?
Neighbourly's commitment to uniting communities and strengthening local connections mirrors my core values and purpose. Becoming a mother made it clear to me what I care about most - bringing people together to make meaningful change happen. The prospect of enabling businesses and causes to positively impact our neighbourhoods echoes deeply of my own personal experience. An environment facilitating professional and personal growth, around a start-up on a scalable mission also excites me. Most importantly, Neighbourly genuinely walks the walk on culture - supporting employees, fostering community and flexibility.
What would you say is your proudest moment/biggest achievement from your time working at Neighbourly?
Since joining Neighbourly, my greatest and most fulfilling achievement has been spearheading back-to-back ISO 27001:2013 certifications. Guiding the team's collaborative efforts to meet rigorous international standards will always be a career highlight. Our determination, commitment and detailed planning paid off by satisfying all ISO requirements for two consecutive years.
Are there any projects you’re especially looking forward to in 2024?
We’re currently in the process of optimising our community engagement approach, to a leaner, more centralised system. This strategy allows for better tracking of communications and services provided to our network. As a result, our workflows will become even more efficient and transparent.
“Embrace operations as a lifelong pursuit of innovative solutions rather than a checklist of tasks.”
What advice would you give to other operations professionals who aspire to make a positive impact through their work?
Find your purpose within operational excellence. Whilst often perceived as more of a mechanical function, operations done right will empower companies to better serve people. Approach your responsibilities through that lens, creating value for stakeholders through continual improvements and embrace operations as a lifelong pursuit of innovative solutions, rather than a checklist of tasks
My advice is to see operations as the heartbeat powering organisations to deliver on ambitions. Allow that big-picture view to drive your leadership. Focus on progress over perfection and have the courage to question the status quo when you spot chances to create positive impact.
Most importantly, believe in your ability to make a difference through operational excellence - as that self-confidence unlocks your greatest contributions.
Enjoyed this? Meet more of the neighbours here:
- Meet Jane - Neighbourly's Brand and Communications Lead | #MeetTheNeighbours
- Meet Sally - Client Success Director at Neighbourly | a #MeetTheNeighbours B Corp Month Special
- Meet Yang - Product Owner at Neighbourly | #MeetTheNeighbours
- Meet Harvey - Client Success Manager at Neighbourly | #MeetTheNeighbours
- Meet Kwame - Data Engineer at Neighbourly | #MeetTheNeighbours
- Meet Merryn - Community Manager Team Lead at Neighbourly | #MeetTheNeighbours
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