Yes there is someone who was there right at the start who was really pivotal – she was Helen Craik, one of the company’s founders.
Helen had been an HR person all of her life – mostly doing interim HR work so she had seen an awful lot of companies. I worked with her for 4 years between 1006 and 2010 and she taught me a lot about HR. The core of our culture – treating people well and fairly in a high performance culture, sharing information openly and treating staff as valuable stakeholders who would make the difference to our growth – that was all helen. She invented the employee share plan and our quarterly all-staff business updates which ran for nearly 8 years.
She taught me about communicating early and honestly – one of her quotes was “Tell your people as much as you can as early as you can – they can handle the truth.”
There’s a quote from her in the Rebel Playbook – she was a pretty amazing person and I owe her a lot.