leep officially launched the leep x Bold Businesses series, an online series focused on exposing young jobseekers to innovative organisations doing great work across leep’s impact areas of DEI, social and environmental impact, and company culture.

For the first installment of the series, leep sat down with Xann Schwinn - CEO and co-founder of The Choral Hub - and Alicia Cadwgan - the startup’s Music and Events Coordinator - to learn more about The Choral Hub, its culture, and what it’s like to work in startups. 

Below are some highlights from the conversation.

Maintaining a positive perspective is crucial to navigating challenges as a startup founder

As the CEO of a growing startup, Xann is no stranger to tackling challenging situations head on. Her company, The Choral Hub, is accelerating fast, having launched their singing for wellness app into beta testing alongside a successful online events series all while growing the team. Throughout it all, Xann maintains that a positive perspective is essential to staying on course in choppy waters.

But staying positive, and energised, is not easy, Xann admits saying, “I think in the startup space and in this remote working space, where we’re all at home, it can be really hard to know when to unplug.” For Xann, maintaining her positive attitude requires practicing self care by doing things that spark joy for her, such as having her morning coffee outside, taking a long walk in a green space or training in Muay Thai. These measures not only bring her joy, but enable her to show up and be a positive leader for her team:

“I’ve found that if I just take a step away, and do something that allows me to focus on something else, then suddenly the problem solving ability comes rushing back in. I’ve found that the more that I practice self care the better I am at staying positive.“

This perspective is something that Xann has integrated into the fabric of The Choral Hub’s culture. 

Fostering a positive culture is a top priority at The Choral Hub 

Xann is clear that in the early days of a startup, a positive culture starts with the founder. As such, Xann has made it a priority to “create a workplace where she would want to work”.  

This has led her to implement flexible working policies that enable her employees to work in ways that suit them best: 

“I want this job to fit around people’s lives, and not have their lives fit around this job. So if people want to, for example, be on a football team that meets in the afternoon, I want them to do it! Because that’s going to make them feel good, and I feel that if my team is happy, if they feel balanced, and feel like they can speak honestly, then they’ll be able to do great work.” 

Xann also emphasised the importance of having a diversity of perspectives within an organisation. One way this is implemented at The Choral Hub is through the hiring process, where candidates are asked questions about their values rather than their skillset alone.

This, Xann finds, is a better indicator that an individual will make a strong contribution to the team. It’s also a practice that encourages inclusion as it prevents talented candidates, who may be lacking trainable skills, from dropping out of the recruitment process. 

Alicia Cadwgan, the Music and Events Coordinator at The Choral Hub discussed how this environment makes her feel saying, “I’ve always felt supported. I feel like I can talk to anybody on the team if I needed help with something at work, or if I needed to talk about something personal as well.”

Opportunities for learning and growth on the job enable employees to thrive 

Alicia also discussed how she’s grown in confidence since starting at The Choral Hub due to the many opportunities to learn new skills and take ownership of her work: 

“I feel like I’ve definitely grown in confidence since starting at The Choral Hub. There have been lots of opportunities for me to learn new things and try things I’ve never done before.” 

For Xann, empowering her employees is an essential component to creating a culture where people thrive, saying she believes that, “when you give people the opportunity to rise, they will rise.” 

Xann’s sentiments are backed by a plethora of studies that show opportunities for growth are among the most important factors for employees within a role. When asked what kinds of growth opportunities Alicia has had, she said that among other things, such as training programmes, a highlight for her has been leading meetings on her own, which is something she said she would not have had the confidence to do before.

Positive company cultures, like the one being created at The Choral Hub, where employees feel supported, have opportunities to learn, grow, and work flexibility yield greater rates of retention, productivity and workplace satisfaction. 

While many startups don’t prioritise fostering a positive company culture, The Choral Hub makes it clear that organisations can create these cultures at any stage of their development and when they do, their employees thrive. 

Go to thechoralhub.com to learn more about their innovative signing app tchzant, or to join their Come Sing! Club.