At Laka, we're celebrating International Women's Day by introducing some of the awesome women leaders that drive our company forward.

#EachForEqual is the campaign theme for International Women's Day. At Laka, we support equality and diversity and strive to make a difference by our mutual love for cycling, technology, communities, and of course - bicycle insurance!

So without further ado, meet the team who are helping shape Laka and disrupting the traditional insurance model by championing community-driven insurance to cyclists everywhere.

Juliet Elliott

Juliet is a Laka ambassador, cycling influencer, a HUGE advocate for female cycling - and basically a superstar on two wheels. We're stoked to have a female cyclist like Juliet spreading the Laka word and helping to build our community of cyclists.

We asked Juliet and the team some quick fire questions on work and play....

1. Describe the Laka culture in one word: Community
2. What is your superpower at work? Hmm. Probably having a diverse set of skills. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades.
3. What makes cycling special? To me, it’s the fact it can be anything you want it to be. It can be childish, silly, freedom, transport, exercise, adrenalin, relaxation. It’s everything.
4. One peer to peer tip for women to thrive in our industry? Tell your story your way. Everyone has a unique story and perspective and others are interested in hearing about it.
5. Who inspires you? I’m inspired by the next generation of women and girl skateboarders and BMXers. People like Sky Brown and Hannah Roberts. I am also super inspired by Lael Wilcox, she’s a real hero.
6. What is your proudest cycling achievement? Doing well at Red Hook Crit meant a lot to me. I’d a couple of top ten finishes that I fought so hard for. I’m also proud that I started racing super late and went from drinking and smoking to racing the Tour Series!
7. What are you reading / listening to? I read a lot, usually about an hour before bed. I’m into all sorts of things, literary fiction, post modern American fiction… I like Philip Roth, Murakami, Dave Eggers, stuff like that. I’m a metalhead at heart but these days I listen to a lot more diverse music. From Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, to Cat Power, Lizzo, Daughter, Idles, Chelsea Wolfe. All sorts really.
8. What type of bikes do you ride? Road, gravel, track, MTB,
9. What is your dream cycling holiday? I’d love to go an stay in a fantastic hotel with amazing food, swimming pools, a kids club and great facilities then go on long sunny gravel rides each morning. Either that or the total opposite - bikepacking with my family somewhere like Montenegro
10. Your favourite cycling quote or song? "Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer, do.”

Kelly Barnes

Kelly is Laka's latest hire - our VP Marketing is on a mission to drive fast growth in the UK and new territories. Alongside serious business stuff, Kelly can be mostly found on a bike, in the ocean or on various adventures. But back to serious business stuff...

"As a women, Insuretech is a great industry to be in right now. It's a space where, if you can be forward thinking and agile, you can really make a difference. That's why I joined Laka, because it's different - Laka is challenging the outdated insurance models of old and putting the customer first - the Laka community-insurance model does just that. It's great to be a part of a company who are shaking up an industry."

1. Describe the Laka culture in one word: Awesome  
2. What is your superpower at work? Bringing a sprinkle of stucture to a high growth company to help prep for global domination.
3. What makes cycling special? I actually prefer to cycle alone. It's an escape, it's re-balance time, and growing up in Wales - those hills make cycling freaking good exercise.
4. One peer to peer tip for women to thrive in our industry? Be brave - believe in what you do and how you do it, and surround yourself with good people. (Ok that was two tips.)
5. Who inspires you?  Dr Sylvia Earle - recognised by Time Magazine as a woman who is changing the world. Denied a scientist assistantship as she was told "you're just going to get married and have kids". She did just that, but over the past five decades she has also become the worlds leading oceanographer, had the ear of US Presidents, and is the National Geographic explorer in residence. Even at 83 she spends three months a year on ocean expeditions to raise awareness of ocean conservation. A true trailblazer who has inspired a generation to protect our oceans.
6. What is your proudest cycling achievement? Taking my eight year old newphew on his first DH run at Cwmcarn - for those who know Cwmcarn, you'll know it's an achievement in itself for an adult to get down unscathed.
7. What are you reading / listening to? As a surfer, I'm all about Jack Johnson and anything acoustic guitar.
8. What type of bikes do you ride? Road, adventure, MTB
9. What is your dream cycling holiday? As a fan of the finer things in life (cheese & wine), I do love my annual road cycling holiday in France. However, I've always wanted to ride the Death Road, so a mountain biking trip to Bolivia and the awe-inspiring Andes is at the top of my cycling holiday bucketlist.
10. Your favourite cycling quote or song? As someone who uses a bike to explore wherever I go on holiday, my fave quote is from Ernest Hemingway - “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them."

Penny Penati

Penny is the Chief of Staff @ Laka. Penny is championing women in tech and paving the way for a new type of role in the workplace. In her own words....

I'm Penny - a female cyclist working in Insuretech here at Laka. I've recently transitioned to a Chief of Staff role, and the role, in short, is the glue that binds an executive group together. Traditional female support roles are normally seen as Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants and the like - it's exciting that this new type of role can serve as a career path from anything from PA's, to Operations, Strategists etc.!  It's great to build the profile of new types of roles in tech, and it's a positive step to help attract more women to the Insuretech industry."

1. Describe the Laka culture in one word: Fun
2. What is your superpower at work? It's two fold, which go hand in hand - getting sh*t done, and chasing people up in order to get sh*t done!
3. What makes cycling special? I commute to work and it's 40 minutes one way. What makes it so special is that in the morning, I arrive at work feeling revived and ready to get my work done (as opposed to taking the tube and feeling still quite sleepy). In the evening when I cycle back, it's a wind-down to the day, and it's just me and my bike. With mobility being a hot topic right now, I'm a real advocate of using cycling for transport, it not only cuts pollution but it has a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Cycling to work rocks.
4. One peer to peer tip for women to thrive in our industry? Hard one. Do, learn, reflect and do better and most importantly don't lose yourself in the process.
5. Who inspires you? I've had many women that have inspired me through different chapters in my life. I recently read Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg (my goal is to become COO) so hearing her story and her insights was fascinating. Not only this, lately I'm inspired by myself, which is a great thing to say! I am goal driven, and therefore when I set goals, and achieve them, I inspire myself to do even better, and to reach even higher, and to be the best that I can be.
6. What is your proudest cycling achievement? To give some context: I'm a new cyclist, and I mainly use my bike for work. I live in West London - my stamina is poor, and my sense of direction even worse. So when I cycled to Canary Wharf (getting lost during the way, so probably took me more than I should) and back I was so proud that I actually did it. I didn't give up and to I definitely rewarded myself with a very delicious meal.
7. What are you reading / listening to? At the moment I'm reading Becoming by Michelle Obama.
8. What type of bikes do you ride? A Specialized road bike - Her name is Alexis!
9. What is your dream cycling holiday? I once cycled in the south of Italy in Puglia along the coast, it was very picturesque. I would love to go back and see how much I've improved my cycling and can go further than last time
10. Your favourite cycling quote or song? Song: Sky and Sand by Paul Kalkbrenner

Coming soon... a cycling event not to be missed!

To celebrate International Women's Day, we’re teaming up with a top female rider & a cycling influencer to bring you a Laka community event. Get a taste for the track, stretch out in our yoga sesh and hang out with our event hosts with a Q&A in the clubhouse bar.

Like Laka on Facebook where we'll post details about who will be there and how you can get on the guest list!

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