Inside aytm: Meet Heather Hill, Sr. People Operations Manager

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Posted Jul 19, 2023
Trevor Brown

Heather Hill manages People Operations here at aytm and has been with the company for almost five years now. Her beaming positivity and dedicated care helps us continue to build a happy and fulfilling work environment for everyone at aytm. We were so excited to catch up with her and learn a little bit more about what she does both inside and outside aytm. Check it out!

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do here at aytm?

As the sole People Operations Manager, I'm responsible for supporting our amazing people at aytm. I help with anything our employees need to thrive—benefits, payroll, team events, job posting, onboarding, you name it!

What's it like doing People Operations for a remote company?

Our culture places high importance on ensuring our people feel cared for—which is why initiatives like regular wellbeing surveys help us look out for our team. Managing people remotely has its challenges since we don't share a physical workspace. But I love the chance to connect one-on-one with our team in new ways. It's been really fun taking on this new challenge!

Heather smiling to camera at her home in Arizona
Heather at her home in Arizona

How did you decide to get into your field?

I have a 30-year background in Healthcare Administration, which set me up for success in a role focused on human resources (we call it people operations), bookkeeping, technology and management. When I moved across the country to Arizona, I decided to pursue all the things I loved doing and leave the healthcare part behind.

I'm a positive, happy person who wants to share that upbeat energy through empathy and compassion. In healthcare, I gained well-rounded experience by working my way up from receptionist to administrator. Healthcare administration requires juggling many responsibilities—from technology to real estate to insurance. At aytm, I've been able to leverage my expertise in an exciting new context!

Was it an easy transition from Healthcare Administration to People Ops?

The transition was smooth because aytm allowed me to shape my role based on my interests and background. I love working with people, but also enjoy the numbers side—aytm gave me the perfect blend.

Here’s a cool story: I started at aytm with a part-time role in accounts receivable. One week later, I found myself visiting Pennsylvania and decided to meet up with one of aytm's founders, David Handel. David’s background is in Radiology (among many other things), and because he knew firsthand what it took to be an Administrator in healthcare, he immediately saw how my background could translate to people operations, payroll and benefits. I had a wonderful chat with him and his wife, April. We really hit it off, and a few days later, I got a text message offering me a full-time position in finance & HR, which blended to my current Senior role in People Operations!

What’s something you’re passionate about?

I'm passionate about holistic wellness and staying active. I enjoy the outdoors—camping, paddleboarding, hiking waterfalls in Mexico, and other adventures.

Heather on the top of a mountain with her back to camera, overlooking water stretching to the horizona
Heather hiked to the top of Monkey Mountain, Sayulita Mexico

My healthcare background instilled in me the importance of preventive health. Working in Oncology showed how vital it is to take care of our bodies. Later in Allergy and Immunology, I learned the role of our immune systems, and how nutrition and lifestyle supports overall wellbeing.

Now at 59, fitness enables me to stay energetic and withstand life's challenges. I prioritize strength training, balance, and joint health to keep my body resilient. To me, it's all about understanding the connection between what we put in our bodies and how we feel. I’m really interested in these practices and fully believe that, while it may look different for everyone, wellness is the best preparation for a long, vibrant life.

How do you balance your career and personal life at aytm?

aytm's flexible, remote work culture gives me the ability to maintain an active lifestyle and continue to travel. Since 2014, I’ve been paddleboarding and sometimes surfing in Punta de Mita, Mexico. We saw humpback whales breaching just 30 feet away from our boards!

The flexibility allows me to balance work and play. I can get my job done for my team while still making time for adventure. I return to Mexico often to hike waterfalls, hang out with friends, and appreciate the simple things.

aytm's trust and autonomy empowers me to be my best self, both personally and professionally. I'm able to integrate self-care and wellness despite the remote environment. The work-life integration here enables me to show up fully present for both my team and my health.

What’s a fun fact about you that might surprise people?

Back in 2011, I vividly remember seeing someone headstand on a paddleboard and thinking,  “I want to learn to do that!” Soon enough, I did! And started doing headstands everywhere. In fact, it became my signature move, earning the nickname "HHH" aka “Heather Hasta Headstand!”

In 2012 I discovered paddleboard racing—we use these long, slim racing boards. Turns out I was really competitive. Most of my friends and colleagues know that I love stand-up paddleboarding. But many don't realize that between ages of 48 and 52, I competed in paddleboard racing! Over 4 years, I won races and beat competitors half my age! During this time, I became much more athletic. 

Paddleboarding showed it's never too late to discover new talents. I still train to maintain strength for headstands on the water!

Heather in the middle of a paddleboard race
Heather at the peak of her racing career (50 years old)

Which aytm Core Value is your favorite and why?

aytm core value: Empathy

“Empathy:  Look at things from the perspective of others. Augment and evolve your views. Create a safe, caring, friendly space that supports and celebrates everyone. Craft the best possible experience for anyone on the receiving end of your work.”    

I’m a very positive, empathetic and happy person myself and I spread that in all my connections here at aytm.  As an HR professional, it’s my privilege to create a very safe and confidential environment for everyone to come to me—a virtual open door. 

I really love Empathy as a core value. It reminds me to look at things from others’ perspective—that’s how I can best do my job. This is where positivity and happiness comes back in. It’s the way I present myself when I enter a room, so this core value stands out the most. It’s aytm’s value, and it’s one of mine as well.  We all could use more of that. 

What stands out to you about the culture at aytm?

Just look at all of aytm’s core values. When we first came up with them, I’ll admit that I couldn’t fully see the impact of each value, but now you can really see them woven into the fabric of our company. Now it’s clear that the people who work here believe in what we’re doing and want to stick around. It’s not just about developing business, it’s about developing ourselves—you don’t always get that. 

What advice would you give someone just starting out at aytm?

Create a quiet environment to work in, and set up some healthy, flexible but core working hour boundaries for yourself. And get ready: It’s going to be the best culture you’ve ever experienced! So have fun with us, take the trivia brain breaks, enjoy some coffee chats with someone you haven’t met yet. Everyone has a voice here at aytm, so share your thoughts with us. We are a group of diverse humans who make up this incredible company, your voice matters! 

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