Today, I want to take a moment to recognise a truly remarkable member of the Xero team, Catherine Walker, aka “^OG” or “Orange Girl.”
Catherine was part of the founding Xero crew, and after nearly 17 years, is our longest-serving employee and has seen Xero grow from its humble beginnings on her dining table in her Wellington apartment, to the global company it is today.
Catherine was an early adopter of social media business communities, and spoke at our first ever Xerocon about how businesses could leverage social media – something ahead of its time. She wrote the first Xero “user guide” and implemented an integrated model of community and customer service in the early days at Xero. The customer experience is something that we hold with the utmost importance and we continue to evolve and foster today.
Catherine has made many valuable contributions to Xero over the years. As many small businesses know, starting a company means doing a bit of everything, and when Xero was being established Catherine built desks, bought stationery supplies, baked for team events, tested the product, visited partners, hosted webinars, answered customer tickets over the holidays, knitted jumpers for new babies, and so much more. Catherine has interacted with thousands of customers online and has been a critical advocate for them, bringing all the customer feedback into the right teams. Her passion is rooted in helping our customers and she has held many hands – sharing countless videos and screenshots showing customers how to do things on the Xero platform and has supported customers in their toughest times. OG has jumped in at all hours of the day and night to support customers from planes, trains, park benches, grocery stores, restaurants, mountain tops or at home during lockdown.
Catherine was essential in starting Xero’s US operations. After setting up an office in an incubator in San Francisco, she later moved to New York, her dream location, and has lived there the past 10 years in midtown Manhattan.
Catherine’s impact on Xero and our community cannot be overstated. She has been a dedicated community manager, passionate teacher, and patient listener for both customers and Xero staff. In the early days of Xero and the emergence of social media, she introduced a whole new style of online customer support with the simultaneous integration of community building. Nothing can diminish the incredible contribution Catherine has made to Xero. It’s no wonder customers have referred to her as our “Xero mum.”
OG, thank you for everything you have done. As you leave the business today, know that your impact on Xero is legendary and we wish you all the best for your future endeavors.