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15 March 2024

Lara Longhurst: Leading with Purpose


With a dizzying range of responsibilities, Chief Operating Officer, Lara Longhurst, is at the heart of what makes Hippo, Hippo. Lara’s wealth of experience in technology consulting, spanning 25 years, offers a unique perspective and plays a pivotal role in Hippo’s growth.

Lara oversees several critical functions at the company. This includes Talent Acquisition, Professions, People Operations, Operations, Facilities and the Social Value Strategy. Her expansive, strategic portfolio ensures alignment with the company’s goals and values. This is essential to fostering a culture of continuous improvement and development in the Hippo Herd.

The People of Hippo

With a focus on expanding the Herd, Lara’s responsibilities include strategic recruitment and retention practices. Ably supported by a dedicated in-house talent acquisition team, led by Lynne Mulligan, Lara is tasked with adding over 100 new colleagues to the Hippo team to deliver on growth projections in the coming year. On the retention side of that equation, Lara’s emphasis on nurturing talent underscores Hippo’s commitment to employees by providing opportunities for growth and development.

Focusing on the human aspect of the business is critical to Hippo’s success and remains one of Lara’s key objectives. Within the Professions, Sarah Pope and Jonty Gibson oversee the development of consultants, supporting them to further develop skills and expertise within the professions. Hippo’s trust with organisations of national significance is underpinned by a workforce that remains highly skilled and adaptable in the digital economy. By supporting career advancement opportunities and ensuring that coaching and mentoring support is accessible, Lara empowers individuals to navigate their career paths in an effective fashion that aligns to their own career objectives and Hippo’s business priorities.

Continuing the human theme, the People Operations team is squarely part of Lara’s priorities. Led by Helen Croft, this team plays a key role in providing an employee experience that Lara is keen to continually improve and evolve, enhancing colleague workplace wellbeing. Shaping a positive company culture is part of the Hippo experience from day one and beyond.

Wellbeing at work

Hippo adopted a holistic approach to employee wellbeing, encompassing physical, mental, and financial health aspects. Hippo’s flexible benefits policy reflects this commitment, offering colleagues various options to support their own specific needs.

But employee wellbeing is not just about individual health but also about fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. Hippo cultivates a work environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and empowered to succeed.

Social value strategy is an increasingly important part of Hippo’s mission. Steve Saunders spearheads efforts to integrate social value into the company’s operations, covering environmental responsibility, sustainable procurement, social equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging and health and wellbeing. Through Lara’s leadership, Hippo remains dedicated to making a positive impact on society and the environment.

Creating modern, accessible and sustainable spaces

During Lara’s time as Chief Operating Officer, and as a growing business, Hippo has scaled its presence in a number of cities, including Leeds, Manchester, London, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh. The Facilities team, led by Rob Sweeney provides a physical working environment that supports Hippos but also meets accessibility standards and drives towards more sustainable office solutions whilst considering the impact we have on the environment.

Lara Longhurst’s leadership is characterised by a commitment to excellence, talent development, social responsibility and employee wellbeing. Her holistic approach underscores the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace culture, where employees can thrive personally and professionally. Under Lara’s guidance, Hippo continues to set a benchmark for success in the technology industry, driven by a culture of care, innovation, and purpose.