Gavin Rae: from the soccer fields to the Product ground

Thiga is proudly 4th in the HappyatWork ranking and is part of the 25 most attractive startups in France (and soon in Australia!) according to LinkedIn #LinkedInTopStartups in 2018.

So instead of making a tasteless press release, we prefer to put the light on humans behind Thiga to let them tell us a bit more about themselves and what excites them at Thiga. Today’s portrait of our series: Gavin Rae!

Gavin Rae - Thiga

My journey to Thiga – (the micro version)

I have recently joined Thiga here In Australia, starting around 12 weeks ago now (time flies).

To get to this point it has been an interesting ride, to say the least. Let’s go through it very very quickly!!!

I played professional football in the UK for 4 clubs which totalled around 20 years all up (if anyone wants more info – drop me a message, I am happy to chat about football all day long).

From there I retired and emigrated to Australia with my wife and our twins to find sunnier climes here in Sydney. After spending many winters in Scotland I was keen to enjoy some more sun, beaches, great coffee and experience a new lifestyle.

The slight problem was that by doing that – I took away my ambition or opportunity to go into full-time football coaching immediately after I retired(which I had been planning to do and attained my UEFA A coaching licence with a view to doing this). I had a much greater chance to do that in Scotland or the UK where I have good connections, a profile and had already started coaching at a pro level (Dundee FC reserve team).

I knew that would be the case but family always come first. It’s not really a hardship having to ‘try’ and enjoy living in Sydney and even though I miss my family back home – we had to give it a shot (happy to report I am loving it – who wouldn’t!).

Once we got the kids settled into school after around 6 weeks of arriving – it was time to find a ‘real’ job. Having left school at 15 to go into full-time football, I didn’t have any further education to fall back on(I regret not studying more whilst involved in football full time).

I started applying for marketing and any roles that the job adverts looked enticing. I interviewed for a marketing role but didn’t get it, I was too old I think at 36!

Then I stumbled onto a job ad that sounded right up my street:

“Are you competitive” – Yup
“Do you like being part of a team” – yup
“Do you like technology” – yup, love it.
“Do you want to give yourself a chance to earn a lot of money” – yup, defo!

That job advert was from Evolution Recruitment solutions here in Sydney. A UK formed company that had branched out to Singapore and then Australia.

After taking a chance on me  – Evo had me getting up to speed recruiting in the Project Management and BA space, mostly for permanent positions.

I found it hard adapting to working in an office after spending all my time out on the training field in my previous profession. My boss Liam McDaid was brilliant with me though and very understanding that I was transitioning careers. He and Evo were very patient with me as I really struggled to start with. Just getting used to working in an office was a challenge having not done anything like that in the past.

I moved into Product Management recruitment after around 12 months of starting at Evo and I absolutely loved working in this space. Getting to see and hear about the products the guys and girls I was working with had brought to market or were in the process of delivering gave me a good buzz.

I have always been a gadget geek and wonder If I didn’t play football whether I would have ended up in working in IT myself.

After working at Evo for around 2.5 years, I got an opportunity to work from home for a company called NatRec. 

I thought I would like the flexibility and being at home a lot more than I had been previously – WRONG!!

Seeing my family a lot more was brilliant – but I found it very hard to switch off and get back into work after doing the school runs.

I felt I needed to get a role where I could leave my work at the door and for my home just to be exactly that – a place to chill after putting a shift in during the day.

So being approached to work for Thiga happened at a very good time for me.

It is also a more rounded role for me where I get to look after / coach(my passion) consultants, run meet-up’s, recruit in the Product and UX space(which I love) whilst also getting out to meet new clients and tell them our exciting story.

Thiga is a pure-play digital Product consulting company that has been very successful in France.

Forming in Paris 4 years ago, we have over 60 consultants there now and are growing all the time.

Thiga has become known as the company to turn to when you need digital products delivered. Also running the biggest Product Management conference in France which I was lucky enough to attend in June. There were over 600 people attending and the list of speakers included Lead PM’s from Shopify flown over from Canada.

We are very much in start-up mode here in Sydney and there are new and exciting challenges every day but we are working with some great companies already – helping to deliver their digital products to market with our expert consultants earning rave reviews.

If you would like to know more about me or Thiga please feel free to get in touch!

Gavin Rae

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