Sal Freudenberg is a Cucumber
This April, Dr Sallyann Freudenberg joined Aslak Hellesøy, Julien Biezemans, Steve Tooke, Seb Rose, and I as a co-founder of Cucumber Ltd. I’m afraid, yes, it’s taken me this long to write the blog post.
Sal brings with her a wealth of experience doing, teaching and coaching Agile software development right up to executive level. More than that, her pioneering work in neurodiversity and heartfelt passion for helping all kinds of minds to collaborate, exemplified by the Inclusive Collaboration movement she set up with Katherine Kirk, or her PHD work on pair programming, adds depth, integrity and sophistication to what we do every day.
Sal has been a friend from the agile community for years, and when she decided to take some time out, after being diagnosed as autistic, to try being a programmer again it was natural for us to invite her to spend some time with us. I did not imagine at the time that that little experiment would lead to this.
Although Cucumber was started by a bunch of white dudes, we all believe in equity. This self-described kick-ass feminist is an excellent start on the path to a more diverse executive team.
Sal has dived in wholeheartedly to contribute her incredible energy, intelligence and good humour at multiple levels in the organisation:
- hacking on Cucumber Pro’s codebase on a regular basis as a member of our remote mob-programming team
- gently but confidently coaching us to agree on a mission statement for the organisation
- providing feedback, coaching and inspiration to our BDD trainers
- coaching us to evolve a more confident, clear company strategy
At our recent meet-up in Edinburgh, we decided to invite Sal to take over from me as the lead of our company’s strategy. Sal has exactly the right combination of humility, vulnerability, candour, confidence and sheer fizzle to be just the kind of leader we need.
I can’t imagine us in safer hands.