Destination Dubrovnik: Meet Sarah Hawley from Growmotely

Total Croatia News

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A busy season for Croatia’s digital nomad story is about to begin. Last year’s highlights included the introduction of the digital nomad permit on January 1, 2021, and destinations such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik attracted global interest with award-winning events such as Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence project.

Both Zagreb and Dubrovnik will continue their push to position themselves in the market in 2022, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2022 set to take place in June, and a news conference before that in Dubrovnik, as previously reported on TCN: Work. Place. Culture.

Work.Place.Culture is the conference which brings work from anywhere to absolutely everywhere. Join remote professionals and destinations from around the world as they inspire a global workforce that has greater location flexibility than ever before, and the destinations which are reinventing to support them through policy, infrastructure, and community.


Additionally, as part of the Work.Place.Culture Conference, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board is launching its official workation program pilot, in conjunction with Saltwater and Sun Gardens Dubrovnik. The winning team will enjoy a 1-week stay (between 1 and 9 May 2022) at the 5 Star Sun Gardens Dubrovnik and have the chance to partake in a specialty workshop – strategy planning, team building, wellbeing, and leadership are among the options available. The all-star team will also present at the Work. Place. Culture. Conference on 5-7 May 2022. Applications are open until this Friday, April 15! Click HERE to apply.

Total Croatia News continues to present the elite lineup for the Work. Place. Culture., this time with Sarah Hawley. Sarah launched the Growmotely platform during the pandemic, with the goal of connecting professionals with their dream jobs at companies they love, and to date, Growmotely has already placed 100 professionals in remote jobs that will help them find the balance they seek between travel and professional development. Sarah will be one of the ambassadors at the Work.Place.Culture Conference and she will share all of her wisdom regarding the evolution of work culture with the attendees.

Just reading the About Us page on your personal website put a smile on my face. You clearly are in a great personal space at the moment. Tell us about that and the journey to get there.

Ah thank you! I do have a wonderful life (filled with all the usual ups and downs related to being human!) and I’d say I’ve very intentionally created it. In 2014, I decided to turn all my businesses remote and move to the USA from Australia. I spent most years pre-pandemic traveling for 8+ months, and built a large global community. During the pandemic I met my now husband, and had a baby (along with launching Growmotely!) so there were lots of very shiny silver linings for me during this time.


Your new project is called Growmotely, which launched about a year ago. Introduce it and tell us how it is going.

Growmotely is the world’s first remote work marketplace, placing professionals into long term and full-time positions at companies they love. We firmly rooted in culture-matching and helping candidate and companies find alignment and culture fit. We’re a community co-creating the future of work together, and it’s an incredible, passion-fueled journey. We’re currently crowdfunding, which is also very exciting to be providing deeper ways for our community to be a part of building this together, investment starts at just $150.


Interestingly, you say that you have moved away from traditional advertising in favour of community generated PR, an interesting move. How is that working?

So well! It took us just three months to be growing organically at the same rate as we were previously having to pay for growth. We feel really proud of our conviction in making a tough decision, and staying true to our values and integrity. Our community is our top priority, and growing from such a strong core of committed professionals is incredibly rewarding.

The concept of work is clearly changing rapidly. What advice do you have for people who are interested in exploring more, but are a little afraid to take the leap?

In this case, I promise you… the grass IS greener on the other side! While it may seem scary at first to step into the new world of work, you won’t look back. The freedom to build your lifestyle exactly how you’d like it, to have the freedom to move around and travel, and to work with a globally diverse group of people everyday is worth overcoming any lingering fears!


How many job placements have you achieved so far at Growmotely, and do you have a favourite story?

To date we’ve placed almost 100 professionals (not including our own team) into meaningful, remote work at companies they love. Just last week two sisters from Nigeria were placed into (different) companies in the same week! Seeing two women, sisters, who were committed to creating a better life for themselves, go on that journey together and support each other was really powerful, and the fact the both received offers within a matter of days felt like divine timing.   

One of your aims is to visit every country in the world. How is that going, and is Croatia already on the list?

I’ve already visited Croatia, yes! However VERY excited to return. I’m at around 60 right now, and the past couple of years definitely slowed my pace. I also have a one year old now, so it might continue to evolve at a slower pace, however life is long and I’m excited to continue on this adventure.

And so to the Dubrovnik Work. Place. Culture. conference. Why does it appeal to you, what will you be speaking about, and what do you hope to get from your time in Dubrovnik?

I’m excited Croatia understands the importance of the shifts work has made, and are making such a beautiful effort and intention to welcome people in and open up this conversation for a more integrated work and life experience. I’ll be sharing my own experiences, specifically how remote work opened up for me a path into conscious leadership. I’ll share with our attendees how work culture is evolving, and how to step into a more conscious leadership space, turning our organizations into vehicles for transformational healing, growth and evolution for the people we work with.


You obviously follow global trends in remote work. How do you assess Croatia’s efforts so far, and what does it need to do to move things forward?

Croatia seems truly invested in welcoming nomads and building a thriving hotspot for global workers to come and experience Croatian life. I’m excited to watch how this evolves. From our perspective, work is being uncoupled from nation-state, and in effect becoming more simplified. It’s my hope we can move toward a much simpler regulatory environment for both workers, and small businesses, allowing individuals to personally arrange their own taxes and companies to simply engage people without having so much local legislation to comply with.

Sarah’s new book Conscious Leadership is available now. You can listen it FREE on Audible.

If you have not yet registered your team to participate in a luxury workation in Dubrovnik, you can do so through this LINK. Applications are until this Friday the 15th!

You can download the full programme of the Work.Place.Culture Conference in Dubrovnik here.

Work. Place. Culture. is a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and TCN, with support from the Digital Nomad Association Croatia and Dubrovacka Bastina. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week is a partnership between Zagreb Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN. 

To learn more about magnificent Dubrovnik, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, in partnership with Sun Gardens Dubrovnik.  

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section


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