Team Advocates

Say hello to James

Vice President of People Development

Alive. Bold. Soccer.

James’s Story


I’m originally from the UK from a county called West Sussex. The Royal Wedding was a real boon for me now people have heard of Sussex!

My career has taken a few twists and turns. I’m a Computer Scientist by training (University of “old” York, UK) and I started a consulting company building mobile applications in 1998 before it was “cool” or – let’s be honest – a viable business. I was the technical lead for the company. Microsoft hired me to be a Product Manager in 2003. They moved me out to Seattle, and I’ve been in the PNW ever since. I spent my time at Microsoft working as a Product Manager for a variety of products including Windows Mobile, Visual Studio, Portable Media Center (Zune for a bit) and Internet Explorer. From Microsoft, I joined HTC to help create a division focusing on innovative software/web services experiences where we built services like iMessage and Apple News. I held a variety of leadership roles from Program Management, to Network Operations and finally rose to lead the division.

The next question people ask me is “How come you do People / HR stuff now?”. The short answer is that after running teams from small to big, I realized I cared a lot more about how the team worked together, team culture, hiring approach, and building managers, so after 17 years building products I took a leap and switched careers into “people stuff”, most recently leading People Ops over at Socrata. I picked up up an International Coaching Federation certification along the way.

I now live in Magnolia with my wife Amy and two children Tilly and Lilah. Outside of the rhythm and flow of family life, I like to cycle and read; I love both recorded and live music. I’m also a competitive speedcuber meaning I enter competitions to solve various twisty puzzles like the Rubik’s Cube quickly. My current personal best for the standard 3×3 cube is 22.06 seconds and 34.26 seconds in competition. For physical fitness, I play soccer, although I’ve been injured through the summer.

I recently started a project called Silent Superheroes to gather and share the stories of people’s experience managing mental illness in the workplace. You can find out more here. In that site, you’ll learn that I have bipolar type 2 disorder, which I manage carefully to ensure I’m a good father, husband, friend, and colleague.

Gravity has a strong people culture and has been innovative in its people initiatives. I hope to combine my experience running People Ops for Socrata, building products, leading teams, and coaching skills to continue to strengthen and innovate around the people infrastructure of Gravity. I also make good tea.

James Trivia

  • Favorite Food: I miss roadside $3 dumplings from my time working in Taiwan. I love a good curry and have a sweet tooth, so I love a visit to Cupcake Royale.
  • Favorite Movie: Shaun of the Dead – who doesn’t love a romantic comedy with zombies?
  • Favorite Book: Lord of the Rings
  • Hobbies: Speedcubing, reading, cycling, music, and video games.
  • Favorite Quote: “Because love’s such an old-fashioned word, and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night, and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves.” – Queen and David Bowie
This is just one great person in Team Advocates!

View the rest of the team here.