What is your line of work? Why did you join the technology business in the first place? What motivated you?
I joined the technology business in the mid 90’s purely by coincidence. I was a photographic librarian and moved into a technology company, managing a library of mainframe manuals. My thought was “how different could it be?”. That seems like such a long time ago now!
Through acquisitions, I joined the Sema Group in 1998 and have undertaken a variety of roles, predominately in the UK Transport Sector. Since the privatization of UK Rail, Worldline, and its predecessors Sema and Schlumberger, have brought innovation to a sector that is increasingly looking to technology for solutions to business problems. Our strength and depth of knowledge and skills, gained from our extensive experience in the industry, are unique. Worldline makes it possible for travelers to enjoy a seamless journey while reducing costs for transport companies, through digital ticketing, journey management and of course, payment solutions.
In my current role, I manage a team of 70 people working on the Lennon Service for one customer, Rail Delivery Group. The Rail Delivery Group brings together the companies that run Britain’s railway into a single team with one goal - to deliver a better railway for passengers. The Lennon Service receives and processes circa 2M rail ticket transactions per day and settles nearly £1Bn of revenue between rail operators every 4 weeks; a task which cannot be underestimated given the complex nature of the privatized UK Railway.
What do you find more challenging in your profession?
The biggest challenge in my current role is creating and maintaining the depth of industry experience in our teams. Our customers view us as the industry experts with deep domain knowledge, and as time moves on, and our key people retire, we need to ensure we create a sustainable depth of knowledge, not just in the technologies employed, but in the industry as a whole. This industry knowledge, coupled with our technology knowledge, is what sets us apart from other suppliers. Our ability to use technology to solve complex industry challenges is one of our unique selling points and one we must not lose sight of.
What are you most proud of in your work?
I am immensely proud of my team. The hard work and dedication they display each and every day, ensuring we deliver projects and services to the best of our ability, always makes me smile. We have also built a strong relationship with our customer, a true partnership where open and honest dialogue is encouraged and welcome.
Looking back to previous roles, on 5th July 2010, I was proud to lead a small team that delivered a major milestone for our company, with the launch of redspottedhanky.com - our first consumer service – in record time. Redspottedhanky.com is an online travel retailer that provides an easy way for leisure and business travelers to compare and book cheap train tickets online, saving up to 80% on the cost of tickets booked in advance. It was also the first ever British online retailer to offer loyalty points that could be redeemed against future train travel for any journey in Great Britain. The launch of redspottedhanky.com was one of the first examples of how our business evolved into a transaction based model. The continued advance in technology, together with strong price pressures meant that our customers increasingly only wanted to pay for the outputs that we delivered.
What advices would you give to achieve work-life balance?
I have two children, and a Cockapoo, and have always strived to achieve a balance between work and home commitments. As I work from home, it is even more imperative that I separate work from my personal life. As we grow increasingly more connected through technology and social media, it is becoming more and more difficult to separate work from our personal lives. It is all too common to check emails at all hours and work on our laptops on weekends, something which I discourage as much as possible. We all need some downtime. That said, the days of working 9am to 5pm are gone and both employers and employees need to be flexible, reacting to peaks and troughs in workload as required. I firmly believe that companies need to offer a good work/life balance as this can lead to increased productivity, lower absenteeism and a happier, less stressed workforce.
How has Worldline helped you to advance in your career and reach your professional goals?
I have over 24 years of service with our company and throughout that time I have been lucky enough to grow through a variety of internal and external facing roles, from Project and Program Management, Sales and Account Management and Delivery Management. This variety, along with leadership support and effective training, is the reason I am still here. Variety has been for me a key driver in my success and has kept me motivated. Loyalty works both ways and our commitment to training our employees and giving them opportunities to advance and vary their experiences plus recognition of their achievements needs to be the cornerstone of our employee development and training strategy.