What is your line of work? Why did you join the technology business in the first place? What motivated you?
I’m the Chief Operation Officer for Regional Business Unit B in the UK. I’m not a traditional COO in that I have a background that is technology and sales. I think that helps massively, and I work closely across all aspects of the business.
I’m known in the market though as a Digital Transformation guru – and not just in the way in which consumers interact with organizations but how organizations become more flexible and agile in the way in which their whole operating model works – better enabling them to respond to their customers’ needs.
I’ve always been interested in new technology. As a teenager, I started playing with computers (a TRS-80) to support my dad where he worked. I was writing programs to enable people with severe disabilities to learn and interact. I then did a computing engineering based degree to learn more about how to use technology to make people’s life better through better use of technology.
The degree of change in technology over the past 30 years is phenomenal. My role has often been to understand how to harness these emerging technologies to solve business problems. You may have seen my recent research on Digital Society, looking at how we need improve in this area for the wider benefit of society.
Worldline is operating in a dynamic growth market, with the digitization of payments. It presented a perfect combination of opportunity, combined with my background in technology and digital, to make a real difference throughout the operating model of the business.
What do you find more challenging in your profession?
The market is very disruptive. New technologies and capabilities, competitors and partners are emerging all the time. We all need to keep current and understand the impact on our business. Indeed, we have our own products that we need to ensure are kept current and competitive, and we have to target and justify our investments in the right areas. Transforming ways of working, capabilities, working with new technologies – these are challenging areas. I have seen successes and failures in the market, but I’m delighted to have seen us achieve some great results and recognition in the market, having seen our teams win national awards for Digital Leadership, and Test Automation this year.
What are you most proud of in your work?
I think it’s always important to look back on a year and think that you’ve achieved some progress and made a difference. If I look back on last year (2018), we recruited 24 apprentices and put a new development program in place for them. It is a program for school leavers (16 to 18 years old), which, at the end of its 6-year run, gives them a sponsored degree qualification with no debt. In return, Worldline has got a new tranche of digital native millennials who are challenging some of the existing thinking of teams – the merger of their fresh thinking and the depth of experience and knowledge of the existing teams. The impact of this initiative locally was phenomenal and was seen as a very positive message. I’m proud that we manage to do something different, which felt a good thing to do.
What advices would you give to achieve Work-life balance?
I’m conscious that, at times during my career, I did not have a good work life balance, for example, when I was in consulting. When I joined Worldline, it was a conscious decision as my 3 kids were approaching their teenage years and I wanted to be around a little. Worldline gave me that. Yes there is a lot of work to do but the environment is flexible. Indeed, the thing that our employees value the most in the Great Place to Work survey about Worldline is flexibility and the culture we create around that.
My only tips would be to focus on how you can deliver something that you can be proud of, whatever it might be. And everyone needs to find a way to switch off – for me, that’s become my running. It’s also been an amazing way to improve my own health and fitness.
How has Worldline helped you to advance in your career and reach your professional goals?
In the organization globally, I have worked in various areas: whether technical, delivery, consulting, sales. I always worked in the area that I was interesting in. Worldline has enabled me to bring together my experiences and use them to help the Worldline journey, working with a great team locally and globally, with a challenge that was interesting. I've done this role for longer than any other in my life, because I’ve been able to get involved in a range of activities outside of my ‘day job’ which has meant I continue to grow and learn other aspects of our global business. It’s been fun.