I thought it might be about time for you to hear from someone at Engage Financial Services other than Sam, and as I am currently the only other person at Engage Financial Services that means me!
So, hello. I am Stevie Uddin - Chief Operational Officer, Chief Customer Officer, Chief Scanning/Copying/Printing/Filing Officer, Chief Pretty Much Everything Except Advising (for now at least) Officer at Engage Financial Services.
Last week marked the 3-month anniversary of when I officially joined the company, and it’s certainly been an eventful 3 months. I say ‘officially’ as Sam first approached me about a potential role with Engage Financial Services long before there even was an Engage Financial Services. He had an idea, had all the experience, but he knew he was going to need some help to turn it into a reality.
That’s where I came in.
Over the course of my career I’ve gained a relatively broad range of experience across multiple industries – but all of the different roles I’ve taken on have encompassed an element of client behaviour, experience and journey. My most recent role prior to this one, was managing the brilliant and very talented Insight Team at House of Fraser. I was with the company for nearly 11 years in total, working my way up from customer analyst on a team of 3, to building and running a fully cross-functional insight department.
Before that, I was an econometrician for a marketing consultancy for several years, and I also gained my first experience of the finance industry at GE Capital (running management information for their auto-finance business) and then later at Prudential (managing marketing campaigns and analytics across their UK investment client base).
Sam understood how strongly I believe in the long-term value (both tangible and intangible) that can be gained when ensuring that the customers' needs are made central to a business. He also recognised that I’m not afraid of hard work and getting my hands dirty! He told me it would be tough, and that at times it would be frustrating - but Sam’s passion for his vision of what Engage Financial Services could become was so enticing, I knew I had to be involved. His enthusiasm was infectious! And so, in February this year, I made my decision and handed in my resignation to the company I had spent more than a decade with.
I haven’t looked back since.
I must admit – despite Sam’s warnings, and my previous experience with financial providers - I still wasn’t quite prepared for what life at a financial services company would be like. I thought I got it but it didn’t take long at all in my new role to realise - I didn’t get it. I didn’t get it at all! I live for the little details. I love being organised. I reallylove a spreadsheet (I sound fun, don’t I)?! Yet the level of detail and organisation and time required when starting a financial services business is on a whole new level. I have spreadsheets to organise my spreadsheets!
I have to say though – I’m revelling in it! I believe we have a strong and unique business model, with a CEO who genuinely has the clients' best interests at heart – and it feels really good to be a part of something new and exciting.
And did I mention the spreadsheets?
I must admit it’s taking a bit of adjusting to go from being the most experienced member of a team, to being a complete rookie. I’ve learned a lot these first few months, and yet I’m very aware that I still have a long way to go. I’ve also made a fair few mistakes, and I know they won’t be my last.
But the extreme frenzy of the company launch is finally starting to ease a little, and we’re just beginning to move towards the next phase. Which so far seems to be the marginally less frenzied business as usual phase! So now we can start to settle into our roles and responsibilities, and focus on building on the strong foundations we’ve laid.
I realise that I haven’t actually mentioned any personal stuff about me. Having heard me go on about my love of a spreadsheet though, I imagine you’re not anticipating there’s anything too salacious to tell! And you’d be right.
I do feel that I should probably at least clarify - for those that haven’t met me, or haven’t seen my picture on the ‘Our Story’ page of our site yet - I’m female! I appreciate my name can cause some confusion.
There’s not too much to report. I’m 38 years old. I live in North London with my husband (who definitely does not share my enthusiasm for all things Excel), our very energetic 5-year-old boy Jacob, and our equally spirited 2-year-old girl Leni (you might have thought I’d have spared her from a lifetime of having to constantly clarify her gender but, no). We have a very close, and very large family on both sides – which is brilliant, chaotic fun and I feel very lucky to have so many of them living close by. Except at Christmas time!!
But then, that’s just another excuse for a spreadsheet…