I joined SSGC in 2014 on a six-month internship, working through the company’s different departments. At the end, they asked me to stay and I was offered a position in finance. This was a really positive development for me – I was finance manager for two years and SSGC sponsored my MBA at Oxford Brookes University.
In June 2018, I left SSGC to start my own company, a travel agency focused on technology and AI to organise surprise trips for customers. It was a success and won awards. In September 2019, SSGC asked me to come back as general manager, which was a great opportunity to be involved in all parts of the business, not just finance.
Being in a management role is something I’ve always wanted to do. We started doing some great things with the company just before the pandemic hit and then the journey just went upwards like a rocket! We had to change our processes quite a lot as it’s very different dealing with nearly 4,000 employees compared with 200.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was a big challenge maintaining a work/life balance. But during that time, my relationship with co-workers such as Andy changed from colleagues to friends.
The biggest issue I faced when I came back to the company was our IT infrastructure. We had a stable system in place but it was hard to develop and maintain.
We had to really work on getting things right, setting out our road map for where we wanted to go and link that with our new technologies. This ended up in my hands because of my experience and interest in technology.
Most of the things in the system came from operational needs and wish lists. We looked at the best way we could add features to the system and make them work – not just for now but for the future, potentially for use in different sectors and with other companies.
Now, all our employees have access to our system and can see their rotas; we can bulk schedule shifts and we have the facility to schedule automatically. All of these are differentiators which set us apart from our competitors in the market.