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Lynn Pope, Head of division, data development and operations, St James's Place Wealth Management

Path to power

 

After deciding that my original degree choice in Alternative Energy was not quite right, I went on to study Information Systems and Economics. After graduating, I had my mind set on consulting and was fortunate to gain a role as a consultant at Amadeus Software which specialised in SAS software. After five years of travelling and working with many different organisations developing solutions in SAS, I moved to The AA, drawn to an organisation that was beginning to understand and embrace the need for good data and value adding insight. Within my 11 years at the AA, my role included the mobilisation of the technical team to support and subsequently expand the policy data warehouse and realisation of the BI strategy. Leaving the AA for Mango Solutions and the lure of data science, I had the opportunity to work with some exceptionally-talented people, to learn from them and to be involved in some truly innovative initiatives. St James’s Place Wealth Management now offers an opportunity to further develop its data strategy during an exciting time of transformation.

 

What has been the highlight of your career in the industry to date?

 

It’s difficult to select just one career highlight. I have been very fortunate to work for some great companies with some fantastic people and to be part of some very exciting data and analytics ventures. For me, the last few years have been fantastic, moving from a role I had been in for some time to work within the data science community for a data science consultancy. I had the opportunity to work with some exceptionally talented people, to learn from them and to be involved in some truly innovative initiatives.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice about how to progress in this industry, what would it be?

 

Take every opportunity to learn from others. Trust in your own abilities and just go for it - it is okay to fail now and then, learn from it, improve and go again.

 

Did 2018 turn out the way you expected? If not, in what ways was it different?

 

In a word, no - it far exceeded my expectations. It has been a year of change for me and my family: moving house, children’s schools and employment all at the same time, none of which was planned. Sometimes you need to grasp opportunities and run with them, and that is exactly what I have done by joining St James’s Place Wealth Management at a very exciting time for them in terms of data transformation.

 

What do you expect 2019 to be like for the industry?

 

We will continue to see challenges in protection, management and governance for organisations as digitisation will continue to drive IT architecture. Combined with the adoption of open source and cloud services as we see orgainsations adopting data-as-a-service to their consumers. All of which leads to competition for skilled personnel leading to organisations working smarter to retain skilled individuals.

 

Talent and skills are always a challenge to find - how are you tackling this in your organisation?

 

Focusing on attracting and retaining talent was a major focus of my role within Mango Solutions. Working closely with universities, welcoming placement students, who we involved in all aspects of Mango. Running and attending meet-ups, untilising social media and attending career fairs to attract talent, all underpinned by value adding benefits and flexible working patterns. Provide a nurturing environment ensuring clear career paths, challenging projects, opportunities to develop and innovate, training, encouraging conference and meet-up attendance, all combined with the trusted consultant programme.

 

What aspect of data, analytics or their use are you most optimistic about and why?

 

More organisations are understanding that data must be understood and of high quality. Data management and quality is no longer seen as a barrier slowing development, but essential to ensuring superior data decisions.

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