Joanne Howes (Sales Director Banking, London)
Jo is a natural born salesperson. She discovered that early in her career. She also likes to keep busy, whether experimenting with family menus, participating in Zumba classes, or whizzing around on her bike, she combines creativity and practicality in her own unique way.
What’s your claim to fame?
Well, that’s a funny story. In fact, it’s something that helped to launch my career. My very first job was with IBM for work experience as part of my business degree. A request came into the company for sponsorship of “Sports Aid”, a huge charity event organized by Bob Geldof. It filtered down through various directors and managers (who were all too busy to get involved) until it landed with me. I jumped at it - and ended up seconded to work in Waterloo, London alongside Bob Geldof with frequent visits from celebrities and pop stars of the time.
My role was to arrange communications links, but the event got a lot of media interest. I had the idea to put an IBM logo on a piece of card and position it in view whenever filming was taking place and regularly this appeared on the evening news. This soon got the attention of the IBM executives, who were delighted at the free publicity. It was an amazing experience in every way. It certainly helped me to get noticed and launched my career. That’s my claim to fame.
Tell me a little about what you do in FintechOS
I work very much in a hands-on role, building up the sales structures and of course developing new business opportunities. A key part of my job is to also help develop the sales strategy and approach, in particular for the financial services market in the UK. FintechOS is all pretty new to me at the moment, but it’s great to be working at such an exciting point for the company. I’m quite used to managing large, established teams, so this is exciting, dynamic and lots of fun.
What makes you different?
Let me see - well, to my knowledge I’m the only Emmett Practitioner working in Fintech, so that’s different. Emmett is my hobby! It’s a gentle, non-invasive therapy that’s designed to relieve discomfort or restricted movement from injury or repetitive postural habits. I actually found out about it when I was dealing with pain myself and sought out treatment. An Emmett Therapist simply pressed on a few muscles and the relief was fantastic. That therapist recommended a one-day course to me, so I could learn to treat myself. From that point on, I was hooked. Since then, I’ve done ten professional courses and treated over 200 people, mainly family and friends. It’s amazing to see how applying pressure at certain points on a muscle can stop pain so effectively. I really enjoy having the tools to help people in this way.
As part of my continued professional development, I attend training courses annually. Of course, I’m always the only person in the room who works in Fintech. Everyone else’s day job is usually some form of therapy or medical profession, so I always feel quite unique!
How did you come across the company?
FintechOS is a company that I was aware of sometime before I joined. My career to date has spanned telecoms, collaboration and financial services software. I was interested to see FintechOS gaining momentum and winning Europa’s award for hottest Fintech startup.
How has it been going so far?
In general, I find it to be a really pragmatic and positive company. The culture at FintechOS is all about people and the sheer amount of quality people I’ve connected with so far tells me a lot about the place. Strong teams are created here, because everyone is valued for who they are and what they have to offer. In the end, the sum of all that individuality really benefits the company.
In another life, what would you be?
Who knows? I might have been an athlete, or an artist of some kind. I suppose my natural business skills determined the path I chose in the end, but I love the sense of balance and humanity that creativity brings. I can tap into the human element by helping people through the therapy. That’s really rewarding, not as a means of earning income, but to do something to help others.
Any other hobbies?
I do love cooking. All sorts of cuisine appeal to me, especially Thai and Japanese. My subscription to a small vineyard in South Africa supports that supplier and keeps me stocked up on great wine too. As well as enjoying good food, I do Zumba twice a week, and have recently discovered cycling... with my electric bike. I love getting out and discovering hidden gems in my locality and beyond.
What advice would you give to someone joining the company?
I’d say go with the flow and see where your journey of discovery takes you. Also, connect to as many colleagues as you can. ‘People quality’ is such a strong point of this company. I’ve learned so much from each person I’ve connected with and there’s such a willingness to help from everyone. There are a lot of well-organized resources to tap into too. I’d definitely recommend the Academy. Get as much as you can from the training there, it’s a great platform to learn all about the product.
What does the future hold for you?
As I mentioned, being a fully-fledged Emmett Therapist could be on the horizon eventually, but that’s a while away yet. For now, there’s lots of other things to focus on. The next five years are my chance to influence the direction of FintechOS, so I’ll be concentrating on that. I joined at a stage where hopefully I can really make a difference, and I want to exploit that opportunity. On a personal level, as my kids become increasingly independent, and the world opens up again, I’ll kick off some travel and escape to the sun when I can. Based on my previous trips, I’ve already got a few places in mind!