My interests have always spanned the gap between the arts and the sciences. I love drawing, painting and animation, but I’m also interested in science and technology, so web design and development was quite a natural fit for me.
At the start of my career, I worked in London for a few years, always in web design and development but for different industries. I moved to Cambridge for a job in a games studio and have lived here ever since. Cambridge combines a great amount of history with an impressive tech scene, all condensed into a fairly small, beautiful city, which suits me perfectly.
I’ve done some agency work in the past, which has given me the opportunity to widen my knowledge of various industries and dip my feet in a lot of very different technical challenges.
I’m really in my element when I can sink my teeth into a long-term project though, so when Ian Yates (Neo’s CTO) approached me with the opportunity to build and lead a front-end development team and create a new web platform for Neo, it was an ideal role for me.
2. Tell us about your role at Neo
I’m in charge of the user experience, design and front-end build of the Neo platform. It’s my job to strike a balance between form and function.
When I first started at Neo, Ian had already started putting together a proof-of-concept user interface, but he was clear that he wanted me to start from scratch using my knowledge and experience to build something new from the ground up.
Ian has a great depth of knowledge and a fantastic aptitude for technology, but to complement his interest in system architecture and back end development, I was brought on board to focus on the user-facing side of the platform.
3. What leadership skills and qualities are important in your position at Neo?
One of the most important and challenging parts of my job is pragmatism. As a designer and developer, I like coming up with new ideas and delivering rapid prototypes to demonstrate new concepts, and I encourage my team to contribute to the design process. As a team leader though, I know that not all of our ideas will jump straight to the top of the priority list.
When we come up with new ideas, we have to be realistic and focus our efforts on the aspects of those ideas that will provide an immediate benefit to our users. Encouraging pragmatic solutions while trying not to suppress innovation and creativity can sometimes be a delicate balancing act.
4. How has the treasury landscape changed during your time in the industry and at Neo?
I’ve been working in web design and development for about 12 years, but that career has spanned many different industries, so I have slightly less experience in the treasury landscape than some of my colleagues. I have noticed a significant surge in modern digital solutions though, even in the few years since I started at Neo.
We’ve seen a revolution in personal banking and finance in recent years, and many of the larger banks and organisations are having to race to keep up with all the new features that smaller start-ups have been able to provide.
For a long time, people’s expectation of what a bank account should do was quite limited, but now that some of the disruptors in the industry are offering more and improving at a much faster pace, people are starting to ask “why can’t my bank do that?”
For me, that’s one of the things that makes Neo so exciting. Despite all the progress we’ve seen recently in personal banking, for a long time, corporate finance has been left behind. At Neo, we’re developing features that traditionally haven’t been widely available, and delivering them in a single solution with the kind of user experience people expect from a modern platform.
5. How do you see the industry changing in the next 5-10 years?
Inevitably, the world of corporate finance will catch up, and people will grow accustomed to a new set of expectations for corporate banking platforms. Many of the features people now expect from a personal bank will find their way into the corporate treasurer’s toolkit and the experience of using a corporate account or treasury management system will continue to improve.
At Neo, we aim to lead the charge with this. However, we also realise that the needs of a business are not the same as the needs of an individual, so we have plenty of features on our roadmap that are specifically designed for corporate treasurers, to give them more control, automation and insight with less effort.
These are the things that I believe will keep Neo ahead of the curve.