Meet Jo Ward

So, where do I start?

In 1985 I joined National Westminster Bank in the West End of London and so began my illustrious Banking career that spanned 25 years! At Nat West I developed my first class customer service skills that I truly believe were the foundation for the successes that were to follow. When NatWest put profitability, call centres and sales targets ahead of personal customer service I knew it was time for me to move on.

Heeding the advice to work for a “proper bank” my next job was at Baring Brothers & Co in the City – and the culture shock could not have been greater. I’d left the cool funky West End for 1900’s City of London – at that time as I woman I was not even allowed to wear trousers in the office! This is where I began my specialisation in Commercial & Corporate Lending, where I gained unique insights and understanding of a multitude of different businesses in all sectors across the globe from sole traders right through to FTSE 100 & Fortune 500 companies. I progressed through many roles in many organisations developing and consolidating this expertise. My final role of note in Banking was as the Head of Lending Administration, Europe at National Australia Bank in London. If you are really interested, please click here for a detailed list of my employers and positions:

So now I have an awful confession – I am a process geek.

Having started my career in the pre-desktop computer days when we communicated via telex and by letter post I have been fortunate (and fascinated) to witness how advances in technology have made our lives easier as a force for good – however I’ve also seen it at its’worse where it became an excuse for people to hide behind or even misuse (think Barings).

A common thread throughout my career (in fact you could even call it a passion) is a desire to see things done properly in a streamlined efficient way – eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy and bottlenecks. In my experience, too many people are resistant to change so even when a new technology is introduced many gains are lost by the system being “modified” to fit existing processes – and then they would have the cheek to complain that their jobs had not been improved!

Post-Banking I joined Misys as a Solutions Consultant – an SME in Pre-Sales for one of their most successful products, LoanIQ. The primary purpose of my role was to challenge the requests from clients to adapt our software to fit their existing processes on a peer to peer basis. The commercial reality however was very different because when a client is willing to pay for customisations the client gets to pay for them (even when it makes it worse or is just plain wrong)! It was for this reason I decided that I needed a fresh challenge.

So what was I going to do next?

As is often the way, at this point fate intervened. I had been recruiting and growing successful highly motivated teams for more than 20 years and this, coupled with my knowledge, expertise and experience in fast growth scaling, business process re-engineering and change management would be invaluable to the startups that Ken was consulting with – at this point we joined forces and that is how Winter Court Consulting began.

When not working I am either feeding my Arsenal Football Club obsession, playing computer games on whatever bit of technical kit is closest or watching/reading all things sci fi, fantasy & superhero related.

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