Field: Executive Manager, Business Development
When I joined St. James’s Place four and a half years ago, I didn’t come from your typical sales management background. I’d been involved in Business Consultancy and worked in financial services for around 18 years before moving into the corporate side. I held national consultancy roles and worked with companies such as Friends Provident, Zurich and AXA. Back then, St. James's Place was a relatively new player and they attracted lots of attention, appearing to have a desire to be at the forefront of the industry. I found all of this incredibly appealing and applied for the position of Executive Manager, Business Development. I would have joined earlier except my brother in law was already working there!
In essence, I provide business consultancy to Partners to help them grow their businesses. You could say that I become a non-Executive Director of their companies, providing advice, guidance and support to help Partners develop in the way that they want to. It’s not ‘one size fits all’, that approach simply wouldn’t work with some of St. James's Place’s highest performing Partners. For example, one may want to earn more from the client base they have, another might wish to attract further business. It really depends on the individual partner, so I have to provide a much more bespoke consultancy service.
My job is all about helping businesses to grow. And while that hasn’t changed, how we do it has. The tools available, the resources, the whole service is constantly evolving. But it’s still a very driven environment, where you’ve got to cut your teeth and earn the respect of the people around you. You have to be the best you can be, ambitious, focused and credible, especially in my job where I deal with high achievers with very high expectations. It’s being able to gain their respect, and that’s both the challenge and the reward. It’s great to say that ‘I helped that happen’ when a Partner grows their business, to be seen as being knowledgeable and the recognition that comes with it.
In the last four years, I’ve been promoted twice and still enjoy total freedom in my work. Everyone in the business is incredibly supportive and culturally, there’s a strong commitment to always developing, always growing, and always doing your very best. Our work is underpinned by strong traditional values, Spirit of the Partnerships for example, which are brought to life in a contemporary way. When it comes down to it, St. James's Place is a relationship business and there’s a strong sense of helping people in the field. Personally, I visit the Head Office in Cirencester at least once a month to catch up with the likes of Marketing and Asset Management. They particularly like it when I bring them wine and chocolates to show my appreciation!