Our Director of Engineering, Darren, joined us just over a year ago – and what an eventful year it’s been! We caught up with him about his first year here and about what it means to have taken on the role of Vanquis Inclusion Chair.
You joined us one year ago this November. How has your impression of Vanquis changed since day one?
Wow, just a year ago, my have we climbed some mountains in that time. That just highlights why I joined. I had done my homework to understand how the organisation had grown and I knew those achievements are only possible thanks to the colleagues, but what I hadn't appreciated was how inspirational the experience would be. The adaptability and relentless focus on success. Responsiveness to COVID, focus on improvement, how to continuously learn and improve. Just thinking about how successful Vanquis can be in five years with that determination is such an exciting opportunity.
What was it that attracted you to Vanquis?
For me it was an unbelievable opportunity to work in a dynamic fast-paced environment with some of the smartest people on the planet. I don't make that statement lightly, having spent over 30 years as a technologist in the financial services industry. The achievements could only be possible with top talent. The energy and colour within the culture is uplifting. I also really connect with the opportunity to 'help put people on a path to a better everyday life'.
Can you tell us about the role of your Engineering team?
Our role is to create technology capabilities that enable Vanquis products (Cards & Loans) to be serviced through our channels, (Online Web, Mobile, Open Banking and Contact Centres). What this means is that we get the chance to interact across every area of the bank, get a really good understanding of what drives customer value and create it. So, in summary, I get to work with great people who create beautiful customer experiences from a blank canvas. That's kinda cool.
What's exciting at the moment?
Great question. We are building a new bank! This is an opportunity that does not happen many times in your career, so I keep sharing with our team to grab that moment. We are working hard to be better at what we do.
You recently took on the role of Inclusion Chair for Vanquis. What does the role of involve?
We’ve recently launched 'Be Yourself' across our Group. It's the name we're giving to our Inclusion and Diversity work that will build and sustain an inclusive culture and diverse workforce which will help us to respond to our diverse customer base. As part of this we've created a structure to support four new colleague affinity groups which focus on gender, LGBTQ+, ethnicity and disability. As part of the structure each business has an Inclusion Chair and we'll meet regularly to discuss plans, developments and proposals across the inclusion community as a whole. When the call went out for volunteers, I put my hand up straight away. It's a role to emphasise Inclusion & Diversity in Vanquis and across PFG to put people on a path to a better everyday life – So it was a no-brainer for me.
What does Diversity and Inclusion mean to you?
In my experience, it's probably one of the most important aspects of our life. I've been fortunate in my career to work with people from all corners of the globe. I've worked in the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the US. I can't emphasise enough how much I have learnt from people with different experiences, different lives, different communities and environments, LGTBQ+, cultures, surviving different challenges. It's those experiences that drive an individual's core values and beliefs. And with that comes voice and opinion which have changed how I think, changed how I would approach different challenges at work and in life. Feeling comfortable and relaxed with respect for voice and opinion will mean that we can deal with anything, and have full perspective of our customers, our company and our colleagues.
Thanks so much Darren!