While many wonder why they should start a career in IT, Lynne Jeffery, sales director of financial services for the Wynyard Group (a subsidiary of Jade Software), took a different approach and wondered “why not?”
Both her siblings were in the field and, since she liked maths and physics, she thought a computer science degree would not be a bad fit. She balanced it out with some commerce papers and then London called and off she went.
Based in the West End of London, her first job was with a “young, hip, cool, funky new telco where the average age at the time was 29,” she recalls.
“I was the IT geek in the marketing team setting up a marketing information system. While finishing some post-grad studies in the subject I then had various roles in sales, commercial and product management within Cable & Wireless.”
Ten years later, she decided it was time for a backpacking trip around the world. It was then that she was headhunted for a sales role with a small but global Silicon Valley company selling remote working technology. “A couple of years later the NZ lifestyle was calling, so my husband and I moved to Auckland in late 2006. Following a role at Gen-i, I took on my current position as sales director, financial services of the Wynyard Group.”
A number of people have influenced Jeffery along her career, she says. “I’m a huge fan of the late Sir Peter Blake. I try where possible in life and work to figure out 'how to make the boat go faster.' I’m also all for women putting their minds to succeeding in what they do in business or otherwise. Wynyard’s chair, Ruth Richardson, is a pretty inspiring person and someone who we are very lucky to have in our organisation,” she says.
She says it is important to “embrace change” in the software business. “Take the opportunities that change brings. Don’t get stuck in your ways.” The fast pace of the industry is actually what attracts Jeffery the most. “It never stands still.” A day in her role has to start with a trim flat white but progresses at full speed with “lots of client meetings, talking, listening, drawing diagrams (I’m a picture person), presenting, drafting proposals, contracts, more listening, working with people to solve key business problems”.
“Ultimately my job is about helping Wynyard’s clients to prevent crime, corruption and threat. It’s
nice to know that our solutions are actually making a real difference, helping to stop activities like
child exploitation, human trafficking, and money laundering. It’s great working for Wynyard and
being part of a culture that’s driven to help solve those kind of problems,” she adds.
Jeffery says New Zealand is not “out of the woods yet” as far as the country’s financial situation and companies’ willingness to invest. “We are continuing to experience pressure from the global markets. As New Zealanders we need to work together to ensure we maximise what we have from both a commercial and sustainability perspective.”
Jade Software set up the Wynyard Group earlier this year to fill what CEO Craig Richardson described as a “gap in the market” to help corporations fight corruption and money laundering. The company is said to be experiencing good growth, both locally and overseas. The company has research and development facilities in Christchurch while the sales and marketing times operate out of the Auckland and Wellington offices.
Where do you live now and where did you grow up and have lived before?
I live in Westmere in Auckland but grew up in windy Wellington. I left New Zealand to spend two
years in London and thirteen years later I made it back, having convinced my English husband to
emigrate (it wasn’t hard).
Are you married and do you have children?
I got married in Devon, where my husband was born. We tied the knot in a beautiful castle near the river Exe. The chapel was tiny, standing room only, no electricity and lit with candles – built in the 11th century only 30 years after the Normans landed in Britain, apparently one of the oldest 'living' buildings in Devon. No kids. Three cats.
What are you currently reading?
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson – this book is about one man’s amazing journey to encourage peace and fight terrorism through education and literacy, especially for girls, by building schools in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It all started when he was recovering from an attempt at climbing K2 and met a group of kids in a small village in northern Pakistan. The children were being schooled outside using dirt as their paper and sticks as their pencils, so he promised to help them build a school.
When you were little, what did you think you would be when you grew up?
Do you have any favourite sports?
I like most sports, love watching rugby and the English premier league football. Sailing, skiing and mountain biking are the top three sports that I actively participate in (using the gym to get fit for said sports…).
What's your favourite gadget?
Hmmm…I don’t really do gadgets. My iPhone isn’t a gadget - it’s as important to me as my right arm.
And your favourite website?
Anything that involves online shopping…
What's your drink of choice?
Well it depends what time of day and what day of the week it is. Champagne, Tanqueray & Tonic, our awesome Kiwi pinot noirs, and smooth single malt whiskeys probably feature most (not together of course).
What do you think has been the single most important advance in technology?
The microchip…without it I wouldn’t think of my smart phone as important as my right arm.
If you weren't in technology, what would you be doing?
I’ve no idea… possibly something in the fitness industry or possibly hospitality. Westmere needs a wine bar.
How do you keep the work/leisure balance?
With difficulty – usually I have to work out in the morning (much to my husband’s annoyance). In the summer I make sure I finish every Wednesday afternoon by 4.15pm so I’m out on the boat ready for the race start. I try to keep my weekends free from work – even if that means putting in a couple of late ones during the week.