Despite the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Dataplan has continued to go from strength to strength and over the last year have recruited a number of talented individuals to join our team of heroes. From her extensive career in banking, Julie Smith is the latest member of our team and joins us as Head of Professional Standards.
A banking career spanning 3 decades
Julie started her career in banking at Barclays in 1989 in a clerical role. Julie described her role as an Office Junior, doing the post and running around the branch doing all the menial chores.” She quickly moved up through the ranks to become the Branch Manager at the local flagship branch and eventually the Area Manager for the entire Northern and Central Lincolnshire area with a total of 33 branches and over 200 staff to oversee.
After 19 years with Barclays, she began to get the itch for a new challenge and as luck would have it was contacted by an ex-colleague about an ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity; the opening of a new Swedish bank in Grimsby.
A true career highlight
Whilst Julie had experience of mergers, the opportunity to take a bank from scratch to a successful branch was the exact challenge she had been looking for and she grabbed it with both hands. As she explained, “We went from a standing start and were into profit within about 18 months.”
Her initial role at Handlesbanken was as an Individual Banking Manager, which saw her looking after high net worth clients before she moved on to become a Corporate Banking Manager where she looked after businesses and where she met Dataplan’s CEO, Richard Rowell who was working in the Accounting world at the time.
After her years at Handlesbanken, the time came where Julie was looking for another challenge, and this came to light during the various UK lockdowns in 2020. Julie said this gave her time to think as “we couldn’t go out, we couldn’t go on holiday and I spent a lot of time in 2020 self-reflecting.”
Finally, Julie decided to resign from her position in December 2020, as being in a busy job would not leave her much time to look for another one. On the bold move, Julie said “I thought I’ve still got a brain in my head, I’m still feeling quite dynamic at 49, let me get out there and find something else, so I just resigned!”
Luckily her bold move quickly paid off and in early 2021, with Dataplan looking for key individuals with transferrable skills that could support our business targets, Julie joined us as Head of Professional Standards.
Bringing experience and insight to Dataplan
In her various roles at Barclays Julie was integral to supporting the development of their people, and quickly found that “helping people get on and become the best that they can be” was something that she enjoyed. Her wealth of experience in this area is a vital asset to our quickly growing team.
As Richard Rowell, Dataplan’s CEO commented “Julie brings with her 30 years of experience in developing and enhancing teams and processes across the financial sector.
With our ambitious growth plans for the next 5 years, which will see us double our workforce, Julie will be pivotal to enhancing the skills of our existing and new people, and reviewing processes to ensure they evolve and continue to deliver the highest standards and best practice across the business.”
When asked what she thought about the role so far she commented “I’m loving getting my teeth stuck into my new role, meeting the team and understanding the challenges. I’m really enjoying it. It has so much variety compared to what I was doing.”
On the experience of starting a new role during a global pandemic, Julie said “Dataplan is ticking all the boxes, the people are lovely, the general feeling that I’m getting is that everyone has worked extremely hard this last year. This evidences that we have the right kind of people on board who are committed to the success of the business, which makes it a very exciting company to join.”