Meet the Experts: Behind the Scenes at Emery Little

We’re aware that a lot of the time, the person whom you as a client come into regular contact with at Emery Little is your financial planner; the personal face of your investment plans and aspirations. But behind this knowledgeable face is a whole team of other specialists, applying their expertise and experience to inform, manage and support your financial plans. We feel we want you to ‘meet’ these people and give you a sense of Emery Little as a whole.

In the past few months we’ve introduced you to our Chief Executive and several of our Planners, but this month we want you to meet Rebecca Timmins, our inspirational Director of Operations. A vital part of the team for almost 20 years, Rebecca is constantly tracking our organisational performance and keeping us talking about how to innovate and improve. As we return to some normality as lockdown eases, she took time out to chat to us about her role and to reflect on some of the challenges – both personal and organisational – that ‘the new normal’ may entail.

I’m responsible for driving innovation, improvement and quality at Emery Little. No small task, but one which I relish. On a daily basis this means facilitating internal meetings and conversations, reviewing our systems and processes, and tracking our key measures in the business – things like turnaround times, delivering services on time, and client satisfaction. We use this information to see where we can improve, take action to do so, then monitor how the improvements are going.

I’m passionate about developing the potential of individuals and the team, to make sure we’ve got the best team possible, working at their highest level every day to deliver for our clients.  I work closely with Jo and Alfie and the rest of the leadership team to keep focussed on our key issues and to keep us on our toes, constantly evolving and improving. 

Outside of the office I’m Mum to three boys, so life is pretty hectic! I try to relax with yoga. I’m a trained accredited Time to Think Coach and Facilitator, and find that I apply many of these principles at Emery Little.

The past 18 months have obviously been a surreal and challenging time for all of us, and facilitating conversations throughout the pandemic has been so important. Like many people, as we begin to return to ‘normal’ I’m still working out – both professionally and personally – what this could mean in terms of systems and social interaction.

I listened recently to an episode of Brené Brown’s podcast Dare to Lead, where her guest was Priya Parker, an expert on how people gather. This really sparked off some thoughts for me regarding how large groups – particularly professional organisations - get back together after this unprecedented time apart. If you are part of a business asking questions about this, it’s worth a listen. 

There was plenty in the podcast for us at Emery Little to consider. However, it was the points about our personal interactions when we get back together that really spoke to me. We may need to get used to a certain awkwardness in social interactions. There could be any number of small moments of rejection. You may go to hug someone, and they may pull back - simply a reaction resulting from the restrictions of the last year or so, but to some it could be perceived as a rejection. The podcast talked about naming this awkwardness, and acknowledging that some of us will feel uncomfortable in gatherings in a way we didn’t pre-pandemic.

Personally, I went back into the office for the first time a couple of weeks ago for a meeting. It was the first time in many, many months that I’ve been in a room with that many people. Several of us experienced anxiety in the lead-up – one new team member was meeting others for the first time; another was driving a longer distance than they had in a long time. I myself was anxious about facilitating discussions face-to-face rather than on Zoom – would I remember how? What would the dynamics be like?

There were several logistical and social questions which simply wouldn’t have been issues in pre-Covid times. We wondered if we should hug, then remembered that we probably shouldn’t. We all brought our own lunch because sharing a buffet didn’t seem sensible. And we deliberately allowed extra time to catch up and have a chat after so long apart.

Once we were actually in the room together though, all our anxieties seemed to melt away. The novelty and joy of being face to face brought a different energy to our collaboration, and we revelled in the natural human interaction that we’ve been starved of for so long.

I’m looking forward now to embracing the new dynamics and conversations thrown up by society’s return to ‘normal’, and to my professional challenges in facilitating and monitoring this change at Emery Little.