Getting to Know Steph Elphick
In the first of our “Getting to Know” series, we spoke with our COO Steph who provides an insight into her previous roles, what qualities she looks for in team members, reveals which successful business person she would have lunch with, and, most importantly how she takes her cup of tea!
1. What is the most interesting role that you have had to date?
I’ve had several interesting roles but I would say that the most interesting and at the same time challenging would be my role at an SME Online Casino. I was recruited as Head of Finance and very quickly took on management of the Customer Experience, HR and Compliance teams being appointed Interim MD when the CEO exited. The online gambling industry is complex, heavily regulated and the accounting has no resemblance to any other sector I had been exposed to in my career. It was a massive learning curve but one that I thoroughly enjoyed.
2. How did you get to where you are now?
Persistence and tenacity – I always push myself outside of my comfort zone.
3. What different types of jobs have you had in your career?
I’ve worked in the accountancy profession for most of my working life, started as an Accounts Junior and performed every role you can name in this field. My parents owned a pub and I helped out on the odd night or weekend as a teenager, I loved it as it seemed like a “social” event rather than work. I also lived in the US and volunteered for the Red Cross where I was fully trained as a Dental Technician and spent 3 days a week assisting the local social dentist with tooth extractions and general dental procedures. I must have been mad!!
4. What is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement and what I am most proud of is the way I have developed my teams to be able to step up when I move on to a new role. I get great satisfaction from seeing someone’s confidence, capability and knowledge grow. My manta is “Believe in yourself and you will achieve.”
5. Do you have any advice for people starting their career?
Choose a career that you feel passionate about, seek out the high performer in each team you work in and learn as much from them as you can.
6. Are there any specific qualities you look for in the people that join your team?
Enthusiasm, passion and a desire to continually learn and develop.
7. What is the most exotic country you have travelled to for work?
I was part of a large offshoring project which outsourced the majority of finance roles from the UK to Sri Lanka, I had several trips over to Sri Lanka throughout the project and also post completion. It was a fantastic time, beautiful country, fantastic culture. It was hard work but I met lots of great people and ate some very spicy curries!
8. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Most definitely Yorkshire – I absolutely love the county, the scenery, the people are great! Disney World would come a close second, my husband and I have been five times and absolutely love it.
9. If you could have lunch with a successful busines person who would you choose?
Richard Branson, he epitomises everything I believe to be a great leader. He has taken many risks in his career, some have not paid off but he didn’t give up and look at him now! I had the pleasure to meet him briefly and he was one of the most charming and charismatic people I’ve met.
10. Tea or coffee?
Tea, no sugar, very milky please – if you’re making one!