Meet our new Practice Manager

Over a year ago, we decided that in order to achieve our ambitions, we needed a Practice Manager. With a broad portfolio of activities, this role was important to knitting together everything we do – reviewing our systems and processes so we can improve, and setting us on good footing to achieve our aims.

This challenging and pivotal position needed careful recruitment so we’ve taken our time. In fact, we’ve taken a year, and many meetings. Over the course of those meetings, we narrowed down what really mattered to us in the candidate – experience, energy and strategic thinking. While we saw many excellent candidates, our appointee has these three characteristics in spades.

Meet our new Practice Manager, Colleen Duggan.

Experience 

Experience matters. Experience built up over years of working with people and processes means decision making is more refined.

Colleen joins us with over 21 years experience in financial services. She’s spent that time in a mixture of operational and customer facing roles, most recently leading the platform consultancy team at Standard Life.

This understanding of what works, what matters to financial advice firms – large and small – and the potential pitfalls, will help us as we improve our services and processes. Couple this with a strong background in managing projects, and we’re confident that Colleen will keep us on track, and bring the client perspective to changes we introduce.

Energy

Not the frenetic, hustling kind of energy that gets nowhere. We needed someone who would bring positivity and focus to the position. And that’s what we got with Colleen. Having managed large teams through a lot of change, Colleen is an old hand at injecting energy, keeping people on track and working to the same goal while maintaining a work environment that people want to work in!

What’s more, with the wide range of responsibilities that fall within the Practice Manager role, Colleen will be able to channel her energy and focus into honing existing and new skills.

Strategic thinking 

The ability to step back, take on board different perspectives, question assumptions, determine what’s needed and then set the route is important to the future of The Paraplanners. Colleen’s customer experience combined with her operational know-how are essential in this kind of thinking. And this is just the kind of thinking we want to apply to how we grow as a business.

We’re looking forward to the improvements Colleen helps us to make and the positive impact she’ll have on the team and our clients.

Now, how about we let Colleen get a word in?

What attracted you to this role?

When I was made redundant from my last role, I knew I wanted to do something different. Something that pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I wasn’t out there looking for a Practice Manager role but something about this job caught my eye enough to have the first conversation. And, well, here we are now.

A few things made it stand out. I knew of The Paraplanners and their reputation. Their values of high quality, doing the right thing and openness really resonate with me. I’ve tried to apply these values through my career. The variety of the role really excited me. Some of the demands are completely within my existing repertoire of skills and experience but for others, I’ll need to start from the beginning and learn them. Finally,  I like that they’re a bit different. They want the paraplanning community to thrive and are involved on so many different levels in the improvement of the profession.

How does your previous experience help with this role?

First and foremost, my experience with advisory businesses means I’ve got a strong grasp on how they work and the challenges they face. Because I share the same obsession for high quality as the guys here, I’m confident combining this with my focus on customers will result in improved processes that will benefit everyone.

A lot of the work I’ve done previously has been finding ways to improve efficiency while protecting quality. This is really important for a small business like The Paraplanners and this is where I can really add value.

I’ve led a lot of teams through a lot of change, so I understand that the people are as, if not more, important than the process when you’re trying to successfully make improvements. I can’t wait to work with the team here to find out how we can get even better, and then make those changes.

How do you feel? 

A little nervous but also excited. I have a slight nervous anticipation for all the new things I’ll be learning, all the tasks and knowledge the job demands that I haven’t done before. But that nervousness is lessened because this is a supportive team whose openness will give me room to grow into the role. It’s is great business with a strong reputation and I’m really excited to work with them and be part of their next step.