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My work life: Christian

Core Services Tribe Lead, Christian, on his experience at Zopa and his career moves so far.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

When I was really little, taller. When I was not-so-little, a (taller) music journo…

I studied…

I studied both arts and sciences. Academics wasn’t ever a route to career for me – but for the pure enjoyment of understanding, and different ways of thinking.

I got where I am today by…

A catalogue of accidents, and if I’m honest a healthy dose of naivety.

I stumbled into the world of technology and operations in my first job for a consultancy. It was very focused on IT transformation for government. Clear process, patterns and repeatability seemed to be a demand everywhere, which probably played to my love of calculus and algebra as a kid. The methods were horribly flawed, however…

I worked for a microfinance charity and found that model fascinating, so although I never had much interest in consumer finance, it wasn’t such a big leap to consumer peer-to-peer.

The combination of these two experiences, and a speculative conversation with a recruiter, led me to Zopa.

I am in my second incarnation at Zopa…

My first incarnation was back in 2008. I was one of 11 people and I had no idea what I was getting myself into! Zopa was three years old and still very nascent.

I did a bit of everything: answering phones (yep, I’ve done those 1-hour calls with investors!), emails, fixing technical bugs, making sure all the payments were moving. Then in week six I was asked by a board member to ‘build vintage analysis for our loan book’ – which sounded like gibberish to me. That’s when I knew I had a big challenge in front of me!

These days I…

Look after the Core Services tribe. We think about the landscape of our Zopa products and find opportunities to help Zopa deliver them in efficient, safe and scalable ways.

That means I have the privilege of finding fantastic talent and working out with them what great stuff we can enable for Zopa. Most of the time I am thinking about how to help people in the tribe find those opportunities, and then doing something constructive in service of that. 

Sometimes that means getting very involved, but equally important is to trust them to get on with it and help people to reconcile what they do with the bigger picture. 

The thing I like most about Zopa is…

I think we are very sincere about our sense of care to our customers. It manifests in different ways in different disciplines, but it’s remarkably constant.

Because of the above, I find equally we can be very sincere with each other. That means it’s possible to have constructive, tough conversations with people you usually rant to enthusiastically about last night’s episode of GoT.

I don’t think that would be possible if only a minority were minded that way, so it has to be cultural.

In my spare time I like to…

I’m an arts student first and foremost, so I enjoy exploring all facets of creative output. I worry less about being good and revel in the act of discovery. I’ve just started a sculpture course: I have no clue what I’m doing but it really makes you look at things differently, and I get a real kick out of that!

If you asked me how Zopa’s influenced my career…

I’d say that there’s no shortage of ambition here, so really, it’s up to me to think about what I want from a career. If I can articulate an opportunity clearly that makes sense to the business, I believe the company is very willing to realise that opportunity. 

That willingness should not be taken for granted, but it does mean you as an individual have to think hard about what career genuinely means to you.

I get inspired by… 

I constantly come back to the wonder of small things we take for granted.

An example: recently I spent a year back at university obsessing over how we perceive music – to an incredibly nerdy level – but I still marvel at the inexhaustible pleasure of listening to a simple sequence of sounds repeated over and over.