Pinning down our CEO for a zupaJobs profile, when he’s been with Zupa for 18 months is a testament to how busy, involved, and varied the job is. In this time, we’ve not only doubled our employee numbers and moved office twice but made truly important strides in developing our new products. We’ve also been able to share even more of our exciting journey with you!
The first question we asked Mark, is how he now feels about his move into the software industry, with him telling us “I still feel excited to be working in this new field!”.
Tell us about yourself
I’m 47 years old and a proud Welshman. Outside of work I enjoy watching sport and playing golf.
I also like to keep fit and run half marathons. My best time is 1 hour 31 minutes, but I really want to break the 1-hour 30-minute mark before I’m 50. I like to challenge myself with new things, so last year I ran up Mount Snowdon in Wales, which included a 23-mile run, 5,500-foot ascent and several water-based activities!
I left school at 16 and went to work for British Rail as an Accounting Trainee, which gave me valuable experience for life inside and outside of work. It also left me with a passion to do everything to the best of my ability and to want to help trainees and apprentices get their foot on the ladder, just like someone had done for me. Whilst working for the railway I went to college to gain my Accounting qualifications.
What made you decide to join Zupa?
For the last 20 years, I worked for Sanctuary Care, which runs care homes for the elderly. I joined them as a Management Accountant in 1998, when they had just two care homes. My career and responsibility mirrored the business’ growth and I became Finance Director in 2010. In 2014 I was appointed Managing Director, running over 100 care homes across England and Scotland.
During my time with Sanctuary Care I was made a Company Director, with a seat on several subsidiary boards, and on Sanctuary Group’s Executive Committee. When I left Sanctuary Group it had over 100,000 units of accommodation!
Having spent most of my career in these large national companies I wanted to test myself in a different environment and work with a different type of pressure. I am delighted to have joined the technology industry and bring my two decades of experience in the transport and healthcare sectors into growing a new organisation. I have a passion for doing all I can to the best of my ability with a focus on ensuring our customers have the best possible service and experience, whether that’s powered by technology or not.
What does a typical week look like here at Zupa?
Steering our operations through the plans devised in 2017 means focusing our activity into two streams; improving our existing services and continuing our growth into new markets. But of course, the obvious answer is, there isn’t a typical week. I work with all aspects of the business, from coaching our people to developing our products and features.
My week includes managing large change programmes and projects. This means collaborating with employees and strategic partners to ensure every department is on track with their targets, based on solid foundations.
I actively encourage consistency and transparency to empower decision making. Strategic decisions are made every day, designed to remove obstacles for our talented Agile development teams and help them run effectively and efficiently.
This extends to our support, sales and marketing activities to ensure they complement this work, and at the heart of the Senior Leadership Team is the need to cement the company’s financial footing and identify compliance across all elements of legislation.
Ultimately, the role of a CEO is to be a motivational leader and inspirational manager. You need to possess excellent interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills. You need an ability to influence decision making so in the long run, each of us can develop positive relationships.
If you had to pass on one piece of wisdom, what would it be?
Always listen and watch those around you. Collective wisdom is far greater than your own. And never be afraid to ask questions, how else will you learn?