On the lighter side of things, we ask Anita Dougall, CEO & Founding Partner at Sagacity what makes her tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
I have had many standout moments throughout my career, but in terms of my most memorable achievements, I’d say I have two. One is setting up Sagacity and the second is that we recently secured major investment from Queen’s Park Equity, which will support Sagacity’s future and continued expansion. This investment was a particularly proud moment for me, as it was a culmination of years of hard work, sacrifice and support from a fantastic team to get where we are today. Continuing to provide a high-quality service to our clients and maintaining a world class NPS score of +82 is key for me!
What first made you think of a career in technology?
My career actually began in investment banking within NatWest Markets, where I managed the investment portfolio of major energy companies. Then, I joined the Credit Strategy team at One 2 One (T-Mobile and now EE). Having held roles within financial and commercial teams which relied heavily on technology, I became an independent consultant, implementing systems from a business perspective by working with technical teams to translate business needs.
Leveraging my operational background, business acumen and programme delivery, I co-founded Sagacity with my business partners, Harry Dougall and Malka Townshend.
I then embraced the opportunity of creating a technology platform that contained business rules to increase efficiency, address regulatory needs and enhance the end customer experience for our clients.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
Establishing trust is key to running a successful organisation. My personal leadership philosophy is based on establishing mutual trust within my team to reach company targets. Hiring the right team who are passionate about what they do allows them to make excellent decisions which meet their own needs and support the overall success of the company.
I believe there is no such thing as a successful individual. Everyone’s success is the result of teamwork, collaboration and assistance from others.
What do you think has emerged as the technology trend of 2021 and why?
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – without a doubt! AI is one of the biggest tech trends at the moment and during 2021 it has become an even more valuable tool for helping us to interpret and understand the world around us.
Drawing on new advances in AI and Machine Learning will help businesses better automate each stage of the customer journey, as well as key business processes based on advanced data analytics.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Key areas of investment at the moment are focused on technology that can be scaled rapidly, replacing legacy systems. Data solutions which allow users to interact and provide business insights are also becoming crucial in an increasingly competitive market. The use of both technology and data solutions have naturally been accelerated to support remote working and business operations during the pandemic and we expect to see this continue in the coming years.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?
I don’t really experience stress as I break out everything into logical steps and solve the problems in hand. A good plan is great for de-stressing!
In terms of unwinding, I love cooking and entertaining friends and family and dabble in property renovation. I also find it extremely rewarding to help teenagers entering the world of work navigate the career decision making process and provide direction and support to entrepreneurs looking to create new businesses.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
I would set up Sagacity earlier and focus on an accelerated growth plan!
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
I think it goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has definitely changed the way we all work and will continue to reshape the way we work in the future. The most obvious impact of COVID-19 on Sagacity was the dramatic increase of employees working remotely. We had to adapt to a whole new way of working and collaborating with our team. Initially, this posed challenges, as it did for most businesses, but now we believe we have fully adapted to a flexible work model and will continue to give our employees the option to work either in the office or from home depending on collaboration requirements and the work in hand.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?
Focus on positive change that you can make in the industry and then construct a robust plan to deliver it! Don’t accept the idea that things can’t be done as everything can be done with the right team and planning. Use your ‘gut feel’ and ‘available data’ to guide you through new challenges and strategic change you are driving. Have the courage to persevere through adversity to achieve the positive change you set out to deliver.
Remembering the people that helped you along the way is an absolute must. There is no such thing as a successful individual so it’s also critical to appreciate and reward the people around you – they’re key to your success!Click below to share this article