As a winner of the ‘best newcomer, new initiatives’ award in 2018, tell us about your role.
I am the Founder and MD of UMBRA International - and my role is to ensure UMBRA stays at the forefront of all things ‘Secure Lifestyle’ - meaning that I stay active and relevant within all areas of the Security & Concierge industries and Private Client community globally, on behalf of the business. I’m focused on ways in which we can continue to deliver an exceptional service to our clients to protect their reputations, further develop relationships with them and their families, meeting with brilliant candidates to work directly for our clients, understand suppliers we work with, select new suppliers as technology evolves, and spread the word to other new potential clients.
Fill us in on what’s been happening in your career since the awards…
Since the awards it has been a busy time for us. For me personally, the awards marked a big moment for a spotlight to be shone on my background and experience and was really inspiring to be congratulated by so many people on what has been achieved so far, while also putting into perspective what still needs to be done! I was asked to do a Tedx talk in the summer about Invisible Security which allowed me to tell my story and share the reasons for setting up and growing the business. Since the awards I’ve been asked to attend and be visible within more industry events, and the business has had a marked increase in international business, as our reach has grown exponentially.
Tell us about interesting work projects.
Our focus on client reputation is always at the core of what we do in our provision of a “Secure Lifestyle”. We’re always looking to partner with organisations that deliver beyond expectations and in a cost transparent way.
We are proud to have just been accepted within the Resolution community and our work supporting clients working with family lawyers continues to grow exponentially.
We are also spearheading projects to increase diversity within the Close Protection community, by offering grants and funding for Close Protection courses for women, transitioning athletes, and varied socio-ecomonic groups. There are currently only 5.4 per cent of women in the Close Protection industry licensed by the Security Industry Authority, we want this number to double in the next five years in line with client demand.
What challenges does your business face?
We are a growing business, but with an emphasis on ‘whiteglove handholding’ a term we have coined in relation to the trust and discretion our private clients rely on with our standards of service. Managing the growth of the business and ensuring the delivery is consistent and on point is the next big focal point.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role?
When we help a client navigate a particularly stressful life moment working with our brilliant suppliers and get glowing feedback from them or other family members, this makes me proud. As does developing our exceptional supplier relationships, and continuing to fly a flag for improving standards in the Security Industry, by championing diversity and better day rates.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
In business - “You're only as good as your last month’s revenue - always focus on any business you are growing” - Elaine Stern, The 10 Group.
Personally – the words of Winston Churchill: “When you’re in Hell, Keep going”.
Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?
This year I have continued to visit our clients across the world from the Middle East, to the US, but the last place I left the country for was to visit Bodrum as a guest of Mason Rose. We are always looking, as we are asked to find places that our clients can travel to safely and in total privacy. My last trip for pleasure was to Bath – the No15 Hotel in the City centre comes highly recommended, the city never fails to disappoint.
What advice would you give to those considering entering the Brand Management and Reputation Awards next year?
Don’t hesitate to enter! Should you get placed, or win, the Citywealth community will become a whole new likeminded network to help galvanize your business efforts, and I challenge anyone who has built a successful business, or climbed up the ladder within their business, to tell me they built their business without great client focused people around them. I’d like to thank Karen Jones for all her support and hard work in building the Citywealth empire, next year sees us at the Powerwomen Awards – watch this space!