Janice Gregan – Service Operations Lead, Bravura

I dived straight into work at 18, joining NatWest on its retail banking side. For the first few years I undertook a range of retail banking jobs before being promoted to the branch manager’s Personal Assistant (PA).

After 17 years working for various senior managers at the bank, I decided I wanted to take a break and concentrate on being a mum to my two children (we’ve since had two more additions to our wonderful family). That didn’t last long, however, and within a couple of months I joined The Bank of New York (now BNY Mellon) as a PA in its European Transfer Agency (TA) software business, Rufus, which delivered fund administration and TA solutions for fund management companies and TPAs.

Following Rufus’ acquisition by Bravura in 2006, which helped the business increase its market presence in the UK and Europe, I was transferred over to the company and I’m still here more than two decades later.

Since then, my role has evolved hugely. I’m now part of the Output Management team reporting to the Service Operations team lead Mark Prior. This was a step into an unfamiliar part of the company, but it was an extremely exciting opportunity for me to develop my skills. As with any career change, it was a daunting prospect. However, with Bravura’s support and guidance, the transition was made as easy as possible — something which the business prioritises for all its employees.

Fast forward to today, and my main responsibilities involve providing our clients with industry-leading regulatory documentation and data from Rufus, which has evolved into an off-the-shelf SaaS solution, powering a range of administrative functions. I took a significant role in migrating one of our largest clients’ private investors from Rufus to Sonata – our best-in-class wealth management solution that helps streamline and transform administration. It was a career highlight and a huge undertaking requiring months of work, as it effectively doubled the number of customers our client had, as well as helping private investors benefit from the wide range of funds the company offers.

I also sit in the Service Operations team, so part of my role also consists of improving and governing operations across EMEA and certain regions in APAC, which means I never have a dull day at the office.

Black History Month

Alongside my role in the Service Operations team, I am part of the Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity (bRED) pillar within Bravura’s Diversity and Inclusiveness (D&I) initiative. With my parents being part of the Windrush generation – my mum was a teacher, and my father was a farmer, both from Grenada – they told me a lot of stories about their experience relocating to the UK more than 60 years ago.

A lot of what they told me didn’t sink in at the time. But, as I’ve matured, the issues hit home a lot harder and I can only imagine how difficult certain aspects of the move were for them.

October signifies Black History Month (BHM) in the UK and within the Black community it divides opinion every year.

There’s the ‘Let’s celebrate Black History as much as we can’ camp, then there is the ‘Why do we need a month to celebrate as it should be ever present’ side. I understand both perspectives.

For me, however, Black History Month isn’t just an opportunity to learn about the past. It’s so much more. It’s a celebration of culture, heritage and historical achievement. When I was growing up, Black history wasn’t taught at school, so I never understood the valuable contribution individuals from the Black community have made to our everyday lives, including being a major part of rebuilding post-war Britain.

This year’s BHM theme is Time for Change: Action Not Words – something Bravura has shown over the past 12 months with the formation of the Race & Ethnicity (bRED) pillar. However, this is only the beginning as there must be continued action to ensure we create a workplace that is inclusive for all. We know we can’t change society, though we might wish we could, but we can influence Bravura’s culture for the benefit of everyone.

Since Bravura launched its bRED pillar one year ago this month (October 2021), we’ve continued to make great strides towards becoming a more inclusive employer through various initiatives.

It’s still early days but we are taking action. We’ve joined Inclusive Employers, which provides us with guidance on a range of activities – from training to in-person events. We’re also looking to revamp our recruitment policies to take on more people from diverse backgrounds and help them understand what it takes to work at a company at the cutting edge of financial technology. This includes apprentices, as well as other roles across the company globally.

We’re also raising awareness of other cultures, and we celebrated South Asian Heritage Month for the first time as a business earlier in the year. We’ve also introduced gender pro-nouns as part of people’s email signatures, as well as phonetically spelling out names at the bottom of emails as this can be a cause of anxiety for some people.  

As part of this year’s Black History Month, we are running a range of awareness raising initiatives which we hope includes something for everyone, whether that’s something to take part in, learn from, listen to or share. These include:

  • A Black Scientists and Inventors virtual Lunch & Learn session
  • A presentation delivered by a psychotherapist looking at the effects of anti-Black Racism, alongside a panel of Bravura employees
  • Weekly ‘spotlight’ emails, highlighting the often-unheralded accomplishments of Black British individuals
  • Black History Month daily quizzes
  • And a bRED Black History Month Spotify playlist, with songs being selected by members of the pillar

For me, one of the most important things we can do as a business is to continue an open dialogue and encourage people to ask questions. We’ve made a start and we need to keep going to create a safe space where we can discuss ideas and educate people. 

This means our fellow colleagues should easily be able to access information and training – from reducing unconscious bias to understanding how different cultures communicate. Bravura is working hard to create an inclusive company where everyone feels equally respected and encouraged to step up if they feel comfortable doing so. We ensure these areas are included as part of the training we offer to every new employee.

Ultimately, the hope for events like Black History Month is that we get to a point where everyone can express themselves openly and without fear of judgement. Feeling equal no matter what your contribution is to a business is a basic right inside and out of the workplace; we’re all important and we should all be able to work together.

That’s the whole point of D&I across the pillars: to make people feel happy with how they’ve been able to contribute to their role on a daily basis, and it all comes back to education.

So, whether you pick up a book, listen to a talk or watch a movie celebrating Black history this month, just remember we’re all on a journey to educate ourselves and make the workplace more open, inclusive, and better for all.

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