In the second in a series of ‘behind the scenes’ interviews, we catch up with Headway Essex’s Nicki Bryant, who has been a client of Agile Technical Solutions since 2017.
Over the past five years, we’ve worked closely with Nicki to make sure that, as a charity, Headway Essex is getting the best value for money from its IT and that its systems and data are secure.
So, we thought we’d interview Nicki to ask her what her role entails as HR & Governance Manager, why she loves working for Headway Essex and how we support her in her role.
Nicki, could you tell us about Headway Essex?
I’d love to. Headway Essex is a charity supporting adults living with acquired brain injury. Our aim is to help clients to live fulfilling lives and to give families the support that they need to cope with caring for their loved ones. Our community outreach service covers the whole of Essex, and we have two day services, one in Colchester (North Essex) and another in Benfleet (South Essex). Our teams play an invaluable role in the community.
How did you arrive at Headway Essex – what’s your career story?
I am not quite sure where to start, but I guess the most logical place would be with Royal London Insurance, where I enjoyed a 16-year career in various administrative roles. When the head office was relocated, I joined JobServe, one of the first online resourcing platforms bringing employers and candidates together in one community. As Office Manager, it was an inspiring workplace – the company was digitally transforming how people look for jobs and remains a major brand today. I’ll never forget one of the directors saying, “if you can take a keystroke out of something by using technology, do it,” which has stayed with me.
After eight years, I left JobServe and started at Headway Essex (in 2009). Initially, I joined as an Assistant PA to the then Director of Service, Gill, before taking on additional roles as the charity evolved. Fast forward to today and I am responsible for HR and Governance. Although my role is not IT specifically, my role is a liaison role between Agile Technical Solutions and what’s going on at Headway Essex.
When I first arrived, Headway Essex was understandably not very technically minded – at the time, it was a smaller charity, and many communications were paper-based. However, over the years, as technology has developed, I have made sure that Headway Essex has the best possible systems (with what our budget will allow). Much of this is down to our relationship with our IT provider.
What do you find most rewarding about your role at Headway Essex?
It’s difficult to choose because there are lots of things I find personally satisfying. I love working with an amazing team who genuinely cares about the people we support. I enjoy seeing our clients and watching them grow in confidence.
Most importantly, I love working for a charity because rather than working somewhere that’s all about profit, we’re helping to improve people’s lives.
What’s the most rewarding project you’ve been involved in?
There have been quite a few, but in terms of IT, it has got to be moving our servers from our town centre office to our day centre in Colchester. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and worked closely with Agile, who were excellent when it came to project managing the move and installation without disrupting our services.
Talking about Agile, how would you describe our relationship?
I have a great working relationship with Agile. Nick (Agile’s MD) is on our wavelength – he understands that we are a charity and keeps this in mind with all of his IT recommendations.
Although I have amassed quite a lot of knowledge on systems, data and governance, I am not a technical person. So being able to articulate a problem to Agile in plain English and have them respond in the same language with a solution, is great. If ever we have an issue, I know that I can rely on Agile to help solve it.
I am confident that with Agile’s support, we have the best processes and software in place that we can afford as a charity.
What are the benefits of working with Agile?
I like the fact that Agile is a local company and even more local now that they have moved to Langham. I also know that we are well looked after with Nick and the team going the extra mile for us as a charity.
I feel like I am their only customer.
Nicki, you have a very active role. What do you do outside of work?
As much as I am all about people, processes and systems at work, I am also a creative person. I’ve taught myself how to crochet and create macrame wall hangings (using YouTube, of course!). I also enjoy spending time with my two grown-up daughters, husband and dog.