We are delighted to feature Jo Moore, Managing Partner at Optimus 5 in our Women in Leadership series in London.
Jo Moore has been instrumental in delivering a number of groundbreaking projects across her career to date; she was quickly promoted to Global CFO Technology and Operations within JPMorgan at the age of 31, and now works as Managing Partner at Optimus 5, alongside supporting numerous charities and initiatives.
Tell us about yourself and your career to date
I began my career in Finance and Accounting, qualifying in industry to become an FCMA. I was attracted by the fast-paced meritocracy of Investment Banking and was soon promoted to Global CFO for Technology and Operations within JPMorgan. We were tasked with developing innovative solutions to reduce costs and improve quality, which helped develop my appetite for change. The experience was unique, I was instrumental in delivering a number of ground-breaking projects such as, redesigning target operating models, outsourcing and offshoring and developing technology start-ups.
I was then selected for the role of COO for a Hedge Fund and finally decided to make the leap into consultancy, specialising in transformational change within Investment Banking. I am also a qualified executive coach and a huge advocate of LEAN reengineering. You just can't ignore a methodology that enables organisations to "do more with less"! As Managing Partner for Optimus 5, I have been able to combine my experience in creating process efficiency and simplification with agile data solutions to address complex regulatory challenges.
I am privileged to have an outstanding team working with me at Optimus 5, which enables me to maintain my work-life balance, so that I have time for my clients, family and charity-work.
What is your definition of success?
Happiness - waking up each morning eager to discover what the new day holds. I believe it is so important to start the day feeling positive, ready to embrace all that lies ahead: new opportunities, new challenges, new people.
Which three words describe you?
Dynamic, focused, innovative
What is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
I think this is a tough question as nowadays people's careers have many phases and different things are significant throughout that evolution. During my career there have been many memorable events: being promoted to Global infrastructure CFO and selected as a JPM future leader; being made European CFO for LabMorgan during the dot.com revolution; relocating the HQ of a NY based hedge fund to London after their World Trade Center offices were destroyed, but probably the most significant to me personally, was returning to work after taking time out to care for my daughter, when she was too unwell to attend school. I made the decision to step out of my career for a couple of years to home-school her, while she was in and out of hospital. Being able to return to work and pick up where I left off, felt like a huge achievement. I believe that it is incredibly important for women to know that they can make the decisions that are right for themselves and for their families, without having to sacrifice their careers.
In your opinion, what are the key challenges for a female leader and how could these be overcome?
I think the key challenge is just to think of yourself as a leader and to focus less on the "female" part! So many people are already judging you as a women before they look at what you have achieved and we have to remember not to get caught up in that way of thinking. I remember a female MP telling me that after reporting on a terrorist event, the press focused on the blouse that she was wearing instead of how she had handled the attack!
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
I'm pretty sure at 18 years old, I wouldn't have listened to anyone's advice, not even my own! I think that's the best part about being young - complete belief that you can achieve anything and no evidence to the contrary!
Does your current organisation have initiatives to support women in leadership roles?
At Optimus 5, we are very supportive of diversity and working in the financial services sector we definitely see the need for more focus on this area. Personally, I feel it is a privilege to be involved in developing future female leaders and I do as much as I can to promote, mentor and encourage women in business.
What has been your biggest personal achievement outside of work?
Raising a happy, confident and capable 12 year old daughter! I feel a great sense of achievement from enabling children to become the best version of themselves. I was very proud to be invited by Manchester High School for Girls (MHSG) to be part of a mentoring programme for North West girl's schools and have also recently been working with an inspiring group of people at the Rotunda Charity in Liverpool, who provide alternative educational facilities for disadvantaged children.
What else would you like to achieve in your career?
So many things... I have endless ideas about how to make the world a better place! I'd love to do more with charities, as part of the Rainmaker foundation, we focus on bringing business skills into the charitable sector to enhance sustainability and increase their impact. I would also love to take some of the lessons learnt in Investment Banking around business process streamlining and data management into other sectors. My particularly favourite would be the NHS, during my time at hospital with my daughter, I saw so many opportunities to enhance the patient experience and create efficiencies. It would be great to have the opportunity to leverage these business skills to have a wider impact on society.
Do you have any final pieces of advice for women looking to progress in their career?
Never listen to people who say you can't do it - follow your dreams and believe in yourself. I think Mark Twain summed it up rather well when he said "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can become great!"
Connect with Jo Moore on LinkedIn