Meet our superstar team in Europe (from left to right)—Marie Hemingway, Ludo Niepce, Stefan Sadnicki, Victoria Wills, James Burberry, and Karim Jawad! They sat down to share a little about who they are, what they do, and why the asset management industry excites them.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Stefan: My background is in Mathematics, Operational Research and Management Consulting which all come in handy as part of my role as Managing Director, Europe. I am responsible for developing Copperleaf’s business here in Europe, which includes sales and business development as well as making sure we have the best possible team to meet the demands of the market and our clients.
James: My background is in Mathematics, and before joining Copperleaf I worked on a number of projects implementing enterprise financial software in the EU, especially in the UK and in Sweden. As Director of Customer Experience (CX), Europe, I’m accountable for the work that the European CX team does to support implementing projects and live clients.
Marie: My background is in Physics/Engineering. I’m a Project Manager with Copperleaf currently working on the implementation of C55 for our newest UK client, Northern Gas Networks.
Victoria: I grew up in Vancouver, moved away for university, then returned to Canada to join Copperleaf in 2014. As a Solutions Consultant, I’m responsible for identifying our European clients’ business needs and proposing solutions that will deliver the highest possible value to their organisations.
Ludo: I’m a native from France, but I have moved quite a bit over the course of my career. After 9 years in Montreal, I moved to Vancouver where I joined Copperleaf. I then moved over to join our Europe Team! I have over 3 years of experience at Copperleaf as both a Project Manager and Support Specialist.
Karim: I’m both Dutch and American, with a Mediterranean drive and temperament that I inherited from my Iraqi father. Sales flows through my veins and I really enjoy it. I’ve been in IT for over 25 years, and most recently worked for 9.5 years at IBM. I have a lot of experience with the Internet of Things, condition-based monitoring, and big data analytics across several industries. I’m currently the Regional Sales Manager for Benelux and DACH.
How long have you been part of the Copperleaf team?
Stefan: My first experience with Copperleaf was in 2012 when I spent 6 months in Toronto as a Management Consultant supporting the implementation of C55 at Hydro One, an electrical transmission and distribution utility. Subsequently, I became the first employee in Europe 3 years ago and am now immensely proud of the team we have put together. We’ve brought some exceptional individuals into the business and have also benefited from the experience of a number of consultants who have transferred over from Vancouver.
James: 18 months.
Marie: I joined Copperleaf exactly one year ago today as I write this response (happy anniversary me!).
Victoria: I’ve worked for Copperleaf for over three years—two in our Vancouver HQ and the rest with Team Europe!
Ludo: Just over 3 years.
Karim: I’ve been part of the Copperleaf team for 1.5 months now.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Stefan: Every day is different. I’m responsible for European sales of our enterprise software C55, so winning key deals is obviously pretty exciting. However, seeing the team grow and develop around me, talking to prospects about how C55 can enhance their decision-making processes, and ultimately seeing our clients be successful while enjoying working with Copperleaf is what drives me forward.
James: Visiting a number of different clients and prospective clients in a short period of time, and constantly needing to transfer experience between projects in different industry sectors.
Marie: For me, it’s working with our customers to produce an output that they are genuinely happy with and provides a benefit to their team and their organisation.
Victoria: In a previous life, I studied Comparative Literature & Society at Columbia University. Perhaps because of that background, I’m fascinated by how each of our clients has a very different way of working and communicating. Business culture varies drastically from London to Kuala Lumpur to rural Sweden, and that always has an effect on our approach and on the relationships we build with our clients. I always look forward to starting work with a new client and adapting to their ways of doing things!
Ludo: Working with people from different backgrounds.
Karim: The most exciting part of the job is building new business from the ground up. Copperleaf has a huge opportunity to make an impact in Europe, and it’s exciting to be leading this expansion in my region. The thing I like most about the job is the interaction with clients to jointly develop a new project over time.
What do you like the most about working at Copperleaf?
Stefan: Knowing the strength of both the product and the people behind the product. It’s fantastic to have the chance to replicate the success the company has had in North America over here in Europe.
James: The responsiveness of colleagues in different parts of the world; if I send out a request for help one afternoon, I’ll usually find some great advice in my inbox the next morning.
Marie: The team (Europe and Vancouver)—they are incredibly competent and always willing to help.
Victoria: I love that every day in my job at Copperleaf looks different, from networking at conferences to conducting market research to carrying out detailed process mapping with a prospective client. It’s very difficult to get bored.
Ludo: The culture and the fact that it’s a fast-paced company.
Karim: I like the flat organisation—everyone is accessible and ready to help you drive the business and succeed in your work. The culture of Copperleaf is overall of a can-do, positive and no-nonsense mentality. There are a number of pretty impressive people here with a lot of knowledge and experience. Copperleaf is a fast moving train and I’m happy to have joined.
What excites you about the asset management industry?
Stefan: In my previous work as a Business Analytics consultant, I worked across various sectors to use data to solve client challenges. However, I most enjoyed my projects focused on asset management in the utilities and transport sectors. I found the business challenges more tangible—the data I analysed was related to real water pipes or electrical transformers or signals on the railway. Now at Copperleaf all of the organisations we work with are managing critical infrastructure. At Copperleaf, our purpose is ‘Building a better world, one decision at a time’ and that sums it up pretty well for me.
James: The fact that asset management principles are applicable to so many varied businesses, from utilities to government, manufacturing to the transport sector; or any organisation at all that is seeking to manage assets to deliver value.
Marie: Being able to work in it… Copperleaf helps companies make better decisions, which means everyday people see fairer bills and improved service now and in the future—that’s exciting I think!
Victoria: Asset management isn’t just about deriving financial value from assets—it encompasses all the less tangible benefits that infrastructure provides to us. I’m excited to see how companies have expanded their asset management practices to incorporate more societal and environmental considerations.
Ludo: Witnessing people’s awareness about asset management growing, seeing it get more and more important, and being part of that change!
Karim: Asset management is different in every industry, but across industries what excites me is that it’s an area where things have been approached the same way for decades. With C55, we’ve created a powerful platform and tool that embeds all this knowledge locked away in various silos. It enables you to bring together isolated departments to a common platform to make better informed decisions and really transform organizations. That’s pretty exciting.
What changes do you see having a lot of impact in the industry?
Stefan: Organisations are discovering that a consistent and transparent process for allocating investment spend is a lot better than ‘decibel management’, where the person who shouts loudest gets their project approved. Data and analytics is helping too—it doesn’t have to be big data but instead the right data and the right models to support decision making.
James: Increased focus on climate change, of course, is already having a major impact on decision making at many of the organisations with which we work—from short-term changes to the way in which individual schemes are implemented, through to long-term strategic approaches such as the exciting hydrogen fuel initiatives under way at our client, Northern Gas Networks.
Marie: Regulatory constraints, climate change and the next generation of asset managers.
Victoria: The move to a “smarter” greener grid is going to have a significant impact on our electricity clients in particular. I’ll be interested to see how European utilities and regulators adapt to demand-side generation, storage and other technologies that disrupt the way in which companies have traditionally recovered the costs of building and maintaining the grid.
Ludo: Moving from a reactive to a proactive approach regarding asset management.
Karim: Changing regulatory requirements are some of the biggest challenges. When you need to do more (or the same) with less, it requires a business transformation. Many clients work in silos, and in order to meet new regulations or reduce costs, a new approach is required.
What is one thing that not many people know about you?
Stefan: I once played Elgar’s Cello Concerto accompanied by the school orchestra (except the 2nd movement which my fingers couldn’t move fast enough for…)
James: My first job was as a cask washer in a brewery.
Marie: I grew up in South Yorkshire, in the north of England. The best part of the UK.
Victoria: I have a soft spot for terrible British reality TV.
Ludo: Just one?! Too hard to pick one…
Karim: I make a great lasagna.
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
Stefan: Procrastinating over the best response to questions like these.
James: Bicycle jousting.
Marie: Watching TV series in the record time. I’m currently watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” which is really good.
Victoria: Grammar policing.
Ludo: Listening to music!
Karim: Preparing lasagna or grilled seabass.
Where is the most relaxing place you’ve ever been?
Stefan: Not a place, but I find going for a run a great way to relax. The countryside helps and the olive groves around Arjonilla, my wife’s village in southern Spain are particularly good.
James: Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Marie: In my bed at home, after working away during the week 😊
Victoria: Tsusiat Falls on the West Coast Trail.
Ludo: Sailing in the Whitsundays Islands.
Karim: That depends on my mood. Either in a cottage in the woods chopping wood for the fire during the winter, or open air dinners surrounded by olive trees in a warm Mediterranean country.
Copperleaf is always looking for more stars to join our team! Check out our current job openings here.
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