Name: Christopher Gibbons
Title: Assistant Manager – Corporate Solutions
Where do you live: South Africa
Where in JTC Group you headed off to: Jersey
“An invaluable chance to immerse myself in new work and develop my skills”
What was the opportunity?
I was seconded to Jersey for six weeks to conduct a handover from an exiting Senior Manager. The main objective was to gain knowledge and experience on one of the Client Director’s portfolio with a view to transferring the majority of the work and management of these entities to the Cape Town team. During my time in Jersey, I also set out to demonstrate that the South African office was capable of undertaking and managing a wider remit of administration work.
How did JTC support you in all of this?
This secondment was looked after at every level in JTC.
Both jurisdictional Managing Directors were instrumental in creating the opportunity and confirming its scope. The Jersey Director I was working closely with provided key client insights and guidance during my time with them and the personnel components of my time away were ably coordinated and facilitated by Group HR in both Jersey and SA.
My colleagues in the South African team provided the critical backup and support to allow me to focus on the secondment in order to maximise my time away and surpass the key set objectives.
And my new Jersey team more than warmly welcomed me into their working worlds. They trained, guided and supported me throughout my stay there and few of them even took the time to show me some of their home island and pass on some great insider travel tips.
How did your family and friends feel about your move?
Everyone at home was incredible. They could see how excited I was about the opportunity and its potential for me and my career progression. Although I was going to be away from Rondebosch for a while, I received nothing but positivity and encouragement and whilst I had no doubts about the benefits of this Gateway initiative, their support really boosted my confidence.
What were your lessons learnt along the way?
The opportunity to learn was probably the aspect of the secondment I was looking forward to the most. I knew that this was an invaluable chance to immerse myself in new work and to develop my skills. In Jersey I was challenged, and equally took my turn to challenge, on a daily basis and this led to developing mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues who I continue to work with on a day to day basis. I also came to understand just how vital open communication is when working across different jurisdictions and am continuing to focus on this now that I am back in the Southern Hemisphere.
Additionally, I gained so much detailed client knowledge and experience during the secondment which really helped me put together a more holistic view of the clients’ service delivery requirements and how the SA team could develop overall in order to better meet these needs.
What was the big highlight?
So very many …
Working in the Jersey office was really special because quite simply the people there were awesome! They really embraced me and took time out of their busy schedules to welcome me, help me out in the office and make me feel like a valued part of the team. The coffee machine was also pretty great.
I was also surprised by Jersey itself. I expected a small town with very little to do apart from work. What I found was a fantastic mix between a cosmopolitan business district, coastal town and quaint farming village. There was also more than enough to do in the 45 square mile area. I hiked on the northern cliff paths, ran on the beaches, explored key historical sites and dined out in a number of amazing places.
Not really, no. There were many challenges, but nothing really negative from the experience.
Why do you think the international experience that Gateway offers is important?
It can be difficult trying to build relationships with colleagues and clients over the telephone and via e-mails when they are in different locations and working in different time zones. Meeting and working (and of course socialising) alongside the Jersey team has been really important and beneficial in developing understanding, trust and respect of each other and I have no doubt will stand us all in good stead for the future.