Introducing...Julie Hopkins

Julie Hopkins

We spoke to Julie Hopkins, Operational Compliance Manager at PCC Leicester, who recently joined the business.

Hello Julie! So, what's your role and what does that involve?

I’m an Operational Compliance Manager. Although it doesn’t sound that interesting, I love it. I love a good checklist, dotting I’s and crossing T’s. The role is there to ensure compliance becomes part of the company’s DNA, making it an everyday thing. That can involve creating documentation that makes the Operations team’s job easier, or if a client has a specific requirement - a framework which we work towards - my job is to ensure we’re doing what we need to be doing.

A lot of our financial clients’ work needs to be done in a completely secure environment, so another aspect of my job is pre-screening agency staff, making sure checks are in place and we’ve got all the evidence required, including DBS checks, references, that kind of thing. At PCC Leicester we process a lot of inbound and transactional communications for banks, processing documents physically and electronically, so we need to ensure the processes are in place and robust.

That’s great! How are you settling in so far?

Well, before this role I’d been working from home for about two years, so it’s really nice to get back into an office. When I first started here a few weeks ago, I didn’t really know what to expect.  I had no idea how big Paragon was, so it took a while to get my head round what we do. I spent the first week sitting with the Operations teams in Leicester, seeing what they do, and that gave me a really good base. And then I’ve spent some time speaking to some of the GRC, Account Management and Client Services team, getting me embedded in all the processes I need to be involved in. I’ve only been here a month, but it’s gone very quick, and everyone’s been really helpful. There’s also a real customer focus here, which is great.

We’re a good bunch. What's your work background?

Most of my career’s been in the energy sector. Previously I was a Quality Assurance Governance Manager working for a home emergency company with some of the big insurance providers, and I created the quality governance team there. That involved creating QA documents and embedding that culture within the organisation. So, this role feels like a natural step, taking my experience further than before. I’ve lived and breathed operational challenges throughout my career, so I feel like part of this new role is to help make our people’s lives easier and to embed compliance within our culture, so it becomes part of what we do every day.

What's changed most over the course of your career?

I’ve worked in Operations for about 20 years now and obviously the technology side of things has changed a lot over that time. But also, business in general has changed – we’re more aware of mental health and wellbeing now, as well as diversity and inclusion, which is great. It’s brilliant that companies are investing in stuff like this, thinking about their people more. One thing that’s taken me some time to get used to is the switch from paper for a lot of communications. I do electronic banking now, so I’m moving with the times!

Very glad to hear it! Anyway, I’ll move on to less work-related questions. What did you have for tea last night?

Well, I had homemade curry and rice. We always have that when my daughter comes round. Not too hot, not too mild. Sometimes I do a Jalfrezi or sometimes it’s a Balti. We have chips with it when I’m not watching my weight. I’m not much of a cook to be honest – there’s two things I like doing: making a curry and a chilli. I do like making meals from scratch but it’s the time that’s the problem – I work full time and have three children and 4 grandchildren, so I don’t get much chance.

What's your favourite biscuit and why?

My favourite biscuit is a caramel digestive. I love the way the caramel melts when you dunk them.  Can only have one though cos they’re so good.

Excellent choice. What's something outside work that you're good at?

I like to think I’m really good at darts. I play for a local pub team – My mixed doubles partner and I have got to the final of the local pub league we’re in – I’m a bit rusty so I’m trying to get a lot of practice in. I’m always a ‘marker’, so they get me to do the scores. If we win, I get a nice big trophy. I’ve just found my dartboard, so I need get practising.

Super smashing great. Who's your hero?

My dad is my hero. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us, but if I can grow up to be as good as he was, I’d be happy. He was always right, always prepared to listen and gave some very good advice.

Do you have a favourite word?

You know what, my favourite word is ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you’. It costs nothing, takes a second to say, but it has a lasting impact. I try and say it once a day, even if it’s to the cat. It makes people feel appreciated. I love it when people say thanks.

Thanks for that. How about a word that gets on your nerves?

I have a phrase I hate: ‘Follow your nose’. When my husband’s giving me directions, he always tells me to follow my nose. How am I supposed to do that when I’m driving – my nose isn’t going to help me at all!

Where’s your favourite place you’ve ever been?

My favourite place of all time is definitely Las Vegas. I got married there in the Bellagio Hotel. We went for my husband’s 40th and I thought it’d be more of a boys’ place, but I loved it. We said if we came again, we’d get married there, and we did! My ambition is to stay in all the hotels along the strip – I’ve managed about three so far. There’s probably about 25 altogether.

Well, best of luck with that! Thanks Julie!