Goula Charalambous has been part of the Syscap team for over 13 years. As head of HR, she looks after the day-to-day running of our company, dealing with everything from recruitment and payments to training and development. Goula project managed the relocation to new offices last December and since being acquired by Wesleyan Group nine months ago, she has been a key figure in harmonising the two organisations.
Goula spared a few minutes of her time to tell us a little bit about her background, and why she enjoys her job so much…
Goula’s first-ever job was working for John Lewis in Oxford Street. “I was on a programme similar to a graduate scheme and had day release to college. I studied at the Institute of Textiles & Design and was training to be a Buyer, which I wanted to be at the time.”
However, Goula’s career took a different turn when she was offered a job at Mortgage Corporation; a company owned by Salomon Bros. She worked in the Portfolio Services department, and her role entailed looking after mortgages for firms such as Legal & General and Societe Generale. When she spotted a vacancy for a legal executive, working in the legal department for corporate lawyers, she applied and was successful. Goula went back to college on day release but this time to study law; and this is when she started to develop an interest in employment law.
“I began to work closely with lawyers and the Human Resources department which was a great experience and turned my hand more to HR.” Goula worked for the firm for seven years before taking voluntary redundancy. She soon found temporary work at the Financial Times, on a maternity cover contract for one of the directors. After nine months with the company she was offered a permanent position as a training and development supervisor.
Goula worked for the Financial Times for five years before moving to computer software firm Riversoft, working as a resources manager, where she looked after the sales force and pre-sales force that supported them. “My role involved matching the sales person with the technical ability required to enable us to work with different organisations all over the world. We travelled a great deal to Dubai, the USA and Europe. I had a great time and met some amazing people.” After two years, the company was sold to Riversoft’s main competitor and Goula left. She admits: “They wanted the software, but not the people.”
Goula wasn’t specifically looking to join Syscap when an employment agency she was signed-up with set her up with an interview. “In that interview room, I knew that Syscap was the company I wanted to work for. Sean Williams, who was CEO at the time, sold it to me straight away – I never thought, six months in, that I’d be working for this company 13 years later!”
Goula first worked as Sean’s PA; there wasn’t an HR department at the time, though many of her duties were HR-related. “As the company grew we came across more challenges and it was clear we needed an actual HR department. So, I found the perfect person to look after Sean and I managed to move over to HR 100%.”
“Though I’ve had the same job title for many years, it always feels like my role is changing,” Goula tells us. “I’m doing something different every single day… it’s really exciting.” Syscap has recently welcomed seven graduates onto its team and Goula has been busy helping them to settle in.
“Syscap is a vibrant, dynamic company. I enjoy my job because I love the people I work with and the culture these people have created.”
We asked Goula why she thinks Syscap is the success it is today. “Syscap is successful because of the people; there is a great work ethic, everyone works incredibly hard and we all believe in the business. Philip is a great driver of the business and we are fortunate to have some fantastic directors and managers on our team.
“It’s an open door policy and we operate like a very large family. I would like to see the company grow and become more successful over time.”
If you would like to find out more about working for Syscap, get in touch.