2019 is shaping up to a big year for Octopus. We spoke to colleagues from across the group to find out their plans for the new year – and whether they’ve set any ambitious resolutions.
Anna Pollins, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Octopus Investments
“I’ve never been a big believer in New Year’s resolutions – especially if they’re negative and unlikely to stick! But I do like to start the year with a list of ambitions.
This year, I want to spend more time outside and away from screens. I’ve also set myself the rather ambitious challenge of reading 50 books a year, and increasing my yoga sessions to three times a week. Finally, I want to spend more time supporting Octopus Giving charities.”
Simon Rogerson, CEO, Octopus Group
“I want to turn off my email and phone for at least four hours a day. It won’t be easy to avoid falling back into the inefficient rhythm of everyday work – and to stop responding to calls and emails the moment they come in. But finding the time to really focus on one thing can make an enormous difference.”
Matt Setchell, Head of Octopus Energy Investments
“There are plenty of investors that haven’t yet fully embraced renewables. We want to change that – and help these investors make renewables a core part of their portfolio.
Personally, I’m also going to give up caffeine. But since that’s a resolution I seem to make every year, I’m not entirely confident I’ll manage it!”
Fiona Howarth, CEO, Octopus Electric Vehicles
“I think 2019 will be a huge year for electric vehicles. Right now, demand in the UK is far outstripping supply. That’s why we’re going to work closely with current EV drivers to give them what they want – as well as launching Octopus Powerloop, which offers customers a Nissan Leaf, vehicle-to-grid home charger, and innovative energy tariff.
But getting more electric vehicles on the road isn’t my own big ambition. I’m also going to learn all the words to George Ezra’s ‘Shotgun’ with my four-year-old. I can’t wait to see her smile as we dance around the house!”
D’mitri Zaprzala, Head of Sales, Octopus Property
“My resolution for 2019? Make things happen quicker – and don’t wait until we are 100% ready. That’s how Octopus Property will keep on taking market share from traditional funders, and discover new lending opportunities.”
Alistair Seabright, Head of Unquoted Investments, Octopus Group
“It’s going to be a big year for institutional fundraising. Which means getting more sleep – and cutting back on early morning peeks at my inbox!’”
Jennifer Viccars, Head of Group Brand and Marketing
“For me, this year is all about getting to know our customers better – and not just their data. We want to welcome them into the office, hear their frustrations, and team up to create new products and services. That way, we’ll make a bigger difference to their lives. The days when companies could hide themselves away are long gone. Now, we need to work harder than ever to let our customers in.”
Jonathan Digges, Head of Specialist Finance, Octopus Investments
“I’m going to seriously filter how I spend my time. No more email, no more pointless meetings. Instead, I’m going to find more time for proper thinking.”
Benjamin Davis, CEO, Octopus Healthcare
“This could be a really exciting year for Octopus Healthcare. Investing in healthcare infrastructure is becoming more mainstream, and with new technology, we’re going to open up more opportunities for institutions to invest. On a personal level, I want to make every meeting 30 minutes by default – instead of a full hour.”
Mario Berti, CEO, Octopus Property
“My resolution for 2019? Actually doing the things I tell myself I never have time to do.”
Kat Shenton, Head of Energy Asset Management, Octopus Energy Investments
“Professionally, I can’t wait to see what my team delivers this year. We’ve now got the skills and resources to deliver more for investors, and transform the timing, quality and accuracy of our customer reports. And personally? I’m going to do more exercise, watch less TV, and read more. I’ve committed myself to running at least one 10k run this year, so watch this space.”
Richard Wazacz, CEO, Octopus Labs
“I want to listen more and talk less. And I want to improve how I manage my time. With a new baby arriving in January, and the intensity of the start-up phase of a new business, that’s going to be particularly important.”
Greg Jackson, CEO, Octopus Energy
“I want to help people across Octopus Energy become real leaders. That way, we won’t just be a business: we’ll be an organisation. We laid a lot of the foundations for success last year. We’re going to take-off in 2019, and do something really disruptive. I can’t wait.”
Stuart Sheppard, Head of Proposition, Octopus Wealth
“In my personal life, I’m going to try to make a concerted effort to eat less meat, since I’m increasingly conscious of how nonsensical and ethically unjustifiable it really is. I’m also excited about running the London marathon and – fingers crossed – picking up a new Personal Best.
Professionally, I’m really excited about where Octopus Wealth will be at the end of this year. We could quite feasibly be two-to-three times bigger – which means we’ll have a whole host of fresh-faced and talented people to rub shoulders with. It’s exciting to think about all the colleagues and friends we’re yet to meet.”
Chris Hulatt, co-founder of Octopus
“We’re continuing to go global in 2019. I want to work with our teams to continue to expand their capabilities and activities, raising money from investors around the world and investing in renewables like solar and wind.
In particular, I’m excited by the potential for our renewables investment team in Australia. We opened the office in early 2018, but 2019 will be when it really comes into its own. I was in Australia a couple of weeks ago and there is enormous potential for solar there (partly because it has a lot more land and sun than the UK!).
Jayne Shawcross, Head of Customer, Octopus Healthcare
“I joined Octopus Healthcare in August. It’s been a brilliant few months getting to know the business, and understanding just how many moving parts we have. In 2019, I want to find new opportunities to work with our other business lines – like bringing our clean energy expertise into our healthcare real estate.
Away from the office, I’m really looking forward to the Octopus ski trip! I’ve been impressed by how Octopus feels like a real community, and I’m excited to share a new experience with the team.”