Meet our new team member Dawn Morris, financial controller
We spoke to Dawn Morris, Financial Controller for Zeus Technology Solutions. Having only recently joined the company, we wanted to find out a little bit more about Dawn, how she was settling in, what attracted her to working at Zeus to begin with. Our conversation went from business finance to Nelson Mandela and even a surprising revelation about the early career of our own Managing Director Ste Lucas!
You’re pretty new to Zeus. When did you start?
I started on the 10th of May, so this is my sixth week.
How are you finding it so far?
Yeah, it’s really good, I’m enjoying it.
It’s always changing, every day is evolving but I like it, it’s good, it’s interesting.
You’ve joined Zeus as Financial Controller. What does a Financial Controller do?
Basically, I look after all the finance of the organisation, take responsibility for the financial performance and then report that to the senior management.
I make sure that financial systems and financial performance of the business is as efficient and effective as possible, making sure that it looks healthy and getting in a position where we can foresee where we’re going with our business plans. I want to make sure that the narrative of the business plans are reflected in the finances.
Sounds like there’s quite a lot to be focusing on all at once.
Yeah there is, but Zeus was actually a client of mine at first, I was supporting them through my own accountancy practice so I had developed an understanding of their plans and where they wanted to be as a business and that’s how I actually came to work here full time.
So it was those business plans that attracted you to working for Zeus full time?
Yeah, it’s an exciting time for the organisation, and the organisation is exciting. Being able to see what I could offer by way of my skillset and experience, that makes it exciting for me. Being able to put new processes in place and be able to help Zeus in its plans for growth from a financial perspective.
Zeus is going through so much right now and it’s so different from your run of the mill organisation.
And I know the benefits of how it’s being run. In fact, Ste (Lucas – Managing Director) actually worked for me back in the day as an Trainee when he was doing his accountancy training! So, it’s funny how things go full circle.
That must be so strange!
It is! 20-odd years later. But it’s great.
And in the accountancy practice I was also doing business consultancy, so I have a bit more to bring to the table because I have a breadth of knowledge and skills and experience in different areas. So I’m able to be involved in some of those other areas and give a different perspective.
And the great thing about Zeus is that they value everybody’s perspective and experience, so that’s been really good. It’s not like “you’re the finance person, you should only speak on finance”. If you’ve got any feedback about other areas, then they listen and take on board what you’ve got to say.
So that’s why I like it.
What are you hoping to achieve in your role at Zeus?
Personally, I’m hoping to grow with the organisation as the organisation grows. And to ensure that Zeus is offering the best value for money.
It’s a really slick organisation, especially from a technical perspective with the solutions it offers. So, for me it’s making sure that how we deliver from an IT perspective is also delivered from a finance perspective. And being there to support that growth.
What advice do you have for anyone considering joining Zeus?
To engage, to believe what you see. I think the management is really good – they welcome your engagement. They mean what they say and they want to hear from you. Their strength seems to be their people, and that’s what they value.
That’s what makes it a great place to be.
What have you enjoyed most so far?
I enjoy being given the autonomy to have a look at where I can implement changes and support the growth of the organisation and to be supported as well. They listen to whatever feedback I’ve got and they will consider it. It’s good to have an employer that does listen and is prepared to listen to any suggestions you’ve got – whether it’s for finance or for other areas.
And it’s interesting. No day’s the same – in a good way! Zeus is evolving, it has a new dynamic, a new perspective to look at and to be part of that journey is good.
Time for some less serious questions: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
I’d be a bird. For the freedom – you can go wherever you want, you can see things from a different perspective. You can look down and see everything and choose where you want to land.
If you could switch jobs with anyone in the world, who would that be?
Oh, some job that involves travel. Maybe a pilot. I like to explore and travel, let me go and explore the world – maybe that’s coming back to the bird thing.
Actually, it almost feels like my subconscious is like “I’m just desperate to go on holiday”. At the moment I’m just made up to be able to go to Wales! So mad isn’t it?
What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
I once took Nelson Mandela’s daughter and granddaughter shopping round Liverpool One.
I’m a trustee of a charity called Mandela8. So, we hosted them for a week when they came to Liverpool in 2019. They were meant to come back last year but it’s been delayed now until 2022. So, I spent a week with Nelson Mandela’s daughter and granddaughter – it was a wonderful honour.
That is amazing. What was that like?
It was so surreal. I remember the first time I met them I was sitting in the hotel room where we met them thinking “if anyone had ever told me I’d be meeting Nelson Mandela’s daughter and granddaughter, I’d be like ‘don’t be stupid’”.
And then taking them shopping round Liverpool One! Because they wanted gifts to take home, and they’d be asking the store assistant “have you got this in a different size”, and you’re just thinking “do you have any idea who you’re serving?” It was just mind blowing. But they’re so humble. Absolutely beautiful, beautiful people, it was such an honour to spend time with them.
Though we brought them in January, so it was cold. They were like “please next time can we come in the summer”. So next time they’re coming in July.
OK, well on that note, let’s move on to some more of my ridiculous questions. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Guilty pleasures…if I told you I’d probably have to kill you!
Actually, I’m into Soul Music and R&B so I like going on holiday to that sort of events. We go to one called Soul on the Algarve, so we go for a week’s party, no young ones allowed! So that’s good.
Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share?
I would just say if there’s something you want to have a go at, go and do it. Believe in yourself and remember the world’s a big place.