Employee Spotlight-Meet Jessica Rutherford
I started my role as a Client Advisor (graduate position) with S3 Solutions in November 2019. Here’s what I’ve been up to over the last 10 months…
My roles and responsibilities
As a Client Advisor at S3, I work within the Retained Service side of the business and I am responsible for managing a portfolio of 20 clients across Northern Ireland including sports clubs, community organisations and charities. My role involves supporting these clients to fulfil their strategic objectives through submitting funding applications, governance support, strategic planning and providing ongoing advice and guidance.
What has your experience been like to date?
When I first started my role back in November, I worked closely with Senior Client Advisor Chris who kindly let me tag along to all his meetings! From shadowing Chris, I was able to quickly learn the responsibilities of the role along with getting to know our clients. Chris was fantastic in helping me hit the ground running and very quickly I built my portfolio up to 20 clients to which I am now their main point of contact for support and advice.
Before joining S3, I was Sport Development Officer for a National Governing Body and completing my undergraduate degree in Sports Coaching and Performance. This experience along with being heavily involved in my local sailing club for years helped me relate to my clients and fully appreciate how hard it can be to keep sports clubs and community organisations running effectively.
Just as I was finding my feet, Covid-19 arrived and very quickly all of our clients faced huge challenges in continuing their organisational activities. Although an uncertain time, it is certainly a first year on the job I’ll not forget! It has been fantastic to work alongside the team while we overcome hurdles and at a time when our support to our clients is so important.
Reflecting on the past 10 months, it has been a steep learning curve, but I can honestly say I’ve loved every second. I have gained great amounts of knowledge on public funding, third sector non-profitable organisations and building relationships with clients. I have met a fantastic team of people who have been nothing but extremely welcoming and helpful. As I grow in confidence daily, I am excited to see what the future in my role will bring.
Why did you decide to start working for S3?
As a sports student at Ulster University, our Consultancy Director Eamonn was a guest lecturer for a Sport Development module and gave us an insight into the work of S3. From then I knew my studies in sport management and development, my role as a Sport Development Officer and being involved in the third sector myself through sport would help me understand the needs of non-profitable organisations and the importance of fulfilling strategic goals. When I seen a graduate position advertised, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss!
What do you enjoy about S3?
Every day is different! A great part of the Client Advisor role is meeting so many characters from different walks of life. As each client is so different, my day to day tasks are always new and exciting. When I first started in the role, I loved getting out and about, meeting new people and finding out more about the vital work of community organisations. The work is extremely rewarding and there is nothing I love more than hearing from a client that their funding application was successful and the difference it will make to their organisation and their community.
The office banter! Every day is a laugh and I felt part of the team from day one. I was never afraid to ask for help as a newbie and everyone kindly gave me advice whenever I needed it. There’s no sense of hierarchy, I feel valued as an employee and it really is such a positive working environment. There is a lot of flexibility with working from home which is great for a work-life balance. I find myself challenged constantly which is fantastic and I know S3 can really encourage me grow professionally and personally.
What has been your biggest highlight since starting at S3?
It would be hard to pick one but I would definitely have to say hearing of the amazing work our clients do in their community through funding we have secured for them. Mental health and suicide prevention workshops, female sports projects, disability programmes, the list goes on! It makes the time and effort put into our work extremely worth it and really inspires you to keep trying your best for clients.
Next up, I’m going back to university part-time in September to study a Masters in Business Development and Innovation. It will be a huge but worthwhile challenge and I can’t wait to get started. I’d like to continue to learn about all aspects of S3 including consultancy which long-term is a career path I’d love to follow. S3 has big plans and I’m excited to be a part of it and watch the company grow from strength to strength.