From PA to MD; My Jigsaw Adventure

By Katie Wilkinson, MD of Jigsaw Business Solutions

We’ve welcomed in the new year and I’ve just embarked upon the next stage of my Jigsaw adventure, stepping into the role of Managing Director of Jigsaw Business Solutions.

In January 2016, due to changes in my personal circumstances, I decided that the banking world was no longer for me and so I turned up to an interview for a PA role at a start-up company, in an industry I knew nothing about. Despite not knowing anything about gift cards, John saw something in me that day, and my passion meant I had just what Jigsaw was looking for at that time and after one more interview with Kim, where cats were the main topic of conversation, I was offered a completely different role, Head of Operations! In true start-up style, there wasn’t actually an operations team, but I was tasked with creating it along with numerous processes and procedures to get gift cards into the hands of customers. In those early days I was involved in just about everything – invoicing and reconciliation, preparing presentations for existing and prospective clients, attending pitches and partner meetings and I soon started to work directly with our clients. In a speedy 18 months, I was promoted to Client Director, and then more recently to Director of Clients and Trade when my role expanded to include our Sales and Partnerships team. When Kim asked me to be the Managing Director a few weeks ago, I didn’t hesitate to accept! I’ve worked across, or with, every function at Jigsaw and now I’m excited I get to bring all of those experiences together as I lead the Jigsaw team forward.

It is incredible to work with our clients; global brands like Costa Coffee, ASOS, Boohoo, Hotels.com and many more. I love building relationships with our key stakeholders, and this is one of the things I have found the hardest to let go of. Our talented Client Account Directors now look after our valued clients with the support of their Account Executives. At Jigsaw we pride ourselves on cultivating honest, trusting relationships with our clients and invest a lot of time getting to know their businesses and goals. Our portfolio has grown through word-of-mouth referrals, prospecting and a fair bit of persistence, with an unrelenting belief that gift cards can add significant value to a brand when executed well. Jigsaw Business Solutions has done just that – provided solutions to business problems that our retailers faced. We have some exciting prospects and look forward to launching new programmes and capabilities during 2022 and beyond.

My first major project was launching the Hotels.com gift card programme in the UK, Australia and Sweden. To say it was challenging is an understatement, not least of all because I was coordinating calls with key stakeholders based all over the world! I had to know intricate details of card processing and issuing, international legislation and compliance, finance and marketing processes and be confident enough in what I knew to challenge stakeholders to get the right outcomes for the project. The launch took longer than we expected but has been a great success and it taught me so much. Our projects team is now led by Holly, our Director of Projects and Operations, ably supported by her team. We’ve been able to apply everything we’ve learned to build our proprietary platform, Jigsaw360 that delivers a variety of services to our clients and partners and is central to our strategy for the future.

Holly also leads Operations, as well as overseeing our retail finance team, taking care of the ordering process from enquiry, right through to payment and reconciling our dedicated client bank accounts. As we’ve grown, so has the need to bring operations and finance processes together and I’m excited to see what this team will achieve with their collective skills and experience. My own experience of our operations back in 2016 is quite different to what we do today! We now take care of just about everything for our retail brands – activation and top-up of gift cards, fulfilment, eCommerce fraud mitigation, customer services, preparation of invoices and managing payment, reconciliation and settlements.

I’ve never thought of myself as a natural salesperson, but I do love to pitch and have really enjoyed looking after our Sales and Partnerships department over the past year. We have a great product, and portfolio of brands, alongside a fantastic group of knowledgeable and passionate people. I’ve also learned a lot working with our talented leadership team to build out our international offering whilst continuing to grow and develop our existing sales team. We’re excited to continue growing and expanding our reach to new markets and territories in the years to come.

Since April 2018 we’ve been supported by Anna, our Director of People. I am so grateful to her for many things, not least of all her coaching throughout my own adventure and helping Jigsaw find and retain talent. I’ll also be working closely with our lead Accountant on everything from business planning to regulatory compliance. Like almost all of our team, I had a limited understanding of what a gift card was before I joined Jigsaw. We now have 65 years of experience collectively, with our leadership team averaging almost 4 years tenure each. I’m so proud to work somewhere that develops its people into new roles and rewards great performance. I’d like to thank John and Kim for the trust and autonomy I’ve enjoyed, and the opportunity to move into the role of Managing Director. Here’s to the next chapter and Jigsaw’s continued growth and success!