Bristow & Sutor

Meet Sonia Sahnan


In this weeks Leading the Way blog, Sonia Sahnan, Group Transformation and Programme Director, shares her experience of working with Bristow & Sutor since joining the business earlier this year.  

Over to Sonia …  


I joined Bristow & Sutor in October 2020 as Group Transformation and Programme Director, having previously worked in the financial services sector since 1996. My experience of transformation has been in highly governed and regulated working environments throughout my career. Governance naturally lends itself to substantial change activity and I have had the opportunity to work on projects both from the receiving business stakeholder and the individual accountable for delivering the change. As such, I am able to step back from a project, consider the needs of all involved and help make progress in the most efficient way possible.  

Returning home 

Originally from Wolverhampton, I grew up in the Midlands. After leaving home to attend Leeds UniversityI moved to Buckinghamshire and benefitted from the many opportunities in financial services that exist in the South East. Undoubtedly, the location of Bristow & Sutor, based in Washford near Redditch, was appealing to me after I relocated back to the Midlands. But beyond getting back to my roots, I was also greatly attracted to the size and nature of the business.  

Having worked for retail and corporate banks and large organisations, it is refreshing to work alongside a team that has close-knit leadership, fast decision-making processes and a responsive attitude towards change. Bristow & Sutor is by no means a small business but the potential around speed of transformation and change we can deliver here by a flatter leadership structure and a close-knit team is remarkable in comparison. Although it happened slightly before my time here, the quick response to the coronavirus pandemic and change of processes to working from home is a clear example of what the business can achieve when faced with challenges at short notice.    

Recognising the potential for change 

My initial perception of Bristow & Sutor was that businesses successes had accelerated the need for change delivery, such as the significant contract with of TfL (Transport for London) and the realigned strategic objectives that growth and expansion always require. There is a real hunger and desire to deliver more and commitment towards working in the best way possible. Since joining the business, that enthusiasm has remained prevalent and I am confident of what can be achieved.  

I was pleased to hear the business won a Silver award this year for digital transformation at DCXA’20and I am looking to build on that success. I have been looking at the change calendar and will be deeply involved in agreeing our change priorities and how they complement our ongoing IT transformation programme. I have also worked on a new change delivery toolkit which is set to be launched shortly and will aid the ongoing change documentation process in 2021.  

I have managed to get into the office a total of 4 times since my first day and hope to increase that significantly! LuckilyMicrosoft Teams has helped me still get the insight I have needed into the different dynamics within the business, responsibilities and motivations and also put some faces to the many new names. 

Next year and beyond 

My main aim for next year is to meet all the deliverables committed to and ensure ambitions remain realistic to this end. Operational efficiencies are fundamental to change and I am relishing looking at all the projects happening within Bristow & Sutor, realigning strategic objectives and activity priorities for 2021 based on budgets, timeframes and objectives of the leadership team. Staff, debtors and clients will all benefit from this clear view being refined and implemented.  

It is a challenge to balance business priorities, but an essential factor in ensuring the right things are focused on in an organisation that consists of multiple different processes. I am also excited to discover how elements such as our acquisition strategy will change as the UK returns to some semblance of normal and also how we can attract new knowledge and skills to the business as remote working has enabled access to a truly nationwide workforce.  

My mandate remains to push the boundaries with nothing being off-limits, which just goes to show the commitment and enthusiasm Bristow & Sutor has to positive change now and in the future.  

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