“From a young age, I have had a love for computers, and a passion to discover how they functioned. Due to this, I continued my passion to complete a Computer Science BSc. After university, I started working in IT, for a small mobile application development company that was strictly run. I learned a lot, it was my first job and I was really thrown in at the deep end,
at one point I had to stand in a room of thirty people to do a presentation – it was for an app that I had to demonstrate which took about 30 minutes, however, the questions after lasted about an hour and a half; I definitely learned a lot from that!
I then went to work for Thomson Reuters, where I supported their legacy systems. It was a big transition to a big company, working with quite a large team. Unfortunately, most of the team left, so it was just me on my own supporting the systems to the point where I was taking on a larger workload. During this time, I had to learn to work a lot more independently, and gained so much experience from supporting the websites. Gaining more confidence in myself, some time later, I realised, maybe I could give it a go myself. There’s a lot of website companies out there that build great website’s but then, that’s it - they leave the customer to get on with it. Customers, often with very little IT knowledge.
I could see there was a niche, where we could build websites but also offer the support. I love the engineering side of things and giving the support. I’d been offering that for many years; it was where I wanted to be and that’s how the SARJ Group came about, so I teamed up with my business partner, Sarah. SARJ is a combination of our initials and we’ve since found out that it’s a Hungarian word meaning ‘growth’ which fits really well for our ever-growing company.”
Andrew Jarrett, SARJ Group
“From childhood, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher. I was an avid reader, and took my role models from the stories that I read. When one of my favourite childhood story characters became a teacher, and loved it; I decided that I wanted to follow in her footsteps and do just the same!
I followed through with my love of literature all the way to university and beyond. After receiving my degree, I completed my teacher training, and then spent a decade in the profession. I learned a lot from my role as a secondary school English Teacher; you very quickly learn how to read your audience, and adapt what you are presenting, when you are reading Shakespeare with thirty 15 year olds! If you wish to gain practice being able to work on your own, as well as part of a team (often simultaneously!), then teaching is the best practice you will ever get!
After five years in a classroom role, I got my first promotion into school leadership, and for the final five years of my career, I held various leadership and managerial role. These helped me learn how to lead a team effectively; how to successfully hit targets, how to resolve issues within the team, how to train and mentor staff, and how to manage a department’s budget. My students often joked, “Miss, why don’t you just become a Head, and be the boss of everything?” Despite the humour of their questions, I soon realised that this is what I wanted to do; I wanted to lead and build up a team from scratch; I wanted to create something that had longevity; I wanted to lead and inspire from the very top, but not in teaching. Teaching is truly a wonderful job, but you can never be at the very top of the profession; you will always have a government, and school governors, to answer to, and try to appease. I also wanted to build something from its very foundations, and let my own vision and creativity grow with the company.
Andrew and I worked on a plan, and combined my leadership skills, with his IT skills, to create SARJ Group. ‘SARJ’ is not only a combination of our initials, it is also the Hungarian word, meaning ‘growth’, and ‘offspring’. This fits in very nicely with what we are building up the company to be. We created the company ourselves, from the smallest of seeds, and are watching it grow and develop every day. SARJ Group is also teaching me to grow and develop as a person, and a business woman.”
Sarah Richardson, SARJ Group