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5 questions with Steve Thompson, 5app’s new Chief Learning Officer
There’s nothing we love more than a product evangelist here at 5app, so we’re in for a real treat with the arrival of our new Chief Learning Officer Steve Thompson! Following his time as a customer as Greystar’s Senior Director of Learning and Talent Development, we’re delighted to have him on board to help us spread the word about ‘the best learning and comms platform’ (his words, not ours!).
To celebrate his new role and help you get to know him, we pelted Steve with some quickfire questions. Find out more about his experience, what he’s bringing to 5app and his favourite biscuits.
Steve, welcome! We’re so happy you’re here. Can you give us a potted history of your career to date?
Hello and I’m so happy to be here!
I went straight into banking from school, and most of my career took place in the banking industry. I started out working in high street branches, and when I became the branch manager I really thought I’d made it - how painfully naive!
At this time, back-office processing was being relocated to central processing centres, and I took a role in London with HSBC, which is where I discovered an interest and passion for learning and development - training people at the desk. I held various senior roles over the years, including a three-year stint in the Middle East before continuing my career with Barclays and SMBC/Nikko.
After that I moved to Greystar, where I spent more than five years, and that’s where I first came across 5app, which we used to create our multi award-winning Greystar Business School. And the rest is history!
What are you known for in the workplace?
Bad dad jokes and a habit of humming Christmas songs all year round!
As a facilitator I think my former colleagues would describe me as a bit of a maverick. I was never afraid to go off piste or take different approaches to really land a learning point and expand the learner experience.
More broadly, I believe I’m known for cultivating high performing teams and an innovative approach to solving complex organisational needs utilising technology pragmatically. In addition to learning and talent strategy I really enjoy the leadership element of my roles and working with a diverse team to create solutions that not only make a commercial difference but also enable people to become the best ‘them’ they can be.
Why did you choose to move to 5app?
Honestly, I think 5app is an incredibly exciting and innovative organisation who have a product that is so elegantly simple but enables massive business impact.
While I was at Greystar, I built a really solid relationship with the 5app team. The 5app platform gave me the ability to innovate in the way that I wanted and also needed to, which really stands out in such a crowded market.
I’m so proud of what we achieved at Greystar, but I was really ready for my next challenge. As I say, I love the 5app product, so it was a no brainer for me. I’ve never been on the vendor side before, so it’s an exciting peek behind the curtain!
“It scares me coming into this role, but in a good way, because I’ve got so much to learn and so much to bring.”
What are you looking to bring to 5app as our new Chief Learning Officer?
Three words: energy, focus and drive. I’m also here to support the entire 5app team. Possibly my most important task will be to act as a brand evangelist. I genuinely love the 5app platform, and it’s my job to help spread the word about it.
I’m a pragmatist at heart, and 5app aligns perfectly with that. Really what we provide, in the eyes of the customer, is a very simple solution, but I know how much work goes into making a product that looks so simple.
“5app allows creators to be creative, innovators to innovate and learners to learn, and that’s what I love about it.”
After our success with 5app at Greystar, my vision is to help other companies do the same. With 5app, businesses can create a self-directed learning culture to bring the right content to the right people at the right time, and I’m really passionate about putting 5app and its growing ecosystem on the map and being part of that revolution.
And finally, and most importantly: what are your favourite biscuits?
It really depends on your preference for dunking. Hobnobs are obviously up there, or I’m partial to a Rich Tea. Custard creams are great with coffee. I also make a great cup of tea, so that’s a talent I’m bringing with me to 5app.