Meet myprosperity’s newest addition to the team, CPO Josh Centner

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We’re super excited to introduce the newest addition to our award-winning team – joining us this week is Chief Product Officer, Josh Centner. In an awesome introduction we gleaned some insights into his career thus far, and what drove his passion for product innovation and agile management.

Josh’s tech career began after an unexpected series of events, starting out as an accountant at a mid-tier firm back in 2008. “Three months into this role the GFC hit and my entire team was made redundant,” Josh reflects, “Luckily I managed to land an admin role at life insurance provider, AIA. One week into the role I figured out how to automate my job, unfortunately, this required coding – something I didn’t know how to do. Over the next two weeks, I taught myself how to code, working well past midnight to get the job done.” This impressive achievement led to the entire team using Josh’s solution which cut process times by up to 90%. A week later he was promoted to Business Analyst, launching him into his career in technology.

After six months with AIA, Josh built a prototype app to better help customers manage their insurance and claims in his spare time. This led to him being appointed as the Australian Representative for the global AIA innovation team, “This was when I properly fell in love with product management and innovation,” he reflects.

His next major challenge began in late 2013 when he joined Elabor8, an agile management consultancy. After consulting for two years across multiple organisations including IOOF, NAB, ANZ, CarSales and Xero, Josh was invited to take on the role of Head of Product and Design Services. In this new position, he grew a team of product managers, experience designers and customer researchers. “Learning at Elabor8 was like drinking from a fire hose,” says Josh, “Every day a new person would join with top tier experience eager to share their knowledge.”

After four years with Elabor8, Josh took the leap into his most recent past as Head of Product and Delivery for HR software company PageUp, where he immediately got to work delivering on the vision of what an ideal product innovation team and its processes should look like. “This position rolled up three teams into one; product owners, product strategy and agile delivery management. My first task was to help the organisation transform from a sales-led to a product-led company.” Scaling emerging startups into successful organisations is a passion for Josh, his latest read being ‘Platform Scale’ by Sangeet Paul Choudary. “If you are interested in tech startups and SaaS and potentially thinking of doing one yourself, this book is a must-read.”

Beginning his journey with us this week, Josh expressed his excitement to join the myprosperity team, “I love working with a product that affects everyone. Something that has the potential to improve the lives of every single household in Australia and help people achieve their own personal dreams.” Speaking of dreams, his aspirations for the platform and the company show how keen Josh is to get going. Some of his top goals for the next three months include;

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  1. Defining an inspirational, long-term product strategy.
  2. Building a cutting-edge product innovation process and have it up and running.
  3. Having a large number of our users understand why they use myprosperity, what they are trying to achieve and how they believe we could make the wealth portal better.

“Pete told me of his inspiring vision for the product and the all-important why behind what myprosperity does – ‘To help every household live their best possible financial life’. I was hooked immediately,” Josh said.

As someone who wears many hats, “dad” included, Josh attributes his ability to stay sane over last year’s lockdown to his two young sons, aged two and five. They kept him busy as a cardboard castle and rocket engineer (from all the food delivery boxes) and bicycle riding coach. Josh added, “We went on heaps of walks on the beach once we could get out of the house.”

When it comes to personal prosperity, Josh couldn’t have summed it up better, “It really depends on the person. Prosperity is a personal state of mind where you are achieving your own financial goals. Whether that’s going on holiday, buying a house or saving for retirement, prosperity is when you are comfortable in how you are tracking towards those goals.” As a collaborative wealth platform that works to bring clients closer to their financial goals, whatever they may be, we couldn’t agree more.

Meet The Team: Elise Pace

In the latest instalment of our Meet the Team series, we sat down with our newly appointed Senior User Experience Designer, Elise Pace, to find out her interests, pet peeves and top trends to look out for.

 

After graduating from the industrial design program at Auburn University, I moved to New York City and then on to Vail, Colorado before eventually landing in Australia four years ago. I grew up in a small town in Alabama, so I still have a slight twang. I love all things design, especially finding new art exhibitions to go to. I also enjoy the outdoors – living in Colorado for four years really showed me the beauty of hiking and skiing.

 

Honestly, I had no plans to even travel to Australia in 2016. I came on a whim after I found an affordable flight from Heathrow to Melbourne and I was on a plane two weeks later. I took a break from work back in June 2016, and travelled around Europe for four months while also living in Bordeaux, France for a bit. I fell in love with Melbourne after two months and I decided I wanted to move here long term. When I moved back in early 2017, I realised how amazing the workforce and healthcare system is here. The Australian way of life is so nice and I’m very grateful to call Melbourne home now.

I believe designing for transparency is more important now than ever. With the rise of misinformation making us question our sense of reality, I think we need to focus on designing openly and encouraging critical thinking from our users. Solving user needs is key – caring more about our users and the impact of our work than about the work itself is on the rise.

I’d say the (bad) rise of dark patterns has got to go. Quoting Wikipedia, dark patterns are essentially the “user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things.”

I also think using fluff tech terms are out – speaking clearly and directly to your users is better than confusing them.

I learned how to weld while I was in industrial design school. I was working on a project with DeWalt at Auburn University and I decided to make a drywall carrier to help construction workers in the field.

  • Biggest pet peeve? When people eat or chew gum with their mouth open.
  • Favourite sport?Hiking around Grindelwald, Switzerland was pretty fantastic, but my grandparent’s old house on the bay is also a top spot.
  • Favourite food?  Gosh, I love eating. I’d have to say finding great fried chicken in Australia is a hobby. I also love a particular chocolate dobash cake from a bakery called Pollman’s – I used to get it every birthday in my hometown.

I’m really excited to gain more user insights by conducting more qualitative work like user interviews and making it very transparent with our whole team. I want to make sure the user feedback is front and foremost on our team’s mind.

Meet The Team: Scott Bridger

In the latest instalment of our Meet the Team series, we sat down with our newly appointed Account Manager in Sales, Scott Bridger, to find out his interests, pet peeves and top trends to look out for.

 

I’m a pretty normal guy to be honest (at least I think I am), I travel when I can, I run a lot I play and watch football and cricket, I attempt to surf and play drums and I’m learning to speak Mandarin. I’m from Queensland originally – I moved down to Melbourne 3 years ago. I and try to get out as much as I can to experience the bars and cafe culture everyone in Melbourne’s always talking about, and I spend most of my spare time with friends either at Edinburgh Gardens, the Fitzroy Pool or the Lord Newry (my local).

 

I’d say the top trend in the accounting and financial planning industry is the movement away from the preparation of tax returns/accounts and reporting investment returns to providing more holistic strategic advice (such as how to improve tax flow, reduce tax and generally run a business better) as well as what asset allocation is appropriate to a person or families risk profile. For financial planners, a move completely away from product based revenue to fees (not necessarily time based but value added) and from selling investments/insurance to strategic advice seems to be trending.

In my opinion, the most overrated trend is the thought that increased regulation will result in a better service to clients. Obviously in certain cases additional oversight is required, however it’s important to bear in mind this won’t necessarily improve outcomes for clients.

I have an extensive list of allergies ranging from severe to not so severe so I go through life trying not to make enemies, I would be pretty easy to kill.

  • Biggest pet peeve? Slow walkers and bad drivers, Melbourne has plenty of both.
  • Favourite sport? Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast. Great waves, good weather, and footwear is not required.
  • Favourite food?  Philly cheesesteaks!

I’m excited to see how the skills I’ve attained and developed over the years translate to dealing with partners in the financial planning and accounting industries, and possibly bring a different point of view due to my experience of having worked in different industries.