“Starting a new job in a pandemic? It’s meant a lot of learning!” – Q&A with James Malia, MyEva’s new Sales Director

Posted / June 3, 2020

1. Your CV is impressive. What would you say is your greatest career achievement so far?

I am lucky in that I am proud of both what I have achieved and what I have helped businesses achieve throughout (nearly all) my career. A particular highlight was my time as Managing Director at P&MM Employee Benefits. Not only did we catapult the business forward in its marketplace to be highly profitable and successful but I worked with some amazing people to make it happen. Achievements for me have always been more about the success of the company and those around me than my own personal moments.

But if you’re interested in personal moments…25 years ago (I know I don’t look old enough!) I decided to work in bars around the world instead of going to uni. I was told that this would hold me back and my dream of earning good money was far-fetched but I found a role I enjoyed working as an adviser and found having a goal really gave me something to work for. I dug down and failed a few times but then found my feet thanks to a couple of mentors. After a few months I had saved enough to spoil my old man and step mum for their anniversary and joint big birthdays. “Pick six of your closest friends and be at the local pub dressed for dinner” were my instructions. The night came and  when they arrived, a limo picked them up and took them to London. When they got to the Michelin-starred Maze, they still didn’t know that they would be at the chef’s table for the evening until they were taken through to the kitchen. All of them still mention it as one of their most memorable evenings whenever I see them. That, for me, marked success.

2. What inspired you to join Wealth Wizards?

Our founding purpose is to make financial advice affordable and accessible to all. It isn’t a tag line or an expensive brand exercise, but a genuine want for our CEO Andrew Firth and the team. A simple but meaningful and inspiring message with real purpose.

 3. The midst of a pandemic and a lockdown must be a strange time to start a new job. What have you been doing in a typical day at Wealth Wizards since you joined?

Some days I would have to answer that with “I have no idea” as the days just disappear. There has been a lot of learning – initially about the business and the product, of course, but then about the future of the UK employee and engagement marketplace. We all have a lot to do – that’s for sure. We have also had a record couple of months for new clients coming on board. I’d like to take the credit but my teams and the product get it all. It has, however, kept me busy and working in the HR world again means some great conversations on Zoom/Teams/Goto/Skype (even the phone) daily. I’m pleased to see spirits are still high. Of course under 11 and under 14 homework ‘Taskmaster’ challenges, running, painting by numbers and even a spot of yoga and meditation (who knew!) keep me sane. Accepting that the odd day is not going to be full on helps too and I am hugely lucky that our senior team couldn’t be more supportive and understanding throughout this crazy journey. My 1-2-1s are often more focussed on wellbeing and me than they are business, which says a lot.

4. What most excites you about the potential of MyEva?

Two things. First, we all need goals, and we often need to be shown a way to achieve them. Often, these are determined by our finances or, simply put, money. MyEva is there to support all in some shape or form, from those worried about paying bills, to those wanting to get married, move home, retire early, or take their parents out for dinner. Knowing the path to achieve those goals can help anxiety and maybe even motivate them to get out of bed in the morning and work towards them.

Second, having been an adviser for 15 years before I jumped in to benefits, I have a pretty strong understanding of both industries. I know the holes in the marketplace now, and that MyEva is perfectly placed to fill them. Even before COVID hit us the need for both financial support and positive financial change for all was emerging more and more as something we all need. Employers cannot afford to keep paying more to their employees, but they can help them to manage their money better and offer intelligent tools to guide them through.

Finwell doesn’t have to relate to those in financial distress, it can also just be ‘being better with money’ or achieving a dream one day at a time. MyEva can work with all. Like many things, finance can be complex unless you have a guide to help you navigate it.

5. Tell us a little-known fact about you.   

I’ll tell you four! I talk too much. I once sung on the Russell Harty show. You can find me on iTunes. I’ve driven an F1 car. These are the ones I can publish 😊

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