I am the Revolve Program Manager here at SMCT. I get to lead an amazing team of experts that are collectively working towards replacing our current CCEMS and ACCPAC systems with a modern, intuitive, and innovation-ready platform! My job entails everything from herding the vendor and everyone interacting with the program, to ensure effective stakeholder engagement, to working closely with management to minimise risk and manage the program to the approved budget.
What’s your number one work-related goal this year?
I have two very important goals for this year. The first is implementing our new Revolve program successfully while ensuring that it brings the benefits we’re aiming for to SMCT. The second is building a culture of agile delivery, meaning we want to empower our stakeholders to think outside the box and bring a short, sharp style of delivery and innovative thinking into our daily operations. Overall, it’s about making sure that Revolve captures SMCT’s empathetic culture and sets the organisation on a pathway to continuous improvement.
What is one thing that surprised you about working within the cemeteries industry?
I’ve been at SMCT for 10 months and prior to working here, my idea of a cemetery was all doom and gloom. However, in reality, it’s the opposite. The products, journeys, the services, the food, the locations, the people (oh, the people!) are all so lovely. I also never thought that an organisation like SMCT would prioritise innovation and technology as much as they do. Everyone that works here is always asking, ‘how can we do this better?’
What advice would you share with new or future employees at SMCT?
Most people initially treat a job as just a source of income and a progression ladder for them to climb. I believe that as you grow, you learn that purpose is a huge part of your career, and you begin asking yourself ‘what am I working towards? What are my values?’ My advice would be to appreciate what SMCT offers in terms of that sense of purpose and fulfilment. You can earn a good living, but also be a part of something greater. It’s very easy to sell people something that they are excited about, or gives them a positive experience, but what we do takes a special level of care and empathy when people are going through a difficult time.
If you can, share one memorable interaction you have had with a customer or colleague during your time at SMCT.
Earlier this year, soon after starting at SMCT, I experienced the loss of a loved one. While assisting my friend to organise the funeral, we realised that there is just SO much to decide. Processing all of this new information and making choices for a funeral is very overwhelming when you’re already grieving. So, I approached my colleague Dean Edney (smashing tall guy who leads our Customer Value Transformation program) who said “Oh Prav! Give me your friend’s number and I will get him in touch with the right people.” He got Lisa Foster to call my friend and they spent well over an hour talking through all of the options. Lisa explained everything in great detail, and afterwards my friend called me to say how amazing and helpful that was. She was so influential in this time of grieving that she received a special mention in the eulogy. This showed me early on that when you have a passion for what you do, the difference you can make is huge.
People often have mixed reactions when you tell them you work at a cemetery – what is one myth you’d like to bust?
The ‘around the BBQ question’ response from my friends when I tell them where I work is usually along the lines of ‘really!? At a cemetery? That must be depressing!’ It is not scary at all to work at a cemetery. It is actually very beautiful (did you know that we have weddings here too?). The way lives are celebrated here, and the immaculate upkeep of resting places is just amazing.