George Ralph is Managing Director of RFA, a tech firm specialising in providing market leading IT solutions to the alternative investment community. George is a technology and business leader with a proven track record of strategic alignment, process improvement and guidance. George has extensive delivery and technical experience in the IT sector and is an Assessor for the British Computer Society and a Certified IT professional.
Hi George, what are you working on today?
My main focus recently has been around growing a business and ensuring industry leading service during a pandemic! It has been an interesting time. Also, my priority list doesn’t just include our clients, it includes our staff at RFA. They have worked hard to keep our clients doing business this year and their wellbeing is very much at the forefront of my mind.
How did you get to where you are now?
I started out in 1994 teaching people Netscape navigator. I then became a sys admin on CentOS and OS2 systems in the City. This led me to becoming CTO of a training firm as a Partner. I then left there choosing to become an outsourced COO/CTO to technology firms (like RFA). This provided an opportunity to become a cyber auditor for investors involved in M&A work and investments, after which I joined RFA becoming a Partner and Managing Director globally in 2014.
What attracted you to this business?
The RFA leadership is like a family. The open, transparent idea sharing and the support we give each other is far greater than I have experienced in any other company I have worked for as a leader. It can be lonely at the top so RFA’s approach was key to me making the decision to join the business.
What has been the most pivotal moment of your career so far?
Technically, a migration of an enterprise firm with 500k users on the system 24/7. This was a huge project where I implemented VMware View VDI systems and core load balancing solution. There is no question it was a challenging project, but with big challenges come big rewards
In a leadership role, having the ability to mentor people and interview IT leaders to become certified as IT accredited individuals is a real highlight for me. The people who work in IT are definitely one of my main focus areas.
What aspect of our industry excites you the most?
The challenging mix of the need for next generation technology without the assumed budget. I love designing systems and hand holding startups so that the technology architecture we provide can grow with them, match their regulatory needs and also be future proof.
I also enjoy meeting people with key technology challenges and resolving them, especially when it comes to service standards. Service is one of our main focuses at RFA and something I insist we maintain at all levels.
What would you change?
Our sector works hard and works long hours. I enjoy this and I definitely am in the live to work camp, but I have to constantly bring myself back in line to ensure I take a break every now and then. So no real change, other than continuing to ensure my hobbies get the time they need. I love racing – Caterhams at the moment – and when I’m racing there is no way I can think about work or do any work so it is a real release for me and an opportunity to try and succeed in a different way!
What do you invest in personally?
My children, property and motorsport. I am from a family of petrol heads and so spend most of my weekends racing or having fun with my children, or in fact both. I am hoping my boys will follow in my footsteps and have the same passion for motorsport that I do.
Where do you celebrate?
As my role is global, I travel 90% of the time (not right now obviously!) and so I have favourite bars and hotels all around the world. Catch in NYC is a favourite and I look forward to a cold beer there once we are able to travel more freely again.
What is at the top of your bucket list right now?
Personally, I want to win a Mag 7 championship in my race class in the Caterham. Professionally, I want to continue being the desired IT firm in our sector.
What does success mean to you?
Happiness and security.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Always be honest with your staff. Leadership is being transparent about both plans and challenges; if people have a goal and know how you want to get there they will focus on it. The same applies to values.
George Ralph has been an AYU member since 2020. AYU is the digital private members club for alternative investment professionals. Join AYU today and connect with George by applying for membership here.
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