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10 October 2019

Recognizing the change makers at SS&C Advent

By Steve Leivent

Passionate, influential and innovative – those are just three words used to describe SS&C Advent leaders Cathy Messina and John Marinatos who were recently recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal for their impactful leadership. It comes as no surprise because both Cathy and John exemplify our core values and excel at building great teams who foster a sense of excellence and collaboration within our client first, service-oriented culture.

Cathy Messina, Vice President of Advent University and Professional Services Americas was honored as a Woman of Influence for demonstrating visionary leadership at SS&C Advent , for mentoring the next generation of leaders and overall for presenting an innovative mindset, i.e., the ability to lead and learn simultaneously and building diverse, global teams.

John Marinatos, Senior Director of Technology for our Black Diamond Wealth Platform, was selected as a Technology Leader of the Year for his innovation in strategic thought leadership and planning, success in implementing technological solutions, management effectiveness and community involvement. His decisions have broad impact but often go unadvertised which is why I am thrilled he was recognized for such a deserving award.

People are our greatest asset and I am honored to highlight our own for their game-changing work.

 

Woman of Influence

Cathy Messina, Vice President of Advent University and Professional Services Americas

Cathy is responsible for delivering a differentiated experience for clients to implement, learn, and grow their own businesses leveraging SS&C Advent’s financial technology solutions. Her promotion to this position in January 2019 was her sixth career advancement during her 10 years’ tenure.

In 2017 Cathy was asked to assume the leading role for Employee Engagement, Training and Development as part of Advent University, which provides learning opportunities across all teams. Since taking charge of education, there have been more than 9,000 employee viewed web classes, over 200 internal product certifications, and a regular cadence of onsite team trainings. Advent University goes beyond equipping employees with the product knowledge they need to excel in their positions, it fosters self-awareness and team collaboration, which makes for a great place to work.

Cathy also overees Community, our extensive online learning and collaboration portal for SS&C Advent clients. Under her leadership, the methodology behind the development roadmap completely changed to focus entirely on client needs instead of the fragmented needs of business stakeholders. The Community site now averages 1.8 million page views each year, which is no small feat for a private platform hidden from a web search. In addition, it supports 4000 active users spanning over 20 technology products. Under Cathy’s leadership there has been a sizeable increase in the Community NPS and CSAT scores, along with a significant upward trend on the Discussion Board, as well as overall client engagement – the true goal of the platform.

Through Cathy’s leadership of the Professional Services teams, she presides over planning, consulting, custom engineering and product upgrades to ensure our clients are satisfied and optimizing their use of SS&C Advent’s financial technology.

She attributes most of her success to the strength of her team, which has grown from 17 to 59 individuals. But, it’s been the strategic goals she’s set and her leadership methodologies that have been driving forces behind her department’s overall achievements.

Cathy holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Florida. She is actively involved in a local mother’s group through her church, which focuses on community volunteer activities and fellowship. Just some of the activities she regularly participates in are nursing home visits, cooking family meals for new mothers, and volunteering for bake sales to raise money for families in need.

 

Technology Leader

John Marinatos, Sr. Director of Technology

John leads the product development for our cloud-based financial technology solution, the Black Diamond Wealth Platform. The front and back-end development, quality assurance (QA), QA automation, agile project management and infrastructure teams all fall under his responsibility.  John has been instrumental in the quality growth of Black Diamond’s product development organization. He oversees 22 teams and more than 100 professionals who are building solutions for Black Diamond’s 1500 client firms who are managing more than $1 trillion in assets.  John is responsible for scaling product development processes, hiring and onboarding of new team members, the introduction of new technology specializations/roles and leadership of the technology strategy groups. 

John has always led the development organization with a people/team-first approach, which has fostered a collective commitment of collaboration, excellence, and thoughtfulness. Most recently, he has driven changes to the employee onboarding experience to support quality and efficient team additions. For QA automation and new technology evaluation, he has initiated and promoted specialization within the team, which both empowers employees while streamlining the process. Throughout the last year, John guided the team through a complex transition project migrating clients to the latest version of the Black Diamond Wealth Platform. 

Additionally, John serves in multiple leadership roles across SS&C Advent, including the Advisory Leadership Team – an operational oversight committee for all Advisory products across the business. In addition, he helps steer the long-term direction of product development as a member of the Black Diamond Investment Committee and is the Executive Chair for the Jacksonville Culture Team ensuring SS&C Advent remains one of the Best Places to Work in Jacksonville.

John connects beyond the Black Diamond team to the local community for hiring, mentoring and promoting technology and innovation in the community.  For the Jacksonville based software developers conference, Code on the Beach, John leads the planning and Black Diamond sponsorship for the event. This year he teamed up with the University of North Florida (UNF) and initiated an internship program which enables students to get hands-on business experience while connecting the development team with initiatives at the university.  Additionally, he supports mentorship programs at UNF and Andrew Jackson High School and encourages participation from the product development team.