Head: Investment Banking, International, Corporate and Investment Banking

Why is “Why she leads” important?

You can’t open somebody’s mind
unless the person has examples of what is possible. “Why she leads” gives the role models. I also like the concept: She leads because she’s been judged based on her age, gender and looks – rather than her ability and role. She knows the harm that unconscious biases can cause. That’s why she leads.

What has been the value of mentorship in your life?

Formal programmes are useful for professional structure and objectives, but informal mentoring also works. I’ve even been mentored by many people I’ve never met, such as Nelson Mandela. I like the way he comported himself and I learnt from the way he dealt with difficult situations.

How do we focus on women leadership without alienating men?

We can’t have more women leaders if we don’t have men actively championing, supporting and sponsoring us. Men have more representation at almost every table, so we need them to address the imbalance. It doesn’t need to be formal, but it does needs to be done deliberately. We need men.

What are the biggest contributors to your success?

My support network of family and close friends, my tribe of fellow working mothers and the staff I have been lucky to have. The role models I’ve had in my career, both male and female, senior and junior to me – they have shown different admirable qualities. And the life skills that I have acquired along the way – they’ve given me options and kept me grounded; I think it is impossible to be truly successful as a woman if you aren’t grounded.

What challenges do women face in the workplace?

A recent study shows while 29% of women now earn the same as their spouses (up from 11% in 1972), women still do more for the home and family. We don’t call it work because it’s unpaid, but it is work. It’s not easy to do more than one job and do both well. Many women just make it look that way.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome?

I battle with it more often than I admit. I also worry that people expect more of me than I’m capable of. These thoughts push me to spend a lot of time preparing, even for subjects that I know well. Then I push the thoughts of inadequacy out of my mind and face the task head on.

How do you handle negative feedback?

I ask myself how much preparation I really did, if I put in the right quality of effort, find out where I got it wrong, so I know what to do differently next time. I come away from negative feedback happy that I know, because I will work to ensure I never get that feedback again.

What are your thoughts on sponsorship in the workplace?

If you demonstrate ability and raise your hand, you’ll find sponsors, even if it’s not as part of a formal programme – bosses like people who deliver good quality, work well with others, and make their teams look good.

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

Balance is elusive. You’ll drop some balls but try not to drop the most important balls. Stand up to be counted. You can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket. Take some risks.

“Experience and skill always come in disguise, not on a platter of gold with a ribbon around it. If you want skills and experience, you must be ready to put in the work.”

Stay grounded and be shameless about the high standard that you set for yourself and the output that you are known for.