Inspirational Woman: Debs Barlow | Employment Manager, LTSB

DEBS BARNLOWComing from a finance background, Debs worked in the Inter-dealer broker Market for 25 years.

Debs joined LTSB in 2015 and leads the Employment team. Throughout her career she maintained high level client relationships and now creates, monitors and maintains employer relationships for LTSB. Training, recruitment and education play a major part in her role as well as managing placements of apprentices and alumni and ensuring the best possible completion and progression rates for our Young Leaders.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role:

I am married with three beautiful daughters living in Suffolk. I was an inter-dealer broker for over 20 years in the City. My career started out at James Capel where I took my stock exchange exams and then I joined the inter-dealer broker market at Tradition in 1993 and saw our team grow from 5 to 45. I left Tradition in 2009 then worked for GFI and BGC as a senior broker before I found my true calling in the Charity sector in 2015. I am now the employment director for Leadership Through Sport & Business placing young people who face disadvantage in jobs in finance at leading organisations in the city.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

My career in the city was a curve-ball that I had never expected to happen. I studied and gained a BA in Visual and Performing Arts, but after temping at James Capel one Christmas in the personnel department filing redundancy letter’s they offered me a job on the traded options desk. The rest is history.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

The market I worked in was very male dominated but I didn’t see that as a challenge. Tradition was very supportive towards me and I grew up there with my colleagues being more like an extended family. When I wanted to start a family of my own I was also supported and welcomed back, three times.The challenge was that equity markets move fast and every time I came back I was invited to start up a new desk to research and gain market coverage in something new. 1995 The Eurostoxx 50, 1998 The Sectors, 2005 Exotics and Var Swaps. This meant that I missed out quite often on the established markets I had left behind and the reward that this gave the individuals that worked in the more mature and established markets I had left behind.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

To persuade leading organisations to change their recruitment criteria to give school leavers a chance as well as grads and to make sure that all our young people are paid properly and given opportunities equal to their talent and potential.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

There is no one thing, but I think having a good sense of humour helps a lot! Making people smile and brightening their day is hugely important to me, also during my career as a broker being able to tolerate rude and nasty traders at banks and being able to bounce back. Being a broker is a baptism of fire which prepares you for any other business situation you could possibly encounter! The other essential ingredients are resilience, work ethic and believing in yourself.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I am now lucky enough to have hundreds of opportunities to mentor and help young people. I have never had an official mentor myself, although my husband and my older sisters are always my sounding board.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

I would make sure that young women through flexible working are able to continue their careers as well as have a family. It is also important that young woman are more ambitious and apply for jobs which appear at first glance seem to be out of their reach but which men would apply for nevertheless with the same amount of experience.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Keep learning and keep training. Don’t be afraid to change careers.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My current and future challenge is to engage with many more employers and help to change society by placing young people in rewarding and life-changing careers.

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