Inspirational Woman: Jayne-Anne Gadhia | CEO of Virgin Money

Jayne-Anne Gadhia CEO of Virgin Money pictured at Disneyland Paris on 18th October 2007 Picture : Paul CooperJayne-Anne Gadhia is the Chief Executive of Virgin Money.

In 2011 she successfully led the acquisition of Northern Rock from the UK Government, nearly four years after it was nationalised. She successfully integrated Northern Rock into the Virgin Money Group and has since extended the business with the acquisition of a credit card book and the creation of a current account. Under her stewardship, the business has grown organically delivering strong financial performance and a return to profitability.

Jayne-Anne originally joined Virgin in 1995 where she created the Virgin One Account. This business was acquired by RBS in 2001 and Jayne-Anne moved to RBS with it. She went on to lead a number of RBS business units and ultimately became responsible for the Group’s Retail Mortgage business. She rejoined Virgin Money in 2007 and one of her first steps was to create Virgin Money Giving, a not for profit business dedicated to helping charities raise as much money as possible.

Jayne-Anne is an advocate of responsible business, an idea she has pioneered through her “Everyone’s better off” philosophy; this is the core component of the Virgin Money approach to business and culture. In January 2014, in recognition of both her services to banking and voluntary service to the community, Jayne-Anne was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours List.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I’ve never planned my career. I became an accountant by accident – I needed a job and it was there! It has stood me in great stead and I’d recommend it as a brilliant start for anyone. After that my advice would be – be brave, be honest and take your opportunities.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

I’ve faced challenges all the time. To be honest I thrive on them – its the hard times – not the easy – that shape us I think. But there’s always an answer with good advice, hard thinking and real determination. Never give up!

What advice would you give someone who wishes to move in to a leadership position for the first time?

If you’re planning to move into a leadership position be sure you know who you are and what you believe in. Make your values clear – and stick with them. Treat people fairly. Everything else will follow.

When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?

If two candidates are genuinely equally matched for a job I’d first think of who would fit best with the team – by that I mean who would be culturally aligned but bring a new challenge and a new way of looking at things. I think diversity of teams is critical so I’d also think about that.

How do you manage your own boss?

I think there’s only one way to build a good relationship with your boss – communicate, communicate, communicate. It goes both ways though.

On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

I don’t have typical work days! But I always start by looking at my emails, checking our press cuttings, looking at the BBC news online and downloading the Times. And I can’t go to sleep if I’ve left any task undone …..

What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organisations?

I’m not sure I’ve ever tried consciously to raise my profile in an organisation. Just do your job well, engage with the organisation’s journey and purpose, ask questions, volunteer to do interesting stuff ….. You’ll soon be asked to do more. Always say yes!

How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

I’ve never been part of a formal mentoring or coaching programme – but I’ve been fortunate enough to meet lots of people who have had amazing experiences. If time allows I always ask to hear their stories – and I always learn from them. I think I’ve learned something from everyone I’ve ever met – even if it’s how NOT to do something!

Do you think networking is important and if so, what 3 tips would you give to a newbee networker?

I think networking is critical in life – not just in business – afterall – its fun to meet people. Three tips?

  • Don’t join networking groups! Be an individual.
  • Ask people to tell you about themselves. You’ll learn lots and they will enjoy it!
  • Follow up with a note the next morning.
What does the future hold for you?

The future? Who knows! I’m enjoying every day and I’ve always found that means that new doors open – I will carry on walking through then and see what I find!

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