Inspirational Woman: Melissa Sergeant | Managing Director, Bishopsgate Financial

Melissa SergeantMelissa Sergeant is a leader specialising in change management including banking operations and governance and anti-money laundering (AML)/Know-Your-Customer (KYC) compliance.

Melissa has headed major business transformation projects most recently at Deutsche Bank and previously IBM.

Now at Bishopsgate Financial, a leading financial services & change management provider Melissa oversees the firm’s consultancy service and is responsible for business development and delivery.

Melissa has over 30 years of experience in account management, operations management, project management and process improvement.

Melissa has a proven track record of leading international teams and takes a highly collaborative, respect focused approach. As a qualified executive coach (AoEC) she works with individuals to boost their performance.

Her roles at Deutsche Bank included: Programme Director for AML/KYC, Transformation Program Director, Program Director of Process Change. Her program was awarded “Most Innovative Approach to Driving Culture Change” at the Global PEX awards 2015.

Originally from Australia, Melissa lives in London with her husband Chris, and two children. Her interests include playing the piano and extravagant cake decorating.

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

I’m a wife and mother of two teenage children, who grew up in Sydney, Australia in a large family that was always extended by having several friends around. As my parents owned a Newsagent I began working for them on weekends when I was around 12 years of age, and from then I was always seeking any part time jobs to occupy my time, and provide me with some income and experience.

My ongoing career started at IBM where I stayed for 18 years and received a fantastic grounding in IT, Business management and leadership.

When an opportunity came up to move to the UK for work (at Deutsche Bank) in 2007, my husband and I jumped at it, because we had both always wanted to experience living and working outside of Australia.

So we moved from Sydney to London with all our worldly goods, including a two and four year old. The next major chapter in my career came from 11 years at Deutsche Bank – mostly in operations, IT roles and change management. Early in 2019, I joined Bishopsgate Financial as Managing Director.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes – several times. Usually it was triggered by some training or course that inspired me to review my career plan, OR as a result of not being motivated in my current role.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes. There were times that I was not motivated in my current role (for various reasons) and I found it very challenging to really strive to deliver results

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Actually giving birth to two children is definitely my biggest achievement.

From a career perspective, my biggest achievement was when I was a core leadership member of a team driving transformative change through process improvement in Deutsche Bank.

It was hard work influencing 1000’s of staff that you can make a difference to what you are delivering just by making process improvements, and the rewards came when people started making the change themselves – unaided by me or my team.

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

Perseverance is key, but HOW you persevere is the critical factor.  My style is very collaborative, and most of my success has come about by building and maintaining effective relationships and encouraging people to be part of the change activity (not do it to them).

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

I am a big advocate of mentoring and coaching as it’s a simple and safe way for people to learn from one another. I’ve been a mentee in both formalised arrangements and informal – where I simply as a friend for advice.

And I have mentored countless people over the years, but since I completed a Certificate in Executive Coaching in 2012, I now prefer coaching techniques which facilitate and encourage the individual to identify their own solutions.

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

Ask senior women leaders in a company to vote for the women they want to sit on their boards

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

Don’t worry about things not lining up in the future that you planned for, but go with it and try and learn from each and every interaction and experience.

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

I’d like to extend my coaching skills and experience to support others in realising their career ambitions and personal development goals.

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