Inspirational Woman: Marcela Navarro | Executive Business Manager to CEO, RBS

MarcelaNavarroMarcela Navarro is the Head of Customer Innovation and Executive Business Manager to the CEO of the Corporate Banking Division at RBS.

With an international career, global perspective and entrepreneurial flair, Marcela is one of life’s true leaders. Her passion for a diverse and inclusive society has recently led to her being awarded a World of Difference 100 Award from The International Alliance for Woman (TIWA) in recognition for her contribution to corporate diversity.

What attracted you to the world of finance?

The banking industry has always been a core component of community and society growth, that’s why I like it. It’s a fundamental enabler of progress, that’s what drew me to it.

Being exposed to different environments and realities has given me the unique opportunity to learn, engage and adapt.

How has your international business experience shaped the way you work?

It has been crucial.

Being exposed to different environments and realities has given me the unique opportunity to learn, engage and adapt.

I am Colombian, and my international journey has given me a unique perspective. I’ve been lucky enough to work in various parts of the finance sector in Colombia, Brazil, the US and the UK.

Living and working amongst these different cultures, customers and realities has given me a strong grasp of how the best aspects of different business cultures can be unified and leveraged to make things easier to maximise value faster. They can be used to boost resourcefulness and flexibility in the way we approach problems, ultimately adding value to our customers, people and the wider community.

From a personal perspective, I enjoy diversity, seeing different places, meeting people, learning new things, so it’s been good for me as an individual too.

What has been your greatest personal or business achievement to date?

Wow, that’s tough.

One is certainly proving the value that an international contributor, from a different culture, can bring to very large developed countries and to be seen as a leader in different industries and cultures.

Personally, I feel very grateful to be where I am because I am in a position to influence change within the banking industry and drive agendas towards the elimination of real or perceived barriers to success, especially those associated with “not being part of the majority”.

My role for the last three years at RBS has been primarily to help our customers and suppliers – particularly SMEs – find opportunities to ensure long-term market relevance and business sustainability.

I am also very proud of being awarded the World of Difference 100 Award by the TIAW

The question I ask myself is what is RBS’s role in society and how can I contribute to making that role real and viable?

One of the answers is inclusion, which should be part of the way we do business and needs to be considered at all levels of the organisation. We’re already working hard to make sure all our customers and employees are treated fairly, and get access to the same opportunities. On top of this, I have been personally involved in the developing a code of conduct that makes sure we’re doing the same for our suppliers.

The Supplier and Inclusion Code of Conduct, is a way of encouraging large corporations to provide equal opportunities within their procurement processes to ensure that diverse suppliers have access to market opportunities throughout the supply chain.

Through the Code of Conduct, I have not only created something that is being adopted by one of the largest banks in the world (RBS), but that is also being supported by other large organisations (e.g. IBM, MSD, Coca-Cola).

But the benefits go far beyond this. We can be seen as pioneers by making a positive change in society. By using our influence to encourage other companies to open their doors to minorities, we’ll help to create a culture change in business more broadly.

I am also very proud of being awarded the World of Difference 100 Award by the TIAW. It is a huge honour and recognition of the work I am doing at RBS and at charities that I support, such as WEConnect International and the Global Banking Alliance for Women in my role as chair of the advisory board.

What drives you?

I am driven by performance and sustainability.  Creating things that transform and multiply value, bringing the best people together and leading them to achieve significant results that create economic and strategic value for our company and our community.

I think what it comes down to is my ambitious nature. I want to redefine the industry, drive change and transform it. I want to create things with a wider economic, social, environmental and community impact. I am very lucky that, within the scope of my role, I can do that.

What does the future hold for you?

There is still so much more that I want to achieve within the banking industry.

I am committed to building capacity and leveraging practitioner knowledge within the banking industry to help small and minority owned businesses grow and play more of a role in local and international economies.  Ultimately, our success rests with the success of our customers.

By making sure our values are reflected in the detail of our operations, we’re helping communities. Sometimes it’s the small changes that have the biggest impact.

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