I grew up in Enfield, North London and went to a girls-only Catholic state school, later moving on to a sixth-form college called Woodhouse in North Finchley to do my A-Levels.
I then took a degree in management studies at The University of Nottingham, which is a fabulous campus-based university with a great business school. I always excelled in maths and business, so looking back now I guess it was inevitable I would end up in banking!
I had done some work experience at Bank of Scotland before university which was organised by my Dad, who worked for them back then. When I graduated I phoned up to ask for a job and after a couple of interviews, I was lucky enough to be hired as an analyst. I worked at Bank of Scotland for four years before it was acquired by Lloyds Banking Group during the financial crisis. I have held various client-facing positions across the bank, typically moving into different roles every 2-3 years. I have broad range of experience in coverage, credit and transactional roles.
In 2015, I had my son, Theo, so I took seven months off on maternity leave before returning to work full-time.
Currently, I work in Lloyds’ Strategic Debt Finance team, which is our corporate lending and leverage finance origination department. In a nutshell, my job is to lend money to UK businesses. The best thing about it is meeting clients – I find learning about so many different companies fascinating and really enjoy forming productive, lasting relationships.
On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?
My son is two now and goes to nursery so my day is planned around him and whether I am doing the nursery drop-off or pick-up (which I share with my very supportive partner). I work in an agile and flexible way to make sure I can spend as much time at home as possible. My partner and I receive a lot of help and support from our family which is invaluable to us.
My role is deal focused and can be very intense at times. When I am really busy in the middle of a live transaction, I have to manage my time very carefully. I usually do the nursery pick-ups, so I’ll leave work between 5-5.30pm and pick up my son, play for a bit at home and then put him to bed. At times I may need to log on from home and work. Once a deal gets completed, things generally calm down for a bit. I like that the intensity of the role comes in peaks and troughs and it’s not constant.
My working day usually consists of various meetings and calls and I’ll always make sure I have planned the day ahead in advance. I also formally work a day a week at home – I flex the day each week depending on my client commitments.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No. Looking back, I think I maybe should have had at least a rough idea of what I was going to do! But at the same time, I don’t think an overly formal and rigid plan is a good thing, as you never know what type of opportunity could present itself at any moment.
What do you love about working for Lloyds Banking Group?
For me as a full-time working mum, it is our outstanding commitment towards agile working and our support for more senior female talent in our business.
Top-performing women shouldn’t feel that after they have babies they have to move into back-office or part-time roles. Some women want to (and that’s totally understandable), but I wouldn’t want any women to feel like that is the only option available to them. It is possible to succeed at a front-line, full-time job and still get to see the kids every day and be a great mum!
I am really passionate about encouraging young women to pursue careers in banking, and to carry on doing so after they have children – it is great to work for an organisation that shares this passion.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you overcome these challenges?
The biggest challenge for me (particularly earlier on in my career) was a lack of confidence, which I believe is a common female trait. We do not have as much faith in our ability as we should, or feel comfortable enough shouting about our successes. I implemented some good techniques to help control my nerves. Additionally, whenever I am suffering from a lack of confidence, I make sure I spend time looking at my ‘Brag File’. This is basically a collection of great feedback I have received from clients and internal stakeholders and examples of fantastic deals I have done. It gives me an instant pick-me-up whenever I look at it.
How have you benefited from coaching, mentoring or the sponsorship of others?
I get an enormous amount of satisfaction and pride in mentoring others – it is so important to invest in our pipeline of talent. I have benefited hugely from sponsors and mentors throughout my career, particularly when I am applying for new roles. I’m always eager to do anything I can to ensure junior colleagues receive a similar level of support.
Do you believe in the power of networking? If so, where do you network?
Absolutely! My network is internal and external, most of whom are individuals that I have worked with across my career and kept in touch with. The key to successful networking is to maintain contact – my advice is to keep a written record of your network, where you met those individuals, what you worked with them on and any relevant personal information. I find networking one-on-one or in small groups much more valuable than large events, as it is more targeted.
What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles either inside or outside their own organisations?
Work hard, do a great job and when you do something of value, make sure you talk about it. Senior leaders in organisations love to hear what their staff members are working on and how they are making a difference. When you bump into a senior leader in the lift, talk about the deal you are working on, or what you have delivered for a client recently – it’s much better than small talk about the weather. Externally, the power of social media is huge, so use that to your advantage. But think before you post, and if you are unsure, don’t post it.
What advice would you give to those who aspire to a career in banking?
Make sure you read the business press every day. Build a good network. Always put your clients first.
What does the future hold for you?
I’m ambitious and my next medium-term target is to move into a Managing Director role in banking. I would love to sit on a board one day.