I started my career at Lloyds Banking Group as an analyst, until I realised that people skills were a really big thing for me. I decided to study for my Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification. I juggled that with a full time role – I was a single mum at the time as well, so it was tough, but I got a lot of support and encouragement from my manager and colleagues. I became fully CIPD qualified and then I moved into our People and Places function. Now I’m in Emerging Talent – that’s how we refer to people who are starting their careers at Lloyds Banking Group.
Making bold moves
There’s a lot going on in Emerging Talent. For example, last year we worked with 10,000 Black Interns and after huge success we’ve expanded it even further this year. We've always had summer internships, of course, and we still do but I think this was a really bold move. That was really rewarding – it felt like we were able to open the door to people who don’t ordinarily feel they can be part of our Group.
This year, we’re taking it further, through 10,000 Able Interns, unlocking career opportunities for students with disabilities. These are the things that make you wake up in the morning and say to yourself, ‘Yeah, that was worthwhile’.
Mentoring from the bottom up
Another initiative I was involved in last year that felt really important was our Reverse Mentoring programme. Here, our senior leaders were partnered with Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority colleagues around the Group to help us gain a greater understanding of their lived experiences. The aim of this programme is to improve our culture, better understand our diverse customers and build inclusivity for all.
I was paired with a senior female leader and we were able to have really open dialogue. We talked about the kind of stuff we face on a day-to-day basis and how we’ve integrated, as well as our families and homes and how these intersect with work. For me, it was also a great insight into what it’s like to be a white, female senior leader in our organisation – the pressures that come with it and so on. Simply sharing experiences equally really broadens your horizons and I found it so rewarding.
Life in a wow-worthy workspace
Obviously, the way we work has changed a lot over the past few years. A big positive that I’m seeing now is the investment in our workspaces. The Group is in the middle of some massive refurbishments. I work at our Harbourside site in Bristol and it’s just stunning.
There's something about collaborating with real people: meeting your team or being face-to-face with other people in the office – those moments of osmosis and awareness of the bigger picture. I can still work from home for part of the week but for me there is no substitute for being in the office with my colleagues. So, I’m really happy that we’re going to town with the buildings, to create places people really love to work in.