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“I joined Barclays from a consultancy, where I’d been dealing with banks who were remediating their models as a result of new regulations .I joined Barclays Risk in 2015 because it was an opportunity to bring my specialist knowledge and expertise into a role working between Counterparty Credit Risk (CCR) and the regulators directly.
The banking industry was going through a lot of transformation back then, and Barclays was no different, so it was a tough environment and the work was challenging, but I gained very valuable exposure and experience. Since then I’ve seen Barclays go through some incredible changes, from the leadership to the culture and everything in between. I have progressed to Director level, taken leave to have two children, I now work flexibly and manage my own time, this is due to strong team and line manager support.
I was promoted to Director in 2017, moving into the CCR models team, leading Model Monitoring Regulatory risk and Governance. It was an opportunity to get more experience in the models area, and it was a massive learning curve. I was setting up model governance controls from scratch and enhancing the model monitoring and back testing framework.
I’d been a Director for a year and a half when I had my first son. I took maternity leave for a year, and when I came back I was pregnant again. My boss suggested that since I was only back for four months I could work on more technical aspects like model reviews and implementation, which I had long been interested in. This was work I’d wanted to do, but had never had the chance as a director. It was great experience and worked well with managing work and family priorities. The whole team was very understanding.
Don’t be scared to try a new way of working that hasn’t been considered before.
“ I took nine months’ maternity leave this time, and came back to work part time on a flexible working pattern. I now work four days a week. I was very grateful, but this is typical of the supportive culture here in Risk. My manager had taken time to think about which projects I should work on when I returned, and gave me some good guidance, including not working on my non-working day and managing deliveries accordingly; all of this gave me confidence, which is important when you return to work after maternity leave. I make sure I’m disciplined and focused on the four days when I’m in the office, and work late occasionally if I need to – that’s about responsibility and accountability.
As one of only a few female directors, and a member of the gender network, I hope I can be a role model. My story shows you can be a director and work part-time. I love working four days – when I get to Wednesday, my non-working day, I can take time to decompress and run around the park with the kids. If I was worried about something on Tuesday, I’ll feel very different about it when I come back on Thursday.
People talk about women trying to ‘have it all’, which is a ridiculous notion in my view. What I like to think, is you choose your ‘all’ and everyone will have a different ‘all’. Having it all for me means I work four days, spend one day with my kids, and enjoy my morning workouts. Someone else’s ‘all’ might mean working three days a week, or five. The important thing is that if the job allows, Barclays will aim to support your choice when you’ve figured out what it is. Juggling work and family life takes planning and flexibility for when things change. It doesn’t happen by accident. And it’s our responsibility to show it can be done.”