Hannah, Bid Manager, tells us about her experience as part of the Barclays Gender Network.
I've always been one of the first to put my hand up and volunteer for new experiences. I love spinning multiple plates at once as I learn new skills, all while keeping my eyes open for the next opportunity. And there is plenty of room to grow for those that want to at Barclays. That's what I love about working here.
A lot has changed since I started my internship in 2017, that's for sure. But one thing's remained the same; I've been encouraged to dive in head-first and drive my own development from day one.
Setting Myself up for Success
During my internship, I attended an event run by the Barclays Gender Network, Win, where different members of the network came and spoke to the interns. I learned that once I joined the graduate scheme, I could become a member. And within my first month of starting full-time, that's what I did. Abisola Barber, Co-Chair of Win London's early careers workstream, stood up and welcomed us to the network. She was inspiring and I couldn't wait to get involved and help make a difference. Before I knew it, I'd been appointed as a Co-Head of Programme Development. Alongside my colleague, Will, I was tasked with exploring opportunities to help the network branch out and reach diverse students and graduates who might not have considered a career with Barclays.
Will and I put our heads together and developed the Barclays Career Kickstarter event. Our goal was to reach diverse students who didn't realise their skills could translate into a career at Barclays - for example, those who might have an Art or History degree. We wanted to show that regardless of your race, gender, cultural or academic background, there's room for you at Barclays. The event was a success, with 100 attendees. We were thrilled to welcome a majority female audience, high BAME representation and graduates from non-STEM backgrounds. Having arranged this event within six months of joining Win, Will and I couldn't wait to see what impact we could have next.
Taking Strides Forward from the Very Start
When I initially volunteered for Win, I had no idea how far this network would boost my development. Now, I'm Co-Chair for Win London's communications workstream. Following the event, I joined the team entrusted with reinstating the internal Win newsletter. Tackling this head-on, it quickly took off. Now, we manage a team of volunteers who work together to produce each new publication. Joining Win gave me opportunities I wouldn't have experienced within my day-to-day graduate position - never did I think I'd be managing a team in my first year.
Initially, it was a little daunting being given a management role so early on in my career, but I knew it was the next step for me. On the graduate programme here, you are exposed to multiple managers to teach you at least four different leadership styles. Learning these different approaches to management helped me to develop my own, and quickly taught me key leadership skills, which I'd observed in all four of my managers. I've stayed in contact with all my previous managers, and I know I can always reach out to them if I need guidance. I've also developed an unofficial mentoring relationship with Abisola. As she also holds a Co-Chair position in Win, and is a gender and diversity champion at Barclays, I can always turn to her for network-specific advice.
Developing my Skills and Knowledge, Every Day
Earlier this year, as a result of my participation with Win, I was invited to attend the House of Lords for Barclays' International Women's Day event. With an inspirational panel discussion between Baroness Karren Brady, John Amaechi and our Chairman, I gathered a wealth of knowledge that I took straight back to my role. My key takeaway was to always trust in my abilities and speak up when I have value to add, and I've reminded myself of this every day since the event.
Just a couple of years into my career and I'm eternally grateful for the opportunities I've had as a result of joining the Barclays Gender Network, and I'm proud to have achieved so much in such a short period of time. If I had to give a piece of advice to anyone joining Barclays it would be to stick your hand up and volunteer for everything you can. You never know where it might take you.