I head EMEA Global Banking and Markets Technology (GBAMT). This is the team that provides end-to-end technology solutions and support for the firm’s clients across: Equities, Electronic Trading, Rates & Currencies, Credit & Structured Products, Commodities, Sales, Capital Markets, Global Markets Operations & Middle Office, Wholesale Banking, Research, Commercial, and Corporate & Investment Banking.
What is the most important initiative or challenge facing your organisation today? Why?
Regulatory programmes are a primary focus due to the significant changes to existing, and the introduction of new regulations over recent years. Some regulatory laws and rules require careful interpretation, which we do in partnership with our Risk colleagues. This work can sometimes impact our delivery timelines, and can also lead to sub-optimal solutions that require further investigation.
What is the best career advice you’ve received?
“Develop the skills you need for the next job you want, not the current one” and “don’t be afraid to take risks."
What does Diversity & Inclusion mean to you in your role?
To me diversity is so much more than gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We are all unique and when that diversity of background and thought is harnessed effectively it can have a great impact.
"Diversity is the intersection of so many traits – for example, I am a woman who works as a Financial Services Technologist; I have lived and worked on three continents, and my family has been impacted by disability."
For me, it’s important that we encourage and embrace the diversity of our teams; and that we create an environment where everyone is valued for who they are, and what they bring to the firm.
What advice, personal or professional, would you like to share with the readers?
I’ll share two pieces of advice which help me to keep perspective and progress in life – I’ve hit various challenges in both my personal and professional lives:
- “Don’t spend too much time reflecting on the past. Learn from it and then focus on what you need to do to keep going forward.”
“Leadership is similar to running a marathon. When things get difficult, keep sight of the goal and put one foot in front of the other.”
What do you do as a leader to create an inclusive culture to promote D&I every day in the company & community?
I co-lead D&I for both Global Banking & Markets Technology, and EMEA Technology & Operations. As such I try to ensure we have senior leader focus and programmes that that hire, retain and promote the talent within our organisation. I also focus on promoting an inclusive culture in our teams.
Quick Fire Round
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
The first was deciding to move to Asia after living in the UK for 12 years.
"I had just separated from my first husband and it was a big decision to move to a new continent away from my support network."
But career-wise the move made sense, and I had new flexibility that enabled me to pursue it.
Secondly, I would call out my move into Banking Technology after 20+ years in Markets Tech. Without taking that risk I would not have subsequently had the opportunity to cover GBAMT in EMEA.
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
When I was 15 I worked as a cashier at Stew Leonard’s farmers’ market in Connecticut. I continued to work there part-time during school breaks until I graduated university.
I worked in a variety of roles during my seven years with them including running a food truck, selling Christmas trees, managing their garden centre, working in their bakery, and on occasion, greeting customers dressed as their cow mascot!
The job taught me about the importance of Customer Focus, as one of their guiding operating principles was that the customer is always right (even when they are wrong).
What is another fact about yourself you’d like to share?
"In November 2017, I completed my seventh marathon in Athens."
My seven runs have been run over three decades (my personal record was in my 30s). I would say that November was last, but maybe I will tackle the distance again in my 50s.
Allison will be speaking at Women of Silicon Roundabout 2018 on the 26th and 27th June.