There are opportunities for women to pursue successful career paths in the modern business landscape if they are clear about their aspirations and are prepared to adopt a positive approach to risk, according to the head of HSBC Bank’s USA operation who was in Jersey recently.
Irene Dorner, Group Managing Director, President and CEO of HSBC Bank USA, was in Jersey to talk to HSBC Bank staff on behalf of the Bank’s Women’s Development Association (WDA) and to coincide with the Bank’s ‘Diversity and Inclusion Awareness Month’. Over 110 male and female employees attended the talk, which took place on Monday 14th October at the Grand Jersey, with staff in Guernsey and the Isle of Man also joining the talk via video link-up.
Speaking about her career progression with HSBC, Irene, who was named the ‘Most Powerful Woman in Banking’ by American Banker magazine in 2012, explained how she started as an in-house lawyer before working for the Bank’s Treasury and Capital Markets business. She was then made responsible for the Bank’s branch network in the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, before being appointed Deputy Chairman and CEO of HSBC Bank Malaysia and eventually being asked to oversee the whole of HSBC’s USA operation. Her main message to staff was to have confidence in their abilities:
“In the past, career progression for women has been opportunistic and I have frequently found that women will put obstacles in their own way and count themselves out of a potential job move before even applying. However, there are real opportunities for women to progress in the careers they want and the roles they deserve.
“Adopting a different attitude and seeing change as a positive opportunity rather than a negative upheaval is one really important area that women should focus on. In addition, women shouldn’t be afraid of being direct and telling their managers clearly what they want to achieve career-wise. Bosses aren’t telepathic and being clear about job aspirations can help clear up any misunderstandings. In my experience, that sort of direct approach is welcomed by senior executives.
“Across all business sectors, it’s a cold hard fact that the career landscape is not a level playing field all the time, but every single policy HSBC has in place is geared towards embracing diversity, rewarding talent and making that playing field as level as possible. Ultimately, for a bank to be open to everyone makes very good commercial sense too.”
The Jersey branch of the Bank’s WDA was launched in 2009 and provides a forum for the discussion of issues affecting women in business today, specifically aiming to help empower female employees to reach their full potential, professionally and personally.
Introducing the event, Nick Winsor, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Channel Islands and Isle of Man, said:
“Over 50% of staff at HSBC are women and the WDA provides an excellent means for them – and their male colleagues – to understand different approaches to careers. In addition, drawing on the kind of issues affecting women helps us to focus our learning on other aspects of diversity in the workplace too, which is clearly to all of our advantage.”
HSBC’s WDA in Jersey organises regular workshops and events for its staff throughout the year, covering personal development topics such as body language, mentoring, career management and image in the workplace.
Category: Finance & Business