In addition to being a Board member of CBI Alison is a Non-Executive Director of The Beatson Cancer Charity, a Board member of Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board. She held the position of Chair of CBI Scotland from September 2015 to September 2017.
Alison was recently recognised at the inaugural Scottish Women’s Awards, where she was named Scottish Corporate Leader of the Year 2017.
Alison McGregor has made it her personal mission to ‘support the growth of the Scottish Economy and its people’ and is a role model for females across the sector and beyond.
She has now been nominated and shortlisted for WIBF’s 2018 Award for Achievement.
Tell us about your day to day role
As CEO of HSBC Scotland, I am responsible for the Group in Scotland, with over 4000 employees across a range of businesses. In addition to responsibility for people, customers and shareholders I maintain the Group’s relationship with key external stakeholders and senior leaders with an interest and responsibility for supporting the growth of our economy. I am HSBC UK’s Business Sponsor for LGBT plus and Women on Boards. With this wide remit, every day is different and the variety makes the role hugely interesting. I am also fortunate to work for a company that values the contribution its leaders make in the wider world. In this respect I sit on the Board of the Confederation of British Industries (CBI), Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board, Beatson Cancer Charity and I am an advisor to the Glasgow University Business School. Each day, and in everything I do, I am conscious of my responsibility to help other women. The various responsibilities I have provides me with an amazing opportunity to do just that.
You’ve collaborated with the Scottish Government and Police Scotland about the eradication of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in Scotland, what can you tell us about that?
A young colleague in our Financial Crime Risk team associated her role directly with keeping society safe, which really resonated with me. I had just become aware of the extent to which human trafficking was taking place in Scotland and it really surprised me. I was engaged. My colleague, my team and I then got involved in trying to understand how we could help. This resulted in collaboration between Police Scotland, Scottish Government and HSBC and conversations with the First Minister. We continue to work on a number projects, with real people at the forefront of our minds.
How did you get into the banking and finance industry?
My entry into the sector was not planned. My intention was to become a Chartered Accountant but my father died suddenly when I was 15, my mum was 36 and my brothers only 8 and 9 years old. I made an immature decision to leave school and help support the family. I applied for a job at Bank of Scotland, got it and became an apprentice banker. I worked and studied for the next 5 years to continue my education and by that stage I was firmly a banker……….. not an accountant.
What is your most memorable lesson in terms of diversity and inclusion?
Everyone has blind spots, even those of us who know about unconscious bias. Figuring out your own blind spots is harder than pointing out others but to be a truly inclusive leader you need to be open to challenge and ready listen.
If you could have one wish for the Banking & Finance industry what would it be?
We get to a place where no-one ever has cause to doubt our integrity.
Do you have a word or phrase you probably use far too often?