Anna is the Business Management Lead for Commercial & Business Banking Transformation at Lloyds Banking Group (LBG). Anna left Norway to study in the UK and after completing a MSc in Management Information Systems & Manufacturing in Bristol, Anna joined Lloyd’s Bank as a Business Analyst in year 2000.
Anna Helberg-Hansen
Anna Helberg-Hansen
Lloyds Banking Group

Since then, Anna has built high performing, diverse and engaged teams whilst successfully leading large scale change and operational services across Retail, Commercial and Insurance & Wealth as well as Risk, Finance and IT divisions within LBG in the UK and overseas. Anna is passionate about bringing more females into STEM roles and is a strong advocate for the broader inclusion and diversity agenda as a sponsor of emerging talent and women’s network within LBG. Anna lives in Bristol with her partner Nathan, and their 3 children Casper (12) and twin girls Ingrid & Ella (9).

Anna has been shortlisted for the 2019 Champion for Women Award.

How does it feel to be shortlisted for the Champion for Women Award?

I feel very proud because I am passionate about helping others achieve their aspirations; for everyone to have the opportunity to be the best they can be. Working for LBG, I have a fantastic platform to showcase the benefits of and drive activities that enable our organisation to be an inclusive workplace. This is a team game and I work with some amazing colleagues to organise events and initiatives with the aim to enhance gender diversity levels within the Group and the broader financial services and tech community in the South West. So a big thank you to the team for making it all happen.

Can you tell us about your career path that lead you to your current role?

I joined Lloyds Bank as a graduate with no career plan as such. I was planning to return to Norway after finishing university but as I was very much enjoying life in the UK, I applied for a role at Lloyds Bank, thinking I would stay for a year or two gaining international experience which would help me secure a job back in Oslo. Nineteen years later, I’m still at Lloyds Banking Group. I have always enjoyed learning, taking on more accountability and new challenges so my career path has naturally evolved. I have developed skills and industry knowledge through working in different business areas such as Corporate Banking and Insurance and by taking on stretching roles such as Programme Manager in Financial Markets and large leadership roles such as Head of IT Business Analysis, leading what was then the largest Business Analysis Practise in Europe, with 750 team members.

The key thread throughout my career has been to embrace change and to prioritise the people agenda. More recently, I have wanted to focus on the commercial side of running a business so my last role change took me from IT into Business Management, which I’m enjoying immensely.

You play a key part, as a Sponsor of the Emerging Talent community at Lloyd’s Banking Group in ensuring graduates and apprentices have the right support at the start of their careers. What do you think is the most important kind of support at this early stage?

Role modelling, mentoring and most importantly sponsoring are key differentiators in helping others develop their careeer paths. There is a need to “see it - to be it” and early on in my career I thought you had to be superwoman to be able to take on the senior roles. What I have learnt is that it is about making choices, not sacrifices, and to be open about what’s needed to make things work from both a work and home perspective.

Feedback also shows that the more I share about my personal career journey; what has worked as well, in addition to being open about the mistakes I have made, has helped de-mystify what’s expected of folks in senior roles. It is also important to be willing to share the need to test and learn and to have a go, even if you do not always get everything right first time. Having the opportunity to support those at the beginning of their career and to help create a safe environment for them to learn and develop in is very rewarding.

What motivates you to do what you do with regards for championing women?

Getting to know so many people from different cultures and backgrounds over the years has helped me understand and really value both the cultural and the commercial benefits of building and leading diverse teams. I champion the women (and girl) agenda even more since having daughters myself. I was brought up to believe in equal opportunities and my daughters think it’s normal for mums to work full time in “boss” jobs. From a broader society perspective, it is evident we still have plenty of opportunity to bring more females into STEM as well as increase the ratio of women in senior roles. Working in LBG I support school to work programmes, work experience students and the broader women agenda through targeted activities and interventions, all of which contributes towards improving focus on diversity.

What has been the hardest career decision you have had to make?

It is all about making choices; I turned down a trailblazing job in London when I returned to work from maternity leave after having my twin daughters. It would have been a game changing career move and I would have learnt so much but it was not the right time for us as a family. It was hard enough managing work life balance with three kids under three years old, let alone trying to add significant travel into the equation. Being clear on what’s important to me and my family and why, was the deciding factor.

If you could have any job in the world, (regardless of experience or qualifications!) what would it be?

I’m going off piste with this one, literally. I love skiing and being Norwegian, I learnt to ski at the same time as I learnt to walk. Living in the UK, I don’t get chance to go as often as I would like so if I could make a living skiing all day then that would be awesome!