At an initial glance, it is difficult to link the roles Lisa and Audrey deliver in their day jobs: Lisa is a Director in Group Operations – Securities Settlements EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa); and Audrey is a Vice President in Front Office Market Risk Technology. However, when you find out that both work to contribute considerably to gender equality in Credit Suisse through their joint leadership of the bank’s EMEA Women’s Network, you can understand why Credit Suisse couldn’t choose.
At an initial glance, it is difficult to link the roles Audrey and Lisa deliver in their day jobs: Audrey is a Vice President in Front Office Market Risk Technology; and Lisa is a Director in Group Operations – Securities Settlements EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). However, when you find out that both work to contribute considerably to gender equality in Credit Suisse through their joint leadership of the bank’s EMEA Women’s Network, you can understand why Credit Suisse couldn’t choose.
Audrey is a role model for women through her hard work, positive enthusiastic attitude, self-motivation and determination. She is consistently passionate about developing and mentoring future female leaders both within and outside of the bank. Currently co-chair of EMEA Women’s Network, it’s a role she took up having already served as co-chair of the Credit Suisse female student engagement programme. Recently, Audrey also set up a social enterprise which provides mentoring to university students and graduates from socio-economically challenged backgrounds in Ghana, West Africa.
Born in East London, the fourth child to parents of the Windrush generation, Audrey attended a state primary and comprehensive school, followed by community college, studying a BTEC in business and IT. She sent over 60 hand-written job application letters and soon started her 25-year banking career in the City of London. Audrey has held a variety of roles in both retail and investment banking, from back office cash settlements through to her current role defining efficient and effective technical architectural solutions to provide the trade and reference data required to comply with regulatory requirements.
Audrey’s career journey has been interesting yet challenging. As a black single mother, working in a mainly male environment, she has often felt boxed into a stereotype. She has felt the need to continually expand her role to demonstrate her abilities. Despite consistently achieving all her goals and targets successfully, career recognition has been slower for her than many of her counterparts.
To combat this, she embarked on and successfully completed a part-time computer science degree over nine years of study. Again, however, she felt that this had not provided her with the recognition and opportunities she had hoped. Undeterred, she continued to develop and welcome the change in society and her organisation’s culture towards embracing the value that diversity brings to an organization. Diversity for Audrey (and many readers of her story) does not just focus on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. but also needs to encompass diversity in background and in thought.
In 2019, Audrey was recognised by WeAreTechWomen as one of the Top 100 Women in Technology, for increasing awareness of the importance of parity within technology. This was a real milestone in her career, which she celebrated not only because it was recognition of her hard work and tenacity, but also as she is a role model for her daughter, now 18 and heading off to university.
Audrey has always had a passion for empowering the next generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs. This support includes:
- Volunteering as a detached youth worker in North London
- Working in an orphanage for 6 months in Ghana, West Africa
- Co-chairing the Credit Suisse female student engagement program
- Co-chairing the Credit Suisse European Women’s Network, promoting gender parity within the organisation
During the 2020 coronavirus-prompted lockdown, in addition to her activities within Credit Suisse, Audrey created a social enterprise which provides mentoring to university students and graduates from socio-economically challenged backgrounds in Ghana, West Africa. Mentors are sourced from the black professional community consisting of women who are successful in their industry. The goal is to create a network of support for the mentors as well as support for the mentees to become future leaders and entrepreneurs.
Audrey’s motto is inspirational: “I believe that everyone has the unique ability to achieve what they are equipped to do, that we are all created with a purpose, a gift and a choice. Seek your purpose, open your gift and choose wisely”.
Any organisation would be proud to put forward Lisa as their role model. That Lisa is joined by Audrey on the podium is brilliant given how passionate Lisa is about advancing the gender agenda, taking proactive steps to lead, inspire and impact female advancement across Credit Suisse UK and globally.
As you read through Lisa’s list of achievements, it’s clear how much the advancement of gender equality means to Lisa – especially when you realise all of these activities are on top of her day job as a Director in Operations and Head of Securities Settlements for EMEA, with accountability, risk management and global of 200+ employees, processing high value/volume business.
In everything she does, Lisa ensures that women get the recognition they deserve. In co-chairing the EMEA Women’s Network (EWN), which boasts 3,000+ members, she has helped link the network’s objectives to the firm’s overall gender strategy to attract, develop and retain female talent. Lisa has successfully increased the engagement of senior management to sponsor and facilitate events and attendance by men and women at all levels.
In addition, Lisa is the creator and co-chair of Women Connect, which she launched in 2017 after identifying an opportunity to create a budget-free accessible network where women can operate in a confidential and safe space. She established Managing Director-hosted mentor circles and set up interactive speaker events and learning resources. The network spans nine locations, 700+ members and continues to expand. Participant feedback is that they feel empowered and confident to drive career discussions and influence changes.
Furthermore, Lisa chairs the Group Operations Diversity & Inclusion and People & Culture Committees, which both feed into the department’s strategic objectives. She also represents group operations on the UK Gender Working Group, which feeds into the UK CEO’s objectives to increase the number of females at all levels.
Lisa is a mother of three, who supports the head teacher at her children’s school by presenting on diversity in assemblies and influencing gender language in school reports and STEM GCSE choices for girls.
Lisa is a mentor to many and active sponsor for females going through the promotion process – an example of which is when Lisa successfully lobbied for funding to create a cross-divisional coaching program for females midway through their careers at vice president level. Participant feedback was that their confidence, network and sponsorship significantly increased, providing support through the director promotion process, with 100% success rate.
Given this CV, among other achievements, Lisa was recognised with a CEO Global Employee Award (out of 7,000 nominations), as a UK Culture Carrier and is a participant on the top talent Global Emerging Leaders Program.