David has led or co-organised over 30 events with over 2,500 registrations, receiving substantial positive feedback. Under his leadership the hugely popular Promotability Sessions has been attended by approximately 1,000 people. He manages looks after the EWN Mentoring scheme which matches over 100 people annually providing mostly female employees with more senior mentors from other people in the bank.
He has been shortlisted for the 2019 Champion for Women Award,
How does it feel to be nominated for our Champion for Women Award?
I am really delighted to be nominated and flattered that my efforts have been held in such high regard. There are so many people at Credit Suisse who are very active on the EMEA Women’s Network so to have my contribution noted in particular is fantastic.
Can you tell us about your career path that lead you to your current role?
After I left school, I was an au pair for a year before studying for a degree to be a primary school teacher. However, during the first year I realised that my vocation was not as strong as others on the course so I changed to a degree in Information and Library studies. This led to my first role in finance, working in the library at Deutsche Bank. I then moved into a research role in Accenture followed by a stint at a PR agency a few years later. However, with research roles in organisations becoming less in demand due to the internet, I decided to go back to University to do a Masters in Information Systems. This was followed by an IT role in a telecoms company during the day, and an evening job in the Credit Suisse library, purely with the aim of paying off my student debt. Whilst working in the library I discovered a full time Management Support role in Investment Banking and Capital Markets which really suited my skillset so I applied and thankfully got. I was in that role for eight years and wanted to move into a pure finance role so in 2014 I started studying CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountant) which I have now completed. I am now a Finance Operating Officer in the same business area.
As the only male on Credit Suisse’s European Women’s Network committee, does this give you any insight into how women feel when they are the only woman in the room?
I guess you could say that, however, I have only had positive experiences. In my experience, being the only male in such environments has been met with interest and intrigue more than anything. Being an au pair and studying to be a primary school teacher were very female dominated professions so my experience of being the only male on the committee is not new. I did experience the opposite whilst in my IT role in the telecommunications company where there was not a single woman in the department. Everyone was very nice but I struggled to keep up with the football conversations so I did feel a bit isolated at times as I couldn’t join in most of the office banter. For me this is a key factor of job enjoyment and also why I love an office environment that offers diversity of thought and conversation.
How do you think men can best support women with regards to equality?
Mentoring is a great way for men to support female employees coming up through the ranks. Men, particularly those in senior roles, should think about getting involved in any mentoring schemes their companies may have. By simply passing on the benefit of one’s own experience is a very powerful way to help others navigate their own career. Mentoring facilitates this flow of experience to reach further than just people’s own immediate networks. At Credit Suisse we have a European Women’s Network mentoring scheme which is open to all employees however we will be doing a push to encourage more male mentors to participate going forward.
If you could have one wish for the Banking & Finance industry what would it be?
From my own experience, I feel the industry could do more to encourage people without the traditional, academic backgrounds that there is a place for them with ample opportunities to professionally develop themselves whilst in role. Those who don’t excel in academia early on in their lives should not be disheartened to join and grow as part of this industry.
What was the first album you bought, and do you still listen to it?
It was Deep Sea Skiving by Bananarama. I probably play it a couple of times a year still. I am a pop obsessive and hold Bananarama on a very high pedestal!