Francesca Lynch, Winner of WIBF's 2017 Young Professional Award is now Head of the EUR Corporates Credit Trading team at RBC. We spoke to her to ask her about her year since winning...
Francesca Lynch
Francesca Lynch
"I’m not sure I was quite prepared for the recognition that came with winning the award!"

You won last year’s Young Professional Award, what have you been up to since then?

Life’s been fairly busy but exciting! My day to day role has evolved further and I am now Head of the EUR Corporates Credit Trading team at RBC. For the last year I have been focused on retaining our top tier market position in Credit against an evolving regulatory landscape. I’ve also been busy with RFuture, RBC’s employee resource group that I Co-Chair. The group focuses on bridging the gap between current and future leaders and we have hosted a range of events from training sessions to mental health events to working with local girls’ schools to try to tackle the inclusion agenda.

What impact has winning the award had on you both professionally and personally?

To be honest I’m not sure I was quite prepared for the recognition that came with winning the award! I had emails from clients to Global Managers in North America to strangers on Linked In and the thing that struck me was just how far reaching the WIBF organisation is.

The award was the first external recognition of achievement I have received and to have it come from such a successful group of peers really meant a lot. The proudest part of winning the award was when I had interns or Academy students coming through the desk and asking about it – I hope one day one of my team will be collecting that same award!

The award has also had a great impact on my external network – 2017 was the launch of the WIBF Alumni network and I’ve been able to meet a variety of women from a range of backgrounds and industries.

Why do you think awards for women are still important?

It’s all about building awareness. The industry is making progress and a number of banks, including RBC have signed up to the WIFC, a pledge for gender balance in financial markets, which is a great step forward. The fact that these gender based awards need to exist however demonstrates that we still have a long road ahead to achieving the right balance. Organisations such as WIBF have been so instrumental in tackling the diversity agenda and are making huge progress across the industry. I hope one day that we no longer need to split awards by gender but for now I think it’s important to recognise success and promote the opportunities the industry has to offer for women‎.

Do you have any advice for young women just starting out in banking/finance?

It is down to all of us to help break down stereotypes. It is not solely the organisation’s responsibility for the under representation of women in financial markets. I would say expand your mind-set and don’t just choose the role you see other women doing. Ask yourself what the barriers are and how to overcome them. I believe our personal mindset is the most powerful tool in achieving this. Don’t always chose the safe option, work hard and continuously challenge the status quo.

What do you enjoy doing when not at work?

I love London for its food so when I am not in the office I can often be found exploring the food markets from Broadway Market in London Fields or Ropewalk/Maltby Street market in Bermondsey. For those brief days I need to escape London, I will be found challenging my husband to a round of golf.