Hayley has a BA (Hons) in Economics from Simon Fraser University and an MSc Management from the London School of Economics. She has previously been a member of RWomen and is currently Co-Chair of RFuture UK, an employee resource group that aims to unite, develop and retain young talent, while giving them a voice within the organization.
Hayley has been nominated and shortlisted for the WIBF Young Professional Award.
Tell us about your day to day role:
My day-to-day role has two sides: sales and management. As a salesperson, I cover large institutional investors in the Nordics and Netherlands. I work closely with other sales, trading and desk strategy to build relationships with, and knowledge about, my investors, namely the criteria by which they invest and the factors that impact their investment decisions. In doing so, I am best positioned to propose ideas and solutions that will improve the quality of their portfolios and help them achieve greater returns, and be mutually beneficial for RBC. As a desk head, I have a team of three employees, all of whom are at very different stages in their careers and who require very different styles of management. I focus my efforts on building efficiency by encouraging teamwork, learning and knowledge sharing as well as empowering my team to use their individual strengths and styles to achieve their specific goals.
You are very much involved in the recruitment and development of young talent. What do you think is the key to encouraging more young women into traditionally male dominated sectors of the industry?
I believe in equal opportunity, not equal representation. The banking industry has some work to do on this, and I believe the solution is two-fold: empowering women to break into male-dominated sectors, and changing biases within the industry.
In terms of empowering women, strong female role models are key. So are initiatives like a school visit from Watford Girls School recently organized by RFuture where we exposed a class of Sixth Form students to a day in the life of an investment bank. Many of the students were not considering careers in banking but we later heard that the visit had opened their minds to the possibility. A speech from Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code really resonates with me. She argued that young boys are conditioned to be brave, and young women are conditioned to be perfect. As a society, if we can encourage women to be brave, we will see greater representation in all male-dominated industries.
When it comes to biases, a perception shift is required within the industry in order to increase diversity in all roles. Given people tend to favour candidates that are similar to them, some strategies that could help overcome biases and therefore change perceptions would be blanking out names on CVs and conducting blind interviews. One way RBC has been tackling this is by providing regular training on unconscious bias for all people managers.
When was a time you were out of your comfort zone and how did it ultimately help you?
The most exciting part of my job is that I am out of my comfort zone every day. Whether it is working to develop a relationship with a new account, working to develop a relationship with a new contact at an existing account, learning about credit fundamentals or a new asset class, trying to grow a new region or product, dealing with problems internally or externally, every day is different, challenging, and uncomfortable. Doing this job has helped me evolve remarkably as a person, probably most keenly in learning not to take things personally, becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable, in taking a systematic approach to resolving issues, and in learning that persistence drives results.
Who has been the most influential person in your career and why?
The most influential person in my career is my boss Janet Wilkinson, who is currently Co-Head of European FICC Sales. When Janet joined RBC over four years ago, I immediately recognized her as a powerful, professional and successful salesperson and leader. I was in trading at the time, but Janet saw something in me, and approached me about a career in sales. I was hesitant at first, as I was very attached to the idea of breaking barriers and becoming a successful trader. However, after offering me an opportunity I could not refuse, which was to build a Nordic Credit Sales franchise from scratch, I moved into sales.
This was the best career decision I could have ever made. Not only am I much happier in sales given the entrepreneurial nature of the job and the fulfilment from building a business from scratch, but I have had a front-row seat from which to watch and learn as Janet transformed RBC’s European Credit business. The opportunity she gave me to build the Nordic business; the tools, coaching and mentorship she gave me to succeed as both a salesperson and a manager; the sponsorship she has given me throughout the organization; and the human touch that she brings to the job every day are the reasons I am where I am today.
Do you use social media? Which is your favourite platform and why?
In fact I do not really use social media! Of course there are some extraordinary benefits of social media, but call me old fashioned, I tend to see the downside more than the upside. I worry that social media inhibits young people from interacting with others in person, contributes to mental health issues including anxiety and depression due to constant exposure to glamorized versions of the lives that people portray, exposes young people (unfortunately women more than men in my opinion!) to poor role models (not to name any names, but the Kardashians), polarizes world views as news and advertisements are targeted to pre-existing interests, and quite frankly, wastes time.
Tell us something about yourself you think people would find surprising?
I was an extremely competitive athlete when I was young, competing nationally in both gymnastics and diving. At the age of 12, I was in school part-time to accommodate my 30-hour per week gymnastics training schedule. A few years later I moved to diving, which I did all the way through university. The most surprising fact about my involvement in sports – I am 5’10” – and therefore would have been much better suited to sports like volleyball or basketball. When I was diving, I was the tallest diver in Canada, male or female!