Hermione has been instrumental in bringing multiple initiatives to KPMG’s financial services team, including ‘FS Connections’ and ‘Employee Appreciation Week’. Hermione also champions well-being causes in the wider community and having previously run a marathon for Mind, the mental health charity, she is currently campaigning to become an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.
She has been shortlisted for the 2020 WIBF Future Leader Award.
Can you tell us about your career path so far, how did you get into banking?
My path into the industry was a little unconventional, starting with my education. I studied geography, specialising in glaciology and climate change and despite prevailing wisdom, I did not want to become a geography teacher! Beyond that, I had no idea what career to pursue.
After graduating, I bought myself some thinking time while working as a freelance stable jockey for various equestrian yards, which included working with members of Team GB (past and present) and Team Japan.
While reflecting on my choices at university and career to follow, one theme that I could identify was a strong desire to seek variety. I decided to extend that philosophy, and nothing promised more variety than management consulting in the fast-paced banking industry! I joined KPMG’s banking transformation team in 2016 and continue to be fascinated by the complexity, scale and pace the industry offers.
You played a role in bringing ‘Employee Appreciation Week’ (EAW) to KPMG’s UK-wide FS team, can you tell us more about that initiative?
Pioneered by my friend and mentor at KPMG, EAW was set up to encourage and facilitate a universal ‘thank you’ for the achievements of colleagues across the Financial Services (FS) team. While the concept was simple, with more than 4,000 colleagues across our UK offices to reach, making it happen was not!
The primary feature of the week was employee-to-employee nominations of appreciation, with colleagues thanking one another for everything from coffee rounds to long lasting career support. Each nomination was then automatically entered into a raffle with a daily prize draw. We also distributed rewards to all FS employees each day, released videos from the leadership team and ran a celebratory event, all supported by our bespoke mobile app.
The week was a huge success. It generated over 5,000 nominations of appreciation between colleagues and has since secured its place as a regular feature in KPMG’s FS calendar. It was a lot of fun to organise with the team and extremely rewarding to scroll through the app and witness all the nominations between colleagues.
You led a multi-workstream graduate experience programme at KPMG, what did this involve?
I had some brilliant opportunities as a graduate and I’m so grateful to the colleagues and clients who helped make that happen. I wanted to enhance the experience of the three-year scheme for graduates across our team and that is exactly what our programme set out to achieve.
Inspired by customer journey methodology, we started by running a series of workshops to map the end-to-end graduate journey and identify the ‘pain’ and ‘gain’ points. We analysed the outputs from these workshops to derive the key themes before setting up several workstreams across learning, development and the community. One of the key outcomes from this was designing and delivering a one-week ‘banking booster’ course, providing graduates with a solid understanding of the industry and an all-important opportunity to connect and share knowledge with their cohort.
You are running a campaign to become Ambassador for ‘Women supporting Women’ (WSW) within The Prince’s Trust, can you tell us more about that?
I first heard about WSW - a programme committed to changing the lives of the young women at The Prince’s Trust - about six months ago. It’s a fantastic initiative that helps to nurture, empower and inspire women to build their future through education and career progression; ensuring that their opportunities to succeed are not predetermined by circumstance.
I immediately felt I wanted to support the cause and started planning a fundraising campaign, ultimately aiming to become an ambassador. My original plan was to run a series of spin classes at my local studio but, needless to say, that was derailed by COVID-19!
Mindful that charities need our help now more than ever, I decided to tap into the nation’s lockdown-induced passion for baking instead, launching a virtual bake, donate and nominate fundraising challenge called ‘Bake a Difference’.
My fundraising efforts are ongoing. Becoming an ambassador would be a great honour and, if successful, I plan to use it as a platform to encourage more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter the world of banking and finance. Watch this space!
What are your long-term goals?
I’d like to partner with banking clients to deliver large-scale transformation; helping them navigate the increasingly complex digital age we live in. To support this, I have started a data analytics apprenticeship. I don’t come from a technical background and so this is way outside of my comfort zone, but I’m very excited about the opportunities it might lead to.
On a personal level, my top three goals are to run a sub 3.5 hour marathon, buy a flat and spend more time with friends and family. I think it’s important to have ‘life goals’ as well as career goals and working towards them helps to keep me balanced.
If you were stuck in a lift with three people, who would you want them to be and why?
I should probably choose three world-class lift engineers! In the spirit of the question though, I would choose:
1. Charlotte Dujardin: Niche choice so for those who don’t know, Charlotte is an elite British dressage rider. She was a triple gold medallist at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, is world champion and holds all three world records in her sport. Her achievements speak for themselves.
I follow equestrian and other sports quite closely. From the importance of having a good coach to developing the ability to bounce-back from failure, I believe there’s a lot we can learn from top athletes in the corporate world.
2. Michelle Obama: The former first lady has managed to build a legacy of empathy which is exactly the style of leadership I aspire to. I imagine she’d be calm in a crisis and would have some interesting pearls of wisdom to share.
3. David Attenborough: This man needs no introduction. If I closed my eyes and listened to him narrate his latest adventures, I have no doubt I’d forget that I was stuck in a lift!