HSBC BALANCE is the HSBC global employee resource group for gender. With 50,000 members in 44 markets and territories, 220 senior Ambassadors and over 1,000 global Advocates, they are striving to achieve gender equality at HSBC. Their purpose is to create the environment in which everyone has equal opportunity and choice with the belief that balance is better. They do this through supporting members and lobbying for change with senior leaders across the organisation.

The team has been shortlisted for the WIBF Team Diversity Award, Sam Cooper-Grey, Head Engagement and Commercialisation, Global Business Banking at HSBC and Co Chair of HSBC BALANCE tells us more about the team.

Sam has also been nominated for The WIBF Champion for Women Award.

Sam has always been a passionate advocate for gender diversity and as the global co-chair of HSBC BALANCE has led a network of over 50,000 members, advocates and senior ambassadors to create meaningful change and deliver the mission of gender balance being the norm at HSBC and across the financial services industry.

Sam has championed women throughout her career, not only through her leadership in BALANCE but also as a mentor. Her work within BALANCE and the business has enabled her to influence the business to change policies and procedures to improve gender balance and contributed to improved senior leadership in HSBC, as recently announced in the HSBC results, between 2012 and 2019 HSBC has increased its female senior leaders from 22% to 29.4% with a public commitment to be over 30% by 2020. Sam was announced as one of the Brummell Influential women of 2019 for her work with women within the gender agenda. She has a mantra of ‘be the change you want to see’ challenging all of her colleagues to step up and be counted to create a truly inclusive business for staff and customers.

How does it feel to be shortlisted for this award?

HSBC BALANCE is a global volunteer employee resource group supporting colleagues to improve the gender balance at HSBC so to be recognised for our work is amazing. Just being nominated is great recognition for all of the team members across the 44 countries and markets where we have committees.

Can you tell us more about the mission of HSBC BALANCE?

Our Mission is to support the recruitment, development and engagement of a gender-balanced workforce. HSBC BALANCE strives to achieve gender equality at HSBC and to create an environment in which everyone has equal opportunity and choice.

HSBC Coaching Circles was launched globally in 2019, what successes stories have come from that?

We were planning on taking the concept from the US to all Balance countries and markets in March 2020, but with everyone focussed on business continuity and the challenges of covid-19 we decided to focus instead on a ‘small’ proof of concept in Australia, China and Hong Kong. We’ve watched the 400 coachees and 40 coaches form strong bonds already, and create an environment in which colleagues can openly share their core values and career aspirations and build their networks across the Group. We’re now rolling out across the Americas, Asia, Europe and MENAT before the end of the year. All of this wouldn’t be possible without our amazing Eastside and Westside coaching circles crew and our senior leaders stepping up as coaches.

What gender equality issues do you think need to be tackled in the next year?

HSBC BALANCE celebrates its 10th Anniversary in October 2020 and we will be reflecting on our first decade and what the future holds - looking to understand even better the challenges our members face and how we can help to overcome these. Clearly as the post-pandemic ‘ new normal’ is established this will likely throw out new challenges for delivering gender equality - and our role as an employee resource group is to support them and highlight issues and enablers where we see potential for improvement across the organisation.

What have you learned as a team during this current working from home period?

The improved technology available across the business has enabled HSBC BALANCE to connect more effectively with its members. We have moved from face to face events, where attendance is limited to the space in the room, to global virtual events where space is unlimited. This has enabled us to connect better with our members, Ambassadors and Advocates, with us creating a series of events across a variety of topics to support our members during the global pandemic. Covid has accelerated the connectivity of our community across geographies and all levels of seniority across the bank, with Zoom being the ultimate ‘equaliser’ as a communication medium.

What are you personally looking forward to in 2021?

Personally, and I think alongside many people, I am looking forward to connecting face to face again with some of our BALANCE members and colleagues as we move to returning to the office. From a diversity perspective, I am interested in the impact of a new post-COVID working world and this will be a focus for BALANCE - how we can leverage what we have learnt to better support our people and drive the diversity agenda. From a BALANCE strategy perspective, we are focused on increasing male engagement in the gender diversity challenge and discussion supporting our members with continued skills development and career support.