Joanna mentors female Technology graduates and sits on the Technology Change Engagement committee, delivering development workshops to colleagues. She mobilises management support for International Women’s Day and colleague nominations for external awards.
Joanna has been shortlisted for the Young Professional Award.
How does it feel to be shortlisted for our Young Professional Award?
I’m really excited and humbled to have been nominated for this Award – particularly given the standard of the other shortlisted nominees! It can be easy not to pause and reflect on your achievements, especially when you are focussed on hard work and delivery, but this whole experience has been a great chance for me to do just that. It’s also a testament to the support and opportunities I’ve been given by colleagues at Barclays since I joined in 2012.
Your role as Brexit Technology Programme Manager must be an interesting one with such uncertainty, can you tell us more about your job and how you deal with moving deadlines and potential outcomes?
Putting politics to one side for a moment, it has definitely been interesting working on such a topical programme – especially when the breaking news bulletins could result in last minute changes to your delivery plans! But ultimately, it’s been a really good example of why working closely as a programme team and having an agile mind-set is so vital to being able to quickly pivot to a different, pre-prepared plan. The main part of a project manager’s remit is to consider all possibilities and to mitigate the risks to ensure minimal impact to the business for which you’re delivering change. I’ve been working with the Clearing business which it has additional layers of complexity beyond the black/white decision of a soft or hard Brexit, so from the start we’ve been looking at how our technology can deliver as much optionality as possible without putting the business at risk. I hadn’t closely worked with this business before so it’s been a steep learning curve but I’ve learned so much from some fantastic and hugely experienced colleagues, and it’s been a brilliant springboard for me to push onto my next role.
How do people respond when you mention your job title?!
I think it actually helps explain to people outside of FS exactly what I am doing – whether they like it or not, everyone has heard of Brexit!
You are involved in mentoring, what have you learnt from doing this and what advice would you offer someone considering becoming a mentor?
The first bit of advice I would offer someone looking to become a mentor is to not underestimate the value of your experiences to someone else! It’s easy to take for granted a lot of the things we have learned and assimilated into our behaviours and decision-making (for example, the confidence that experience brings, or learning where to pick your battles) but being able to articulate that in an understandable way is really helpful for people starting out in their careers. Mentoring has helped me to reflect on my own experiences in the last 7 years at Barclays and to critically analyse the way I handled certain situations so that I can pass that information on - or perhaps advise acting differently!
What professional achievements are still on your to-do list?
I really enjoy being thrown in the deep end and learning new skills on the job, so for the next 3-5 years I plan to continue broadening my experience across product sets and businesses. I’d like to incorporate more commercial expertise into my repertoire so that’s something I’m bearing in mind, as well as formally leading a team as I find people development really fulfilling and I’m also looking to start a coding course. Beyond that I am interested in directing my career towards Chief of Staff and COO roles – however I am a big believer in making sure you recognise when the universe throws an opportunity at you that perhaps you hadn’t considered before, so that element of the unexpected is always exciting!
How do you think men can best support women with regards to gender equality?
Generally I think Financial Services today is really good at creating positive professional environments for women, particularly when I hear some of the behaviours my friends deal within other industries. Certainly I have been lucky enough to work for male leaders who are dedicated to thinking about gender equality differently, as well as getting involved in the employee networks within Barclays. The biggest thing leaders can do to keep pushing the dial on gender is to ensure its factored into every part of their decision-making processes, whether that is recruitment, development, or anywhere in-between. I have noticed that often, when we’re busy or under pressure, the importance of diversity becomes a ‘nice to have’ and this can set us back. Gender equality benefits the bottom line and all employees, so it’s in everyone’s interest to make sure it stays at the top of the agenda.
If you could take a month off to go travelling, where would you go and what would you see?
I’ve been lucky enough to do some amazing travelling in the last few years, but I have never been to South America! I’d love to see Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon rainforest, and or trek the Machu Picchu trail in Peru. My fiancé and I are currently trying to decide on a honeymoon destination and a road trip down the length of Chile is topping the list as we’d love to visit Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, as well as the vineyards further north around San Diego.