Julie is responsible for leading the ongoing delivery of new and better ways to provide enterprise support across the Bank's business banking customer base, to help customers achieve their ambitions. Julie supports the Women in Business Accreditation Programme, endorsed by Chartered Banker and certified by everywoman, now held by over 400 Women in Business Specialist Relationship Managers.
Julie Baker
Julie Baker

She acts as an Enterprise ambassador, enhancing the profile of NatWest as the “Go To” Bank for diverse business segments through high visibility across external influencing forums, the media and Government. Julie also Chairs the Enterprise Board, co-chaired the Diversity & Inclusion Council at the British Bankers Association, and is an Associate Member of the Institute of Bankers.

Julie has been with NatWest for over 30 years and has a strong background in Business and Commercial roles, with extensive people leadership skills and a track record of building strong and effective teams. She is passionate about helping people fulfil their potential, and acts as mentor to a number of people to support their development and help them achieve their dreams and goal.

Julie has been shortlisted for the 2018 Champion for Women Award.

Tell us about your day to day role

I am responsible for leading the ongoing delivery of new and better ways to provide enterprise support across the Bank’s business banking customer base to help customers achieve their ambitions.

I work collaboratively with teams across the bank, strategic partners, social enterprises, and community and government organisations to address this ‘ambition gap’ by providing support and enterprise education to people across the UK at all stages of their business journeys, ensuring we also touch minority groups.

I lead a team of National Enterprise Managers and support the development of staff talent, confidence and market expertise across the team.Driving the development, communication and implementation of the Enterprise Strategy for Enterprise Education, Women in Business, Social Enterprise and BAME business owners, disabled entrepreneurs and ex-forces personnel, improving business success for those from all backgrounds.

Additionally, I chair the Women in Business All Party Parliamentary sub-group on Access to Finance and Co-chaired the BBA Diversity & Inclusion council.

You are a mentor to the next generation of female talent and encourage senior male colleagues to sponsor and mentor future female leaders. What are your tips on being a good mentor and a good mentee?

I am a great advocate of a mentor/mentee relationship and the benefits that it brings to both.

As a mentor I have found that it is key to make the mentee feel as ease; ensuring that they know that they are in a safe environment and help them feel comfortable and free to talk. Setting realistic goals and milestones throughout the relationship and reviewing them regularly to reflect on the outcomes. It is also vital to understand your mentees priorities at the outset and encourage ‘stretch’ tasks and risk taking.

As a mentee you drive the relationship, you establish your goals and set the agenda of each meeting. Sending this to your mentor prior to your meeting will ensure you both stay focussed. Make sure that you respect and utilise your mentor’s experiences and successes, it is a brilliant opportunity for you to access impartial guidance and support. I also advocate signposting my mentees to the right sponsors to support their career journey.

How does it feel to be on the WIBF Awards for Achievement Shortlist?

It is an honour and a privilege to be shortlisted for these prestigious awards! WIBF and these awards are so important as they demonstrate to the world of Banking and Finance the value of women in the sector and at the same time bring a sense of community and support, recognising and empowering women and demonstrating the valued service they contribute to both the sector and the country.

When was a time you were out of your comfort zone and how did it ultimately help you?

The phrase ’When you step outside your comfort zone is when the magic happens’ has certainly proved right for me. My first real test was when a job opportunity came up Offshore in the late 80’s. I didn’t apply first time round as I felt it was too far from my home in the Midlands. The second time around, having been told by my male boss in Lincoln I would never get the job I applied and was successful. I never looked back, completing my Banking exams whilst in Jersey, getting my first leadership role and at the age of 25 was one of the youngest leaders in Banking on the Island, and at that time the only female at NatWest in leadership.

I then had the opportunity to help other very talented females have the confidence to apply for more senior roles, and I am delighted today to see a far better gender balance in the Channel Islands. I had a great male sponsor who encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone on many occasions, including speaking opportunities and hosting some influential clients – this resulted in me gaining another promotion when I returned to the mainland. Whilst I was out there I also got married, had my daughter and encouraged a friend to set up the first child minding business on the Island so I could return to work!

If you could have one wish for the Banking & Finance industry what would it be?

My wish for the Banking and Finance industry would be to once again be looked upon by those we serve with trust and respect. How amazing would it be if all financial institutions offered a workplace and corporate culture demonstrating they care about social issues, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, are close to the communities they serve and their mission is to do good as well as make a profit.

Social and environmental goals should run alongside financial goals, and by helping to make the world a better place for all, companies will attract and retain the best talent and also attract more customers. We should be an industry that recognises and celebrates those that incorporate social good into their mission

Do you use social media? Which is your favourite platform and why?

I see social media as a must have in business. I use Twitter and Linked in for Business and love to share real time communications. I follow social media during my commute to pick up ideas and concepts, share expertise from those I follow with my followers, and connect with key influencers., and share with my network. I relish the bitesize pieces of content that you can always follow up on if you want to know more. It is a fabulous way of staying connected to your networks and follow what is happening in your market place, sector and community. Your digital persona is often what people see first in this digital age, so it is important to have a presence and support others that do too.