Laura Barrowman is the Group Chief Information Officer at Credit Suisse, focusing on setting the direction for all of IT and ensuring the integrity of production environments within the bank’s control framework.
Laura Barrowman
Laura Barrowman
Credit Suisse

During her 25-year tenure at Credit Suisse, Laura has held many leadership positions in the various IT organizations. Most recently, she served as the Chief Technology Officer responsible for the firm’s technology infrastructure, while previously acting as Chief Information Officer for Technology Services. Also during her tenure at Credit Suisse, she led the Production & Shared Testing Services Group, and was formerly the Head of Information Technology for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

Laura has been shortlisted for the WIBF Award for Achievement.

How does it feel to be shortlisted for the Award for Achievement?

I was thrilled to be nominated – it is a huge honour. Especially since as a past WIBF winner herself in the Young Professional Award category, Amani, felt I was worthy of the nomination. I have been lucky enough to work with hugely talented professionals like Amani over my career and feel great pride at being able to pay it forward to the next generation of leaders, as I was so fortunate to benefit from so many helpful mentors and sponsors during my own career journey.

Your nominator Amani Kifflemarian described you as the perfect role model, who are your role models?

I have so very many role models across the industry and feel very lucky to have learned from some of the best managers and leaders. I think if I were to single out someone who I try to emulate, in message and in grace, Michelle Obama stands out. I think that her courage and persistence in driving a global female education agenda is admirable.

What aspect of your career are you most proud of?

I have always strived to address challenges head on – without overthinking if a particular request is part of my immediate work remit or not. If you contribute when asked and build relationships based on trust and commitment, you have a vast network to tap when you need support. I’m proud to say that I have a large network of trusted resources.

You mentor young women, what advice would you give to a woman looking for her first mentor?

Look outside your immediate purview. It’s easy to find someone in your direct path to tap – but that’s only likely to lead to more of the same work. If you seek variety and opportunities for growth, it’s better to select a mentor that represents your future interests so they can help to get you there.

You were a foundational member of Women Connect, can you tell us more about that and the motivation for getting involved?

As a technology leader, I don’t find being one of the only women in the room in top-level meetings to be an unusual occurrence. And after years of practice getting my voice heard in a crowded room, I seem to hold my own just fine. But having a community of senior women at the bank that can meet in an open forum without competing for the floor is refreshing – and frankly essential to helping move the needle toward greater gender balance at the bank, especially in tech.

Finally, how do you like to relax?

Before COVID-19 made us all rethink what it means to be social and what constitutes travel, I would have said theatre and family holidays. Now I find relaxation in simpler things, like dinners with my family and a stint on my newly beloved exercise bike. The relaxing part is, of course, when the cycling session ends!