Ndidi has been shortlisted for the 2020 Champion for Women Awards.
What does your job involve and how did your career path lead you there?
My job is about making sure that new clients of HSBC Private Banking in the UK and Channel Islands meet the requirements to become clients, and continue to do so throughout their time with us – not just from a financial perspective but from a regulatory, risk and reputational one, too. We need to make sure we are doing the right business with the right people, and that we have the documentation to prove it. I have been in this role for over a year after 14 years in Compliance. Compliance has always fascinated me. I love the combination of interpreting rules and requirements and working out what their impact will be, while also keeping commercial considerations in mind. However, in 2019 I was ready for a change in my career and wanted the opportunity to lead a big team whilst harnessing my prior Compliance background and experience from the different banks (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and UBS) I had worked for.
You are a mentor, what advice do you have for others on being a good mentor?
At its core, being a good mentor is about being a trusted advisor. It can mean a lot of different things, but it all boils down to making yourself available to support and advise someone when they need it, delivering that support in a way that makes sense to them, keeping that person’s best interests in mind. A mentor/mentee relationship can last for years, or it can last one coffee date. When you mentor someone long-term, you really get to know and understand their personality and goals, which can set you up to offer richer, more relevant advice over time. For me, there are four ingredients to being a good mentor; i) take a genuine interest in your mentee as a person, ii) know how to listen; iii) be really forthcoming about mistakes/failures you’ve made as it gives the mentee permission to share their own mistakes and builds trust, and iv) celebrate their achievements.
You are clearly passionate about D&I, what experiences did you have that made you realise you needed to actively try to make changes?
In addition to my day-to-day job, I’m co-chair of the Private Bank UK Balance committee (an employee resource group that focuses on improving gender diversity) and a member of the Private Bank’s EMEA D&I committee. I grew up in a single-parent family. My mum was a strong-willed woman who made it clear to me that I could do whatever I wanted in life, regardless of my gender or ethnicity. As I have progressed in my career, the reality is that there isn’t enough diversity in senior roles in our industry. Representation is important. As a result, championing diversity and being a role model was always very important to me. Engendering my mantra to being the change I want to see in the world, I use my voice, network and profile to champion those changes.
What has been the greatest challenge of your career?
If I am candid, it would be some of the unconscious and conscious bias I have faced as I have progressed in my career and between organisations. It is something we historically do not openly discuss but it is there. There is more we need to do in our industry to harness the power of cultural diversity by creating an inclusive workplace and eradicating the bias. We need to have more conversations about diversity and do more. As part of this we need to ensure that leadership within Banking & Finance feel comfortable talking about diversity and knowing we still have a way to go.
You volunteer with icanyoucantoo, what does that involve?
icanyoucantoo, is a grassroots organisation focused on creating better future work prospects and outcomes for non-privileged young people. I met the founder, Nilesh Dosa, following a HSBC Private Banking Balance event and I have been passionate about volunteering with icanyoucantoo ever since. Having grown up in a single-parent family and on a council estate myself, I understand some of the challenges young adults face and I am determined to change the narrative faced by too many youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds. I did not start from a place of privilege and growing up I often heard that I have to work “twice as hard” and be “twice as good” just to be in the game. Although some may say that I have forged a successful 15-year career in banking, it has not been easy as I have experienced bias along the way, but I have stayed focused and worked hard. Using my skills, insight and empathy, I volunteer with the hope of influencing change as well as being a positive and authentic role model for these young adults. My volunteering has included - attending presentation skills workshops, being a panellist on banking career discussions, sharing insights about my journey and acting as a mentor and sounding board.
I am determined to continue levelling the playing field and changing the narrative to ensure that talented, driven and ambitious youth have a clear pathway to success and are not held back by their circumstances and their own limiting beliefs.
Finally, what is your happiest memory in your career?
Two spring to mind. The first would be a 3 month secondment I completed in 2018 in HSBC Private Banking Singapore. I have always loved Asia so the opportunity to complete a secondment in a country I loved visiting on my travels was amazing. I was able to work with a new team and in a different culture. In addition, as an avid traveller, I was able to visit 5 other countries during my time in Asia. The other happy career highlight is leading my current team; I have gone from leading a 3-person team to circa 30 people. It is a great experience because I believe I thrive and am at my best when managing and leading people. Seeing them empowered which results in more proactivity and productivity motivates me.