Sophie actively supports the women’s network “Breakthrough” at Lloyds Banking Group and is an Ambassador for the Women of the Future programme.
Sophie won WIBF’s 2016 Young Professional Award and took a place on our judging panel last year. She has recently taken up the voluntary role of Head of Partnerships for Women in Banking and Finance.
You won WIBF’s Young Professional award in 2016, what are the impacts of winning awards such as this?
It was such an honour to win the award – there were some amazing young women in the category and I really wasn’t expecting it. Winning the award has really helped me to raise my profile both inside and outside of my organisation. Since then, I’ve secured a promotion and taken on two different roles in the company, I’ve also taken up the position of Head of Partnerships for Women in Banking and Finance which I’m really excited about. The award has done a lot for my own personal confidence and given me a platform from which I’m able to reach out to and inspire others. I’ve been asked to speak at panel events and actively mentor other young women.
What are your favourite memories from the 2016 Awards Luncheon?
It’s always great to meet new, like minded, people – the Awards Luncheon is the perfect place for this! I enjoyed getting to know my fellow shortlisters and spending time with colleagues as passionate about the women’s agenda as I am. Nothing could have prepared me for hearing my name when the Young Professional Award was announced, I felt on a high for at least a few weeks following!
You were a judge for the WIBF Awards last year, what did you gain from that experience?
It was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. Every entry I rated was without doubt amazing, everybody deserved some form of recognition. I found the process inspiring and eye opening and loved reading about the experiences of others. It gave me something to aim towards for the future – particularly those entered into the Achievement award category!
Who are your role models? Is there one person who has championed your career?
As cheesy as it may sound, my Mam is my true role model when it comes to successful women. She completed a university degree later in life and is now a professional in the public sector. Both of my parents are extremely hard working and it’s definitely instilled that mentality in me.
In terms of a champion of my career, I’d have to say Leigh Smyth who won the Achievement Award the same year as I won the Young Professional. She has been a huge advocate of me and my ability within my organisation and has helped me to reach out and secure new opportunities. I wouldn’t be in the role I am today without her encouragement, support and open and honest feedback.
Can you tell us more about your role at Lloyds Banking group?
I’ve recently started a new job as Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Community Banks. This is a really fast paced role that gives me insight into decision making at a very senior level – I applied for this role to prepare me for the future and learn from some inspirational leaders in the business. Prior to that I worked as a Product Owner in our Transformation Division leading a piece of work around Digital Education. I was responsible for shaping and building a training programme to support all our Community Bank colleagues to develop their own digital capability and ability to talk to, and educate, customers about our digital offering. This is something I’m particularly passionate about having spent two years of my career working in Digital Inclusion, supporting some of the most vulnerable members of society to adopt digital and gain the benefits of being online.
What are your professional ambitions?
Ultimately, I’d like to be an MD and have responsibility for running my own business. I’m a people-oriented person and would love to be in a leadership role where I can inspire those around me and be in a position where I can make decisions that have a big, and positive, impact on others.
There is still time to make a nomination for the 2018 Awards for Achievements, please visit our Awards Page where you can find out more about the awards, how to nominate and book tickets for the Award Luncheon on 15th June.