Tracy Watkinson is a COO and Program Director at Credit Suisse, and has worked across the City for the past 18 years delivering change programs at UBS, RBS, Barclays and Deutsche Bank after starting her career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a Management Consultant. She is also an experienced Non-Executive Director, and mum of a two year old boy and six year old girl.
Tracy has been nominated and shortlisted for WIBF’s Champion for Women Award.
Tell us about your day to day role
I have two main roles - I am the COO for the Service Company business in the UK, which consists of all staff and assets required to deliver critical services to material businesses outside of the UK. And I am a Program Director for Strategic Change projects ranging from organisation effectiveness to gender to Brexit. I also play a very active role in the European Women’s Network chairing two sub-committees for Women on Boards and External linkages, both networks and clients. Outside of Credit Suisse, I am Chair of the Board for England Handball, and a Director on the Board of British Handball, both Sporting National Governing Bodies.
You’ve been working on an investigation into how potential unconscious bias could be impacting female talent advancement in the organisation. Was there anything that has shocked or surprised you in the outcomes?
I’ve been impressed by how much support I’ve received to change global processes to mitigate for gender bias. It is great to have moved past the need to convince people of the business case for gender diversity, and instead be able to funnel all the energy into focused changes that will have a sustainable impact.
What is an essential quality of a successful manager?
Caring about your staff – taking the time to understand whether they are happy, what they enjoy doing and where they would like to go. Enabling staff to integrate their life and work, through flexible working, supporting the Real Returners program for women who have taken a career break, and encouraging shared parental leave. Ultimately creating an environment that allows all your staff to thrive.
What is your favourite business book and why?
What Works, Gender equality by design – by Iris Bohnet. Iris describes an insightful, practical and sustainable way of tackling gender diversity by changing processes, as opposed to trying to change how people behave (unconscious bias) or trying to “fix the women” (female training courses). Iris is a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Credit Suisse, and I’ve had the privilege of working closely with her on this topic.
Who has been the most influential person in your career and why?
Andy Gregson. I first worked for Andy at Deutsche Bank, and then he took me with him to RBS and then UBS. He is a great leader and a true sponsor, providing opportunities for me throughout my career. When I stopped working for him he became my go to mentor and sounding board for all career decisions, and is a good friend.
How do you like to unwind?
At the end of the working week I really enjoy going for a glass of wine with the team, and spending the time chatting about lives outside of work. At home I unwind by playing with my children, it can be surprisingly relaxing modelling play doh for an hour, and I’ve always loved a game of monopoly! Whilst that sounds tame I balance it by having a track car that is great fun racing around Brands Hatch.