Cristina Tamsa is Trade Finance Natural Resources Sector Head at Santander UK. Throughout her 9 year of work experience in Santander she has helped the Group as well as her colleagues break through the working capital solutions market.
Not only has she managed to secure important mandates across the globe for the organisation and grow the business by 30% globally and 50% YoY locally in the UK. She has also managed to secure a new business ground for Santander in Asia and win the 2014 Global Trade Review Award of the Year. She has been a panellist, a mentor, an assessor of the Intern and Graduate Programmes, guest speaker for women leadership programmes which have lead her to become a Relationship Manager with WIBF in 2018.
Cristina has been shortlisted for the Young Professional Award.
How does it feel to be nominated for our Young Professional Award?
I feel very honoured and grateful to the people who have strongly believed in my work: from my nominator to the WIBF committee as well as everyone who has been involved in the selection process.
It is an absolute privilege to be nominated together with such ambitious, talented and outstanding young professionals who act as a great source of inspiration for this category.
Your nominator said you have had an entrepreneurial mind from the very early stages of your career, where do you think this comes from and how do you use this in your role at Santander?
As I child I always liked to look at things outside of the box and create something new either from nothing or from objects/things I had around me. I also took the challenge to leave my home country without my parents or family with the age 16 and live abroad since then. This helped shape myself into the individual I am today as I had to place full reliance upon myself and take decisions accordingly.
The overall life experience has had a positive impact on my career as I am fortunate enough to be part of a very dynamic business unit within Santander with a great team spirit where no day and no two transactions are the same. The mix of clients’ complex requirements, banking regulation and economic environment puts my mind to work on a day to day to find solutions and support clients in their trade finance journey requirements. Regardless of the limitation we are facing I know there is always a way through dedication, hard work, team spirit, desire to learn and setting up a goal that everything is achievable
You volunteer for WIBF, can you tell us about your role and some of the events you have taken part in/attended?
I am fortunate enough to have been selected to work as a Relationship Manager for WIBF. As part of my role I act as an ambassador for the organisation and support corporate members to make the most of the their membership, help promote talent within their respective organisation and support their highly talented women to access trainings, events and initiatives that could aid to their professional development.
I have taken part in breakfast meetings, PEP, dinner and awards events and it they have been some really fulfilling experiences to see the amount of talent we have the industry, the progress members are making to address the gender diversity and the efforts being made by WIBF to take us where we are today and continue to be a supportive and inspiring platform for the financial industry with a track record since 1980.
Why do you think gendered awards are still so important?
We belong to an industry that is still highly male dominated and WIBF has worked very hard over the years together with the financial organisations and relevant bodies to help shape the gender balance. As such, these awards are a good reflection of the hard work and the talented women we have in the industry.
I am also a mother of a 3 year old girl and another on the way due in June, I would want to live the times to see my children and women continue to be recognised, appreciated and given the same level of opportunities regardless of the industry they are working in. Nevertheless, I am also a strong believer in meritocracy as we find a lot talented men and female individuals alike. However, a balanced gender diversity in an organisation can only enhance the progress of the same.
What is your favourite business book and why?
My favourite business book is Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne As most of what I do on a professional basis involves strategy, product, innovation it helped me shape the way I perceive things and come up with added value solutions to stay relevant to industry I work in.
It is a good read about successful companies and how they managed to write history over the years through the individuals that have led them The book is about not just thinking outside of the box but goes as far as to restructuring a market, creating value, innovation and competing in the way to find success and not to be afraid of failure.
If you were stuck in a lift with three people, who would you want them to be and why?
Those three key people would be Nadia Comaneci, Simona Halep and Mark Twain. The first two women I really I have a lot of respect for, as they have started from adverse childhood situations and they have been able to make history in their respective fields through hard work, dedication and passion for what they do.
I also chose Mark Twain, because I grew up with his books and to some extent reflects on my adventurous life. I am inspired by his ability to invent the Memory Builder and help children to make memorisation easier and add value beyond his actual profession.