Moving UP – one of my career 9 Situations…
Moving Up… I had 7 roles in nearly 14 years in Citi. This allowed me to move up the organisation much faster than my peers and evidenced my willingness to try new things, my flexibility and adaptability. It also set the precedent that I would be looking around after 2 or 3 years with any new boss.
I joined Citi having been a horse riding school instructor and manager for 6 years, and wanted to earn more money (I had just discovered shoes and bags). I was going for a Branch Supervisor role and my whole pitch was that running an office successfully was not hugely different from running a stable yard of 60 horses well. The Regional Director who interviewed me clearly thought so too and hired me.
The pivotal moment in my career was the role which would take me up three management levels not just one; as UK Sales and Management Training Manager. The UK HR Director had had the role posted on the internal job board for over 8 weeks, and no-one had applied. As there was an external hiring freeze on it meant he couldn’t go outside the organisation. I knew therefor that he was pretty desperate as the role was a significant facilitator of the growth plans; it had now become a ‘distress appointment’.
I approached him (always a ‘him’ in those days) and said I could do the job having come from the branch network myself and knew what was needed. He asked what had I done in my career that would give me the necessary skills to even be considered for the role as a training manager? I told him that I was a qualified trainer of people already – training people to ride horses. ‘Same principles, different product’. He was so shocked that he both interviewed me for the job, and hired me. Needless to say I was immensely grateful to him for taking the risk but it paid off extremely well for us both. It also set me on the path to become one of Citi’s first female European Vice Presidents.
Why did I leave? I was approached to help start up the UK’s first blue-chip mortgage securitisation business, First Mortgage Securities, by some Citi colleagues who had already left to join the FMS team…
Reflection: I was not conscious of being particularly ambitious; instead I had a great awareness of the opportunities around me. I have always had a thirst for learning new things, and this has been a key personal driver in my career and life.