In my last position, Director at HSBC Global Banking & Markets, I headed a team supporting a highly successful, niche ‘originate to syndicate’ business: portfolio circa USD4billion. A market expert in specialised, technical asset documentation, business development support, structuring bespoke transactions, business flow & processes and stakeholders’ ‘go-to’ person. With proven leadership, communication, talent and performance management skills, I lead my team to increased productivity, consistently delivering outstanding results during 10 years of rapid business expansion, growth, re-structuring and development, all without increasing headcount by upskilling and implementing healthy, work-smart initiatives. My dynamic, high performing team held market reputation as ‘best on the street’ for outstanding efficiency and client service.
My lived mental ill-health experience was in my thirties. I’d suffered depression on/off for years, but then a series of personal life events and underlying issues, I suffered again. I thought I’d deal with it. Wearing a mask at work, I continued to be successful. I managed for about 2 years until being diagnosed with a life-threatening, stress/depression related illness. I slipped into suicidal depression. After another failed attempt, I went to my doctor. With anti-depressants and counselling, horrendously painful but I stuck with it, I overcame my demons. I was transformed! I didn’t expect that! So much so, I went on to train in my own time, to be a counsellor, to give-back to others what someone had done for me. I worked as a volunteer counsellor in my own time too. Later, I trained to be an NLP coach, NLP Master coach and recently Equine Assisted NLP practitioner coach, again, in my own time.
So, I’d been a mental health champion at HSBC for some time, appearing in articles, campaigns and internal media communications. After speaking at HSBC’s Time to Change launch event February 2015, I became mental health committee lead for its employee network for disability, mental health and carers. HSBC UK Bank COO invited me to join the Business Disability Steering Committee too, all extra curricula to my day job. I masterminded and organised numerous, varied activities and events showcasing actions, practical hints and tips on mental health. The network set up informal internal mental health awareness ‘drop-in’ sessions to continue the ‘time to talk’ theme. These proved successful and were rolled out across regions. I regularly spoke at internal events, eg Global ExCo’s, and featured in internal communications, e-newsletters and video interviews. All actions strategically aligned to driving the mental health/confidence agenda forward under the Time to Change pledge. The network also successfully campaigned for better organisational support signposting and line manager training.
I was a mentor under HSBC’s graduate mentoring programmes and participant in their recruiting graduates with disabilities schemes. I represented and spoke on behalf of HSBC at external events promoting corporate recruitment of graduates with disability, and disability confidence. I was also a disciplinary Hearing Manager for HR and ER. I hosted coaching circles for various business teams on performance enhancing ‘hints and tips’.
My way of being is ‘Keep things simple’, a ‘minimum input/maximum impact’ approach. I’m known for my unusual blend of the pragmatic with intuitive and for empowering and encouraging. So, the quote “Instruction does much but encouragement does everything” describes what I stand for.
I’ve invested heavily in myself and my motivation’s simple:
- To give-back to others what someone once did for me.
- To fully utilise my expertise in areas I’m passionate about.
- Do all I can to prevent others suffering as I did in my thirties.
I’m passionate about people’s ongoing growth and development, achievement, resilience, their ‘bounceback-ability’, to achieve, succeed and be the best they can be and be [mentally] healthy.