1. Can you tell us about your work experience journey? Has it been a linear path to reach your current position?
My route to the LME was a slightly unconventional one – I started (in 2012) as a temp in the research and analytics and market data departments. I had just finished my doctorate in Psychology and was starting to build up my client base, but needed to do something else to tide me over. Evidently I ended up loving it at the LME – I moved from a temp to a permanent employee in business development about a year after I started, and then moved into my current role as chief of staff for the LME Group about a year ago.
2. Have you worked with any mentors or coaches during your career? And do you mentor or coach anyone at the moment?
Coming from a psychology background, where the whole set-up is premised on supervision (be that with a peer or a manager), I appreciate the immense value of mentorship – it provides a different perspective, a sense of support, and source of advice – all of which assist with career progression. We recently signed up to the 30% Club mentoring scheme at the LME, as a first step, and one which I hope many more businesses will make – since mentorship should be, I think, an intrinsic part of corporate life.
3. Who is your most important role model?
I like to think I have a broad range of role models – which is important to ensure you can recognise and value diverse qualities both in yourself but also in others. I am still in touch with a couple of my supervisors from psychology, and have worked closely with our current CEO – Matthew Chamberlain – for the majority of my time at the LME, and I have certainly learnt a lot from him. I’m also pretty excited to have a new female chairman at the LME – Gay Huey Evans – who I think will be a role model for many people in our firm, and I know she’s a keen supporter of fostering greater diversity in the finance and commodities markets.
4. How did you know you wanted to work for an exchange or CCP? Was this always a career aspiration?
I didn’t know I wanted to work for an exchange until I turned up as a temp one day! But I quickly learnt that working for exchanges and CCPs offers the best of the financial sector. The LME – and I think it’s likely similar at other FMIs – is more diverse in terms of employee experience and background than I had imagined (I mean they hired me for a start!) and so culturally richer than I had expected it to be. This makes sense in a market like ours which is financial but firmly based in the physical industry – so the kind of challenges and opportunities we face are varied and often rooted in the real world. So, for example, I now have a good understanding of how many doors an LME warehouse needs to have to meet daily load-out requirements!
5. What advice would you give to other women who want to develop their careers and gain leadership positions in financial services firms?
I would start by challenging the notion that your career should necessarily be linear – mine certainly has not been – because I really think there are lots of jobs and sectors that we can enjoy and thrive in – it’s about taking the opportunity when it arises as it may lead to unexpectedly good things! So I think it’s important to look out for opportunities and don’t talk yourself out of going for them because you fall short of your own expectations, or because you think you should wait to be asked. It’s no secret that women are less confident about self-promoting or putting ourselves forward for jobs or projects but confidence in others isn’t necessarily a sign of greater worthiness. So take a risk and guaranteed, you won’t regret it!