Women can do it all
Balance – the ancient art of even distribution to ensure steady positioning. Raise your hand if you are managing to balance the many elements of your life right now … Anyone in the back there? … No? Me neither. “Combining work, study and life balance is difficult, but doable,” Jemima admits. RBA Wonder Women live by this mantra whilst being at the heart of the family, sailing through exams and remaining driven at work.
Muthoni is a champion multi-tasker, combining studies and family: “I hope that I will be a role model to my children (especially my two daughters), who will see that learning doesn’t have to stop.” After successfully passing RB I and II with distinction, Muthoni is proud to show her children her achievements, hoping to inspire them “to strive for excellence in everything they pursue”.
The challenge of balance can be seen as an opportunity, as Meg points out: “The more responsibilities I have had to shoulder, the more I have discovered my abilities and capabilities to improve.”
Building a legacy
In an industry plagued with naughty banker headlines, our Wonder Women want to make their mark by fighting the good fight. Ola puts it simply: “I would like to be known for my integrity and diligence. I live in a society begging for great services to teeming customers who are daily being brought into the mainstream banking services. Thus the need to secure the confidence of customers.” At the end of the day, isn’t that what it all comes down to? After all, ‘Ethics and Compliance’ is the first module every CRB studies.
“Behaving ethically, in a fully compliant way and with the customer in mind, not only will bring more business as a result of an increased level of trust, but will assure a long, healthy presence for traditional banking institutions.” We couldn’t agree with Brunilda more.
It is said that you never stand taller than when you are on your knees, and this couldn’t be truer for our RBA Wonder Women. When discussing set-backs and being overlooked Meg states, ‘There is always a lesson to learn from every experience and an opportunity to improve oneself’. Rebekah felt her voice was not as strong in business meetings, ‘I overcame this by making sure my voice was heard’. All of our Wonder Women have cited the support of their family in achieving greatness; Jemima stays motivated by her family and friends, Brunilda’ s family support her in all that she does and Druscilla takes inspiration from her husband.
If time travel existed…
Hindsight is a useful thing, so we tried to discover the blueprint for success. Ola suggests maximising your role: “Take advantage of every role you are given, learn as much as you can, seek additional responsibility and covet opportunities to attend professional training.” Develop a career strategy like Meg: “Take the time to identify what you want to do, what you’re happy and passionate about and then strategise how to get it.”
The sky is the limit for Druscilla: “Challenges will always come, but I will never quit.” Step out of your comfort zone like Muthoni: “Do not be afraid to approach people for help. Offer help to others. At all times, keep your head up. You should never feel intimidated by people older than you and should strive to build relationships with people of all ages and from all walks of life.”
Bridging the gap
Fact: Senior mentoring can fast-track career development. But with fewer female representatives in a variety of levels in retail banking, how do we bridge these gaps? Druscilla points out: “A woman should not see another woman as a competitor or a rival, but rather as a colleague that needs to be supported and empowered.” Muthoni agrees: “There is enough success for everyone. If one person becomes successful, it does not mean that the next person cannot be successful too.” The solution? Ola suggests it is the responsibility of every woman in a senior position to seek out and mentor the junior females in their organisation: “Some organisations formalise this process, but I believe informal mentoring adds the greatest value.”
Continuing education is critical
“It is never too later to start,” Rebekah points out. In recent years I myself returned to education, and what struck me at the ripe old age of 29 was that somewhere along the line I had lost my grip on critical thinking and the ability to analyse on multi-dimensional levels. Muthoni highlights that education challenges your mind and the way you think through issues: “It would be career limiting to think one way about an issue for several years.”
Aside from brain training, education makes you stand out. As Rebekah notes: “The world is becoming more competitive and advanced, particularly in finance, and education is key.” And above all, “education empowers you so that you can empower others”.
Meg also believes that as women we never walk alone: “We have a whole community that depends on us for all kinds of support and that is what makes us strong.” It is this sentiment that makes me confident and excited about the future of women in retail banking. There is a sisterhood of women who will always have your back. Fall down seven times, get up eight!