Joanna Fielding, 1980 to 1987
What do you do now?
I am the Chief Financial Officer of Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited, living in Shanghai. I moved here 2 years ago shortly after we locally incorporated to support our accelerated business growth in what is our fastest growing market. Having said that, Standard Chartered Bank has had a continuous presence in China for over 150 years! Prior to this role I was based in Singapore for 3 years as CFO for SE Asia covering 8 countries, and before that was the first CFO for Global Technology & Operations and Group Head of Procurement and Vendor Management, based out of London & Singapore, but responsible for teams in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Dubai, Africa and London. I also worked in New York for 2 years from 1997-1999.
In addition to my line role, I am also a member of the Banks Executive Forum (the top 80 senior managers), and am Chair of the Groups Womens Council responsible for driving our gender diversity strategy across our 75,000 employees in more than 70 countries. In addition to gender diversity in the Workplace, we also focus on diversity in Customers and the Community, recognising that we have a responsibility as an organisation to Lead the Way in the markets in which we operate across Asia, Africa & the Middle East.
How did you get into this line of work?
After University (I did a BSc in Business Economics), I joined BT as a finance graduate trainee (I decided not to go via the audit route having had work experience in both practice and industry). I completed my CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualification, and moved into the financial services sector. I worked for several major UK and international banks including NatWest and RBS, before joining Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) 12 years ago. Obviously, I am very glad I did given that we are one of the few banks to come through the current financial crisis relatively unscathed, and with a continued record financial performance!
Has it been difficult in a traditionally mans world?
Financial Services is still very male dominated, particularly at senior management levels. In SCB about 20% of our senior managers are women, although that varies from country to country and across business units and functions. In the Finance Management Team, the ratio is less than 15%, but in the China Management Team, it is 40%!
Whilst at times it has undoubtedly been difficult and I have had to make trade-offs, the Bank is a very supportive organisation, and as you can see I have had some great opportunities to live and work in different cultures.
What does it take to be successful?
Hard work definitely and a commitment to always want to outperform. That doesnt necessarily mean to be overly competitive, but to always want to perform better for yourself. SCB is a strengths-based organisation, and my top strength is Maximiser, which means striving for great rather than good! Also, recognising that you can not achieve on your own so the ability to build and maintain relationships, whether it be with senior management or your junior team members, is critical. To truly achieve success, you need to enjoy what you do!
Any advice for Westholme girls today?
Learn from others, but dont try to be someone else – be true to yourself, and ensure you enjoy whatever career path you take.
Be adventurous I know that my life is richer having had the opportunity to work in a very diverse and multi-cultural organisation.