Tell us a bit about yourself (company, your role, experience, etc..)
I am currently the Head of Banco Sabadell UK. I have been working for over 30 years now for the Financial Sector in Spain and the UK, first as Auditor in Arthur Andersen (that is a hint of my age!), afterwards in Argentaria, BBVA, Caja Madrid, Bankia, Lloyds Banking Group and Banco Sabadell, mainly in Finance roles.
From your perspective and/or your own experience, what are the main challenges and opportunities that women face in the workplace?
Women are required to prove that can lead (while it is almost “granted” for men), but then… easily can be “charged” of being too “aggressive”, so, for a woman, it is quite a challenge to achieve a balance between being assertive and not hesitating to make decisions, not being “mild” and being too “aggressive”. Women are different to men in lots of ways, and we have to demonstrate that we can lead in our own way, not just copying men’s “style”.
What do you think organisations should do in order to increase the presence of women in leadership positions?
Understand, accept and accomplish that the way a woman leads is somehow different (but not worse: it can be better) than the way a man usually does.
From the gender perspective, what initiatives have already been implemented by your organisation that you would like to point out?
Some years ago it was decided that each time there is a position to be covered, three candidates should be presented and, in each and every case, at least one of the three must be a woman.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Believe in yourself, and be true to yourself: aspire to be your best and do not try to be someone else.
In terms of gender equality, how do you imagine the world in 10 years’ time? What would be your ideal outcome?
Indeed… I am a little bit worried, as I currently think that hetero white males nowadays are the ones who are being discriminated. I honestly hope that the world achieve a fair balance as soon as possible. We are seeking for gender equality, but we should aspire to be fair: there are positions and roles where it would be fair to have more men than women and other where the fairest outcome could be to have more women than men. I believe in fairness. That could mean gender equality… or not. I think we are ashamed of a recent past of gender discrimination and sometimes we are (potentially) making the same mistakes… the other way round.