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Look back to look forward

When she was little, Lucy wanted to be a ballerina, a fashion designer and prime minister.

She was an only child to a single mum who worked in the NHS. They didn’t have much money, but that was never a measure of success. Having a positive impact on society and those around you was. 

She became a teacher with Teach First and worked at an education charity. But then she realised she could make an even greater impact by learning business skills – and went into consulting. 

She’s since set up our Better Banking team focusing on financial inclusion. And she’s now moved on to a new role as Deloitte’s UK Purpose lead. 

Lucy’s story is just one of the career journeys we share in our Five things that made me series, exploring how our senior leaders got to where they are now – in the hope it inspires people to get where they could be.

What ‘making it’ really means

There’s Katie. Her first job was at a greengrocer’s when she was 13. She didn’t have a burning desire to be an accountant. But she’s now been at the firm for over 25 years. And not one has been the same. She’s had various different roles. Leads our Women on Boards programme. And shares her experiences to help others manage their careers.

And Lara. She spent much of her childhood trying to fit in – with her mum’s Irish Catholic family alongside her dad’s Nigerian family. There weren’t many people like her in leadership positions at first. But she made partner. Built a new life in New York. And had baby Kairo.

There’s Matt. He came from an artistic family and learnt some powerful business lessons at John Lewis early in his career. He passes them on to his team now and tells them there’s no such thing as a setback – everything’s a learning experience.

And Shilpa. She was the only woman on her technology course at uni. Now she leads our award-winning Women in Technology network. Her advice? Look at your career as less ladder, more jungle gym.


Journeys, not destinations

All of the people we interviewed wouldn’t describe themselves as role models. But they are. They are all different in their backgrounds and experiences, but there’s something in each of their stories that we can relate to and apply to our own careers.  

You may not see yourself becoming a partner at Big Four firm. You may struggle with imposter syndrome. You may not see many people who look like you in your industry. In a few years, you’ll look back and be surprised at how far you’ve got – and how many people you’ve inspired along the way. 

For more stories, head to our Five things that made me homepage to explore the series.  

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