We Rise By Lifting Others

A proud South Londoner of Bangladeshi and Irish heritage, Joy Crookes is a multihyphenate artist shaped by a rich tapestry of influences. She’s a singer-songwriter and multi instrumentalist. In 2020, Joy made the prestigious BRITS Rising Star Award shortlist, as well as placing fourth on the BBC Sound Poll, and headlining ‘ones to watch’ lists from YouTube Music, Amazon Music, MTV Push, NME and beyond. Renowned for her live performances, Joy has played Glastonbury, BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Later…With Jools Holland, as well as selling out her own headline tours across the UK and Europe.

WOMEN IN FINANCE

Janet Henry

Janet Henry was appointed as HSBC’s Global Chief Economist in August 2015. She is a Governor of the UK’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Chief Economists Community.

"I was so happy when a man on my team, after becoming a father, asked me if he could go down to four and a half days a week. Once men start taking on more flexible arrangements, there will be less stigma attached when women ask for those flexibilities. The more flexibility, the more women can be involved at senior levels."

JANET HENRY

Sponsor Janet Henry HSBC for The Female Lead by Sane Seven small.jpg

I grew up in Bristol and lived there until I was 18. I came from quite a traditional family and both of my parents were Irish immigrants. My mother stopped working when she had her first child and my father worked in the building industry. 

 

At school, I was very sporty, loved all activities like drama and debating and had many equally vocal friends. I was ambitious and always wanted to explore and see the world. When I was a teenager I really wanted to work in television. I didn't really know what I wanted to do but I knew It needed to be interesting and involve travelling.

 

I studied Economics at UCL and after graduation my ambition was to be a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times. My first job was with the Economics Intelligence Unit based in London but covering Asia. I started in a junior role, writing and learning more about economics and forecasting. I was transferred to Hong Kong in 1994 and eventually joined HSBC in 1996 where I worked as an Asian Economist in the run-up to, and aftermath of, the Asian crisis. A while after moving back to London I became HSBC’s Chief European Economist just in time for the Eurozone crisis. 

 

I am now HSBC’s Global Chief Economist which means I run a team of about 35 economists around the world, including the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. My role in economics research is always evolving. No matter how much you know about the subject, there is always something new to learn. Every time I think I've been there, seen that, done that, I'm always taken by surprise when something else happens that we could never have imagined. 

Economics has long been a male-dominated field. Slowly but surely, that’s finally starting to change. Financial organisations are now making a much more concerted effort to hire more women in this industry.

Greater diversity leads to better decision making and women are a critical part of that diversity, given that we make up half of the population. More women around the table result in a different type of conversation. The more diverse voices in the room results in greater consideration of a broader range of factors.

 

More women are now joining the financial sector. If you look at most banks you'll find the intake at the graduate level is almost 50/50 but the proportion is much lower at more senior levels. I was quite fortunate because in my first job my manager was a woman and her boss was a woman. Even the chief executive of the company was a woman. That was an incredibly formative start to my career as I never questioned whether women could hold very senior positions.

 

Over the last year, it has become a lot more acceptable for flexible working arrangements and many people are now working to a hybrid system with less rigid hours. This will be so beneficial for both women and men. A few years ago I was delighted when one of the men in my team, after becoming a new father, requested to work 4.5 days a week rather than 5. Once men start asking for and taking on more flexible working arrangements there will be a lot less stigma attached to it. 

 

If you want to do it, you can do it. Push yourself forward. I've been quite fortunate in my career working for managers who have really encouraged me to step up to the next level. That is not the same for all women. So don't think you have to wait for someone to offer you something. 

If you don't ask, the answer is always no. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want.