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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.


Rufaro Chiriseri

Rufaro Chiriseri is Director, Head of Fixed Income, British Isles, for RBC Wealth Management in the UK. She is an experienced Investment professional with a history of working in the financial services industry. She is skilled in Fixed Income Portfolio Management and Strategy for Wealth Management clients. Outside of the office Rufaro is Co-founder and Treasurer of K.U.K Alliance, a charity that was established in 2017 to advance health, education and empowerment in Zimbabwe.

"There’s quite frankly not enough women working in finance, and that needs to change. It’s important to bring people to the table with a broad spectrum of experiences, as the solutions to a problem will come from different angles. More importantly, having more diversity in an organisation means that certain issues will not be overlooked. It’s so important that you have people from different demographics represented."


Sponsor Rufaro Chiriseri RBC for The Female Lead by Sane Seven small.jpg

I was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and moved to Doncaster in Yorkshire when I was 12 with my mother and brother. I had an interesting childhood and lived a comfortable and happy life, sadly my father died when I was eight. 

The experience of losing my father changed the course of my life and shaped who I am today. Going through such a life-altering event such as that overwhelms you and you feel your future almost disappear - you have to rebuild your life without that person in it.

My mother is very supportive, and she played the role of both parents to me and my brother. She is a courageous and phenomenal woman. There was never an obstacle she could not overcome, and that has fed into how I am - I can challenge myself and be brave. 

When I was young I wanted to do many things – be a pilot or a surgeon but both involved many years of training! Then I wanted to study business law and then finally landed on a combination of economics, finance and maths. 

My role at RBC is to provide fixed income solutions and ideas for our clients – this covers strategy, implementation and managing investments. One of the things I love the most about my role is that I have opportunities to be innovative with solutions for clients. It is also very fulfilling to guide clients through their wealth journey to meet their investment objectives. My upbringing shaped the way I approach and make decisions as well as how I interact with people, so how I approach solutions is different as I have experienced two different cultures. Having people around the table that have had different experiences that have shaped their lives means their solutions can come from different angles. 

There are not enough women in finance. There needs to be more representation and a broad spectrum of experiences in the workplace. There was an interesting study that showed that female fund managers perform better than male fund managers – this may be because of their approach to taking on risk and their investment decision-making process. Hence why we need more than one voice in the room and diversity is key. Young women shouldn’t be put off by the numbers in the industry as institutions are looking to improve gender balance. Don’t let anyone limit what you can do. If you see a role you like, apply for it, even if you don’t fulfil every criterion on the description. You have to allow room for growth in the role.

Sometimes women do not seem as comfortable as men when talking about money – it may be the case that in some patriarchal societies, boys are given the responsibility to manage money at 

Young girls are seeing this dynamic and it feeds into a perception that promotes men being better with money than women. Later in life it may then be off-putting for women to speak to male wealth managers because the marketing is also usually directed at men and not women – another reason why it is important to have women in the industry to shift this. 

Around the time women start to have families, it seems to become more difficult for them to continue to progress in their careers. I would like to see more men taking advantage of similar leave provisions in relation to childcare so the majority of the leave is not left to the women. If parental leave is split then women could get back into work faster, hopefully helping with retention of talent in the industry. 

I am passionate about Zimbabwe and Africa, and I want to do more back home. I emigrated at an early age and didn’t get the chance to spend a lot of time in Zimbabwe – it has so much to offer both in terms of culture and nature. I was lucky to have a four-and-a-half-month sabbatical so I got to experience the country as an adult and speak more in my native language. I saw a lot of talented entrepreneurs there and I would like to utilise my investment expertise on the continent and direct capital to invest in those people and their ideas. 

I am one of the founders of a charity setup a few years ago called K.U.K Alliance  – the acronym K.U.K stands for “kudzidza - learning”, “utano - health” and “kuvaka - empowerment in my native language (Shona). It is very important for me to give back and as a team we recognise our privilege and we want to have a positive impact in Zimbabwe.  Our passion is to create and foster an environment that encourages enterprise and empowerment, actively searching for avenues to make a difference, igniting challenging conversations with our peers and to be accountable for Zimbabwe’s future. 

An educated individual will make healthier choices and ultimately be more empowered. I know I couldn’t be where I am without the level of education I have had, and I want others to have access to good quality education too. 

If I could give my teenage self any advice it would be 'don't let anyone define you; don't let anyone tell you that you can't do anything or that this is not your space'. I would also say 'stay true to yourself and do things you are truly passionate about'.

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