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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.


Zoë Knight

Zoë Knight is a Managing Director and Group Head of the HSBC Centre of Sustainable Finance. Zoë has advised global institutional investors on equity investing and climate change for over 20 years.


"The essence of never stopping learning and being curious about what's going on around you is so important. But always be true to yourself. Hold on to what you believe in and be true to your purpose and values"


Zoe Knight photo 2020.jpeg

I grew up in a tiny village in Somerset. When I was younger, I always wanted to travel the world. I loved learning about new cultures, the different ways that people lived and tried to explore as much as I could.


I was definitely an outdoorsy kid and loved taking part in team sports. I was in the athletics club and I was captain of the netball team. But I also worked hard, I enjoyed studying and solving problems. 


I left Somerset to study Economics at Bath University. I chose Bath as it had a placement year with the opportunity to go overseas. I ended up moving to Germany and working at an investment bank. I really enjoyed languages and was thrilled to continue learning German.


I had no idea about the Investment banking industry. After my placement year, I applied for so many graduate jobs, but I didn't get any. I had a lot of job rejections without any interviews. I kept positive, applying to more places and talking to lots of different people. Eventually I graduated, kept applying for loads of different jobs and ended up with a position in another investment bank as a research assistant.


At the beginning of my career I did a lot of portfolio management and equities related work, which I really enjoyed because I could use my Economics degree. But I knew I wanted to do something environmentally related. In 2006, the UK government started looking into the problems associated with climate change. This was a huge turning point for me and I am now tackling issues related to sustainability, with a focus on climate change.

I love so many aspects of my job. I get to work with really interesting people on life-changing topics. I get to be part of this conversation which is really important to solve. Before COVID I was travelling quite a lot to go and see clients or talk to governments about both what the UK is doing about climate and what other countries are doing. There is a huge sense of purpose, achievement and community. I get to meet so many people working behind the scenes on climate issues. They are the real unsung heroes and I feel grateful to be working in this space. 


In the early days of working in the city it was quite difficult to make your voice heard without over compensating by being over assertive or taking on a more confident persona. I'm glad we

are now seeing a more equal voice between men and women, especially with the graduates coming through. A lot of progress has been made, but there is still a lot of work to do in this area. 


The targets that are in place are a really good way of incentivising change. The work of the 30% club, who are taking action to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels, has really pushed for female representation and has broadened the pipeline of women at all levels of organisations. When I was starting out I used to be against the idea that you needed a target because I felt that everybody should be promoted on their own merit and there wasn't anything holding women back. 20 years on there are still barriers for women at all levels. We need to be making more conscious decisions and bring more women into the talent pool. And we need to make sure that everyone’s talents are being deployed in a way that energises and motivates them.


We still need a lot more women in senior positions in all industries. More women at senior levels will bring different perspectives. Everybody has a unique story of where they come from and what they have achieved. If you have diversity in that story, then you have a collection of viewpoints that can help you make better decisions. That wealth of knowledge together is so important. 


Make your own destiny. You have to own what you want. You have to work out a way that is going to get you there. Think about what drives you the most, what you are interested in, and what you are good at. Be really flexible in that pathway and be open to new opportunities. 


The best piece of advice I've ever received is to be true to yourself. Over the years I've realised that makes total sense. The only times when things have gone wrong, are when I've tried to do something differently to how I normally would, or to be a different person, and it's never really worked out.


Hold onto what you believe in and be true to your purpose and values.


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