Customer Outcomes Lead for Wealth and Personal Banking – HSBC
Becky is the Customer Outcomes Lead for Wealth and Personal Banking at HSBC. Beginning her journey at HSBC since graduating university, Becky was among the first members of the Balance Employee Resource Group when it was first launched at HSBC in the early 2000s. She is an active and passionate leader of the UK Ability Employee Resource Group, which provides a support network for colleagues with disabilities, neurodivergent colleagues and those with mental health struggles. Becky’s passion for driving inclusion extends from her role at HSBC, and she is committed to using her personal experiences to drive change for others
Becky’s career journey
I’ve been ‘team HSBC’ since I graduated from university. I started with a summer internship in 2007, and I remember immediately loving the people that I worked with – it was such a supportive community. Since then, I’ve done a variety of different roles, mostly in the wealth and personal banking space, including resource management, strategy and planning, digital conduct risk and now I’m leading a newly formed team focusing on Customer Outcomes. It basically means ‘doing the right things for our customers’!
Over the years I’ve developed a deep passion for our incredible network of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which has made me the person I am today. I was among the first members of the Balance ERG committee when it was first introduced at HSBC in the early 2000s. More recently, I’ve been an active committee member of the UK Ability ERG (which provides a support network for colleagues with physical health and disabilities, mental health, neurodiversity, and colleagues who are caring for others). Over the last 2 years, I have had the privilege of leading the Committee, along with two others. We are incredibly lucky to have the support from the top of the bank, and the dedication of our amazing Committee and members – which has meant we have been able to deliver so much change within the disability inclusion space that I’m so proud of.
When I look at my career so far, I’ve never done the same role twice, or in the same department. I’m always curious and always wanted to challenge myself to try new things. I love getting out of my comfort zone and taking that first step to draw on that blank page!
On their Role Models
My grandma. My parents weren’t always around when I was growing up, and my grandma was the one that I looked up to. Through her, I’ve learned to always question ‘why’. She taught me to be mindful that everybody has their own story and their own reasons for certain behaviors or actions. We can’t just project our own perspective onto someone else until we get to know them.
She also encouraged me to stand up for what is right. She grew up with little to no freedom of speech, and she was the one to push me to have my own voice and stand up for what I believe in, as well as standing up for others. She’s been my biggest supporter for me to ‘break away’, move to the UK at the age of 17 and finding my ‘dream’. Now, whenever I’m unsure of what to do, I would always ask myself, “What would my grandma do?”. Would she just ‘let it go’ or fight for what is right?
What’s important too is that she also had her own flaws – it’s not like she’s the perfect person. I remember growing up, if she liked someone, they could do no wrong in her eyes, and vice versa, once she forms some sort of negative judgment, it would be hard to undo that. I guess it’s made me realize, from an early age, that we human beings all have biases, and as long as you are willing to acknowledge this, you can choose to make a change.
“We human beings all have biases, and as long as you are willing to acknowledge this, you can choose to make a change..”
Risks and achievements
The biggest risk in my career was moving to a completely new area of the business, after coming back from maternity leave. I’d never worked in digital or risk management before, but the accessibility side of the work sparked my interest.
I remember meeting a colleague who was blind, and what a discovery it was for me to understand him and learn from his experience. The general assumption that he’d be reliant on Braille cannot be further away from reality, as he’d never used Braille. I’ve never met anyone more technically savvy than him, yet he was still facing some challenges when certain things were not designed with Accessibility in mind. As I got to understand more about disability inclusion and accessibility; and how it can positively impact people’s lives, it became more than just a day job. Over the last few years, with a lot of hard work across different teams and our amazing network, Ability UK ERG have been able to bring to life the meaning of Disability inclusion, more than ever before. The narrative moved from ‘because we had to’ to ‘because we want to’. We’ve changed hearts and minds.
I am so proud to be part of the Ability ERG. I was lucky to be part of a program of work throughout 2022 where Ability played a pivotal role in the recruitment of our new Meet and Greet team in our Birmingham head office. We worked closely with charities, local colleges, and other partners —together, advising on the process from recruitment and nurturing the candidates throughout, to onboarding and now in their day-to-day jobs. If you visit our Birmingham head office, you’ll see the amazing impact this has on everyone. It is life changing for these colleagues and their families, as some had faced many barriers to employment for years because of their disability.
Earlier this year, Ability UK were shortlisted in the Outstanding Disability Network category at the 2022 British Diversity Award. As I reflect over the last few years, we have grown so much as an Ability community (now home to six support groups!) and it’s all down to our amazing Committee, members, and the support from our Ability Executive sponsor. I personally have learned so much from the stories I’ve heard, and incredibly grateful for everyone who has patiently educated me, helped me grow, and made me a better person. Still a lot more to learn!
Advice to their 18-year-old self
“Stay YOU”. I’ve now come to realize that being different is okay, and I can be myself without fear of judgment, or worrying how I would, or would not ‘fit in’. How would one define ‘normal’ anyway because everybody is unique in their own way!
Navigating their career
Coming to the UK on my own when I was 17 and knowing very little about the culture has always made me open to new perspectives. I guess with the UK being my ‘second home’, experiencing that mix of cultures has also helped me to learn that you can’t make assumptions about people based on where they are from or where they live, because their lived experiences and the people they’ve met are not the same. Most people often don’t fit neatly into a box or under one label. Nobody is just one thing, it’s all those complex layers and life stories that make them the person they are.
The benefits of connecting globally
Connecting globally and having a naturally international perspective has made me more inquisitive and conscious, acknowledging that people think and act differently depending on their lived experiences, as well as the environment they are in.
For example, when in meetings, we can create a more inclusive environment for people who might be less vocal so that we can bring their perspectives into the discussion, but in a way that is comfortable for them. Some might not be comfortable speaking in front of others, so they might prefer to contribute through instant messages, via email, or in a quick one-on-one chat afterward. It’s important to think about how we can ensure everybody can bring their opinions to the table and be heard, rather than just letting the loudest voice dominate. Most importantly, is that they can do so without judgment. We all need to listen to understand, not to respond.
On debunking myths and misconceptions
I feel that most people still assume disability equals difficulty. With the advance of assistive technologies such as voice-over, live captioning, BeMy Eyes, and so on, it’s much less about the disability, but more about the environment that has not been set up or designed properly. We as human beings can achieve so much more than we ever thought we could. I remember seeing that the European Space Agency announced in 2022 they were proactively looking for people with disabilities to take part in space expeditions. Because in reality, “when it comes to space travel, we are all disabled” (ESA) – which makes it very interesting and inclusive to all!
“We as human beings can achieve so much more than we ever thought we could.”
Unique challenges and opportunities of driving inclusion
The UK is further along in its journey compared to some of the other countries that I’ve worked with in terms of disability inclusion; whether it’s in the regulation or in the sense that we do have a dedicated diversity and inclusion function. However, there’s a flip side to that: people can tend to assume that inclusion is solely the responsibility of D&I teams. Ironically, the word Inclusion starts with I – everybody should be taking proactive steps to learn and understand from those who aren’t like them, what it takes to feel included, and what does true belonging looks like. At HSBC UK, we talk about the 3Rs of Inclusion: Representation, Respect, and Reputation. We believe that if we put Inclusion first, then Diversity will follow.
Another area where the UK is different to some other countries is around data sharing and data collection. It can sometimes be a challenge when asking for resources or investment where you’re often asked to provide a business case, where you need the data to back it up. However, unless we can create a culture and mindset that proactively promotes disability inclusion so that everyone feels safe – it will not happen easily. It becomes like a chicken and egg problem. We all need that trust and understanding in what the data is being used for, and how that would impact us. I personally also don’t like the word ‘disclose’ – it makes us feel as if there is something we should be hiding. We’re making great progress, but still have a long way to go to truly normalize the conversation.
Practical advice for business leaders and allies
Organizations need to make disability inclusion a part of their DNA from the start of any and every process. Many times, disability inclusion or accessibility is treated as an ‘add-on’ at the end. If you build a new office, for example, you’re not going to wait until two days before it opens to add a lift and just hope that it works. You need to make sure the lift or an accessible option is considered from the very beginning of the design /architecture stage to building and testing and considering different needs of various user groups.
Secondly, it’s important not to make assumptions and to look beyond the labels. It should be less about the condition that someone has, and more about the adjustments and support they need. I remember someone who is blind, sharing a story with me: he had booked a flight to Heathrow Airport and had ticked a box to say he has a disability and requires additional support. When he got to the airport, an assistant arrived with a wheelchair. It wasn’t the wheelchair that he needed but there was no option for him to give further details. It’s as simple as asking someone what they need, and when they need it. It’s not always straightforward, but it’s about time we get comfortable with the uncomfortable.