My Resources

Sophie Stowell

How did you get started in your career and what drew you to Barclays?

I got started in my career through a programme called Change100. Change100 is a programme set up by Leonard Cheshire Disability to offer disabled students paid internships. After applying to the programme, I received an internship offer at Barclays and worked there for 9 weeks in the summer of 2014. Following that I was offered a place on the graduate scheme starting in August 2015.

Having done a science degree at Cambridge University, I decide that I wanted a role that was quite analytical. I therefore applied for a strategic analytics role in Barclaycard for my first rotation on the graduate scheme. I am really enjoying doing analytics as I am a logical person who enjoys problem solving. I am also enjoying working for Barclays, as it gives me the opportunity to get involved with disability networks and support groups alongside my day job.

How do you manage your disability at work?

I am visually impaired and suffer with a condition that has caused the loss of my central vision. I am therefore unable to read normal sized print, recognise people or read signs. To manage my disability in the workplace I have a 27” screen on a monitor arm which allows me to see my display zoomed in and bring my screen closer when required. I also have large print stickers on my keyboard which assists with typing. In terms of not being able to read signs, I often require assistance when finding new places or meeting rooms in the building.

How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?

Barclays has helped me to do well at work by providing me with the equipment that I require.

I was also given the opportunity to tell my wider team about my disability and how it affects me. I found this incredibly valuable.

It helped my team to understand that I struggle to recognise them and encourage them to be more proactive about saying ‘hello’ to me. It also ensures that colleagues don’t think I am ignoring them in the office.

What advice or top tips would you offer?

If you are confident enough to talk about your disability to your team then I would highly recommend doing so. From my experience, people are very curious and inquisitive and want to understand, so it is good to have a conversation about it. My other piece of advice would be don’t hold back on asking for help and being specific about your requirement. Something related to your disability that seems obvious to you, may not be to others. For example, people know that I can’t see signs, yet when we go to coffee shops, people don’t initially realise that I can’t read the menu.

Once I ask for help, people are more than happy to accommodate but don’t assume they will remember or think about each unique situation and how it affects you – they need prompting!

How do you manage a work-life balance?

I find that having down time and enough sleep is really important for me, as I often find my eyes can get very sore. Therefore, whilst I love making plans in the evening to see friends, I also like to ensure that I have one evening a week to relax. On my other free evenings, I find that going to the gym is very therapeutic and stress relieving. I sit in an office all day, so it is nice to do something active in the evening. Fortunately, I have a personal trainer, as otherwise I would struggle to navigate the gym. For me, the ideal work-life balance involves a combination of spending time with friends and family, and allowing myself personal relaxation time and exercising.

What does the average weekend look like for you?

At the weekend, I like to spend a lot of time outdoors particularly after spending all week in an office. It is lovely to get some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful countryside. I also really enjoy visiting new places, both within the UK and further afield. I want to see as much of the world as possible before my eye sight deteriorates further. In particular I love visiting the sea-side. I find the sea very peaceful and relaxing. Sadly I am unable to drive, however I am very fortunate in that my boyfriend is happy to drive us all over the UK at the weekends, which allows us to explore lots of new places!

Sophie Stowell's photo

Sophie Stowell

Strategic Analyst

Year Joined / Path : 2015