How did you get started in your career and what drew you to the organisations you have worked for?
I had an interest in finance on the macro level and started considering actually working in finance after attending career and networking events at University. After a summer internship at Citi I went on to join the Citi Corporate Bank in 2012. What attracted me the most (and continues to attract me) was Citi’s international presence. It is completely normal that on any given day I would be dealing with people from 3-4 continents and my team is very diverse and international in and of itself.
How do you manage your disability at work?
Luckily there are only very few situations in which I actually require help. Since I don’t have a left hand a lot of people would ask me how I manage to type or use a computer. However, that is not a concern as I have learned it from the earliest age and am fairly fast with computers and still manage to also employ my left hand while typing (something I learned from early on). It can get tricky in other situations sometimes when I need to open doors whilst carrying things or when I need to open bottles but for that I would usually have my colleagues around to help. Because my disability is so visible I have no issues having to ‘disclose’ anything in the first place and frequently people offer help themselves.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
Citi offered me any help or adjustments that I might require but as mentioned above those were not really needed. I certainly always had the feeling though that if I needed help I could get it and that knowledge helped in and of itself.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
Be confident about your disability and use it as a strength rather than something that holds you back. This piece of advice sounds both hard and simple to implement at the same time yet we are lucky enough to be living in a time where especially the bigger companies are quite adapted, open and keen to support candidates as long as they have the skills to succeed in the job. Think about the challenges you had to overcome on the way and the perspectives you have learned. Just by being here you have demonstrated a degree of persistence which many other candidates will struggle to prove. Don’t be shy to use your story, whatever it may be. Be relaxed, open and confident without over or underplaying anything and you will be absolutely fine whatever your fears may be.
What has been your proudest moment since starting work?
After only 3 years at Citi I am now working in a position in the team of one of the top Citi risk executives. In that position I do not just get to work on some of Citi’s largest transactions worldwide but I am also involved in strategic projects around the world which are usually far above my perceived level of seniority. The proudest moments then are when senior Citi executives call me to ask for my view or advice on certain policy issues on which I am somewhat of an expert by now.
What has been the most challenging part of your job and how have you overcome it?
I come from a non-finance, non-technical background and while I have a big interest and passion in business and economics I was not trained in any shape or form for working in finance before starting my internal training at Citi. To overcome this knowledge and experience gap was tricky at first and for perhaps the first 6 months I felt that I was asking more for help then I was actually working. What I did was to focus on my existing strengths (analytics, attention to details…) and also asking all those questions and finding the right people to whom to address them. It paid off eventually and particularly asking the questions was probably the key element which helped me to overcome an initially challenging time.