How did you get started in your career?
I started a degree in Mathematics and in my final year when I lost my sight, I switched to start a BSc in Business IT in Bournemouth University. I have a passion for technology and its use to resolve problems and improve processes. This passion motivated me to secure a placement with IBM UK Ltd, one of the top technology consultancy organisations in the world, as a Business Analyst. My role involved training employees in locations across UK to use IBM business applications.
What attracted you to a career at J.P. Morgan?
After university, I wanted to work in a more challenging environment where technology is implemented to solve specifically challenging problems, like financial issues. I was attracted to J.P. Morgan’s investment in technology and strategic successful use of technology to be one of the top investment banks. I joined through the graduate programme in 2011 as a Business Systems Analyst supporting the bank’s major Global Custody application. My role involved capturing and translating business requirements into technical requirements, and stakeholder engagement (product, business and technology).
What are your typical daily responsibilities?
In 2013 I moved to join the Cash Processing Management technology team as a Business Systems Analyst mainly supporting systems that process our FX and standing instructions, as well as assisting with supporting cash accounting and management systems.
How do you manage your disability at work?
I am open about my disability and always state my requirements to be able to accomplish any task. I am also keen to try new things. This provides me with the opportunity to create work-arounds to solve problems and test my limitations. The team trusts me to highlight any tasks I have issues with and are happy to provide reasonable alternatives. For example, my role involves a lot of modelling and communication. My team are very supportive and take time to explain models or provide descriptive alternatives to ensure that I am engaged. I believe I manage my disability very well, as most of the stakeholders I communicate with are always surprised to know that I am blind when they meet me in person.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
When I applied to join the graduate programme, the recruiting team contacted me to gain a better understanding of what I required to participate in the interview and assessment process. Upon my success into the graduate programme, the recruiting team contacted me to ensure that I was provided with reasonable adjustments for the induction. They then handed over to occupational health and my line-manager, who worked with ‘Access To Work’ to ensure I had the right equipment. Since then my team has been supportive in providing equipment or work-arounds to overcome accessibility challenges.
How would you describe the culture at J.P. Morgan?
The J.P. Morgan diversity vision is that by using a disciplined, consistent, laser focus on our workforce and workplace, we will recruit, hire, retain, develop and promote the best talent–with an emphasis on underrepresented groups–to ensure our businesses can continue to grow and provide sustained value for our clients, customers, employees and shareholders. This makes our work environment very diverse and initiatives like the voluntary Business Resource Groups ensure that we are able to promote and improve the diverse culture.
I am co-chair of the UK chapter of a Business Resource Group aimed at providing advice and support to employees with disabilities and long-term illness or employees who are care givers. Evidence of the growth of the diverse culture in our group is demonstrated in our 2012-2013 membership increase by about 200%.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
- Be confident and open about your requirements
- Take on new challenges and test your limits
- Always remember you are an ambassador for other people with disabilities
- Live your life so that your story can be an inspiration to someone in future
- Never underestimate the power of networking both in and outside work