Sarah Deaves is known as an accomplished financial services chief executive, experienced in running complex, high profile organisations. She is often parachuted into turnaround and recovery situations. Sarah left RBS in June 2012 after restructuring the Private Banking & Advice businesses of RBS & NatWest. She was the first female Chief Executive of Coutts Bank, the UK’s leading private bank, and a former Managing Director of loan, mortgage and savings companies Lombard Direct and Direct Line Financial Services.
Here she explains the importance of having a personal brand built the natural way.
What would you say your personal brand says about you?
It says a lot about how I work with and lead people, and my integrity, trustworthiness and approachability.
Have you actively built your personal brand?
Not really – but I think I have become known for the things that I am good at, which is useful. Normally you are good at things you like doing. A personal brand is more to do with attributes that you can take with you throughout your career.
How important has your personal brand been to your career?
It has helped get me into places, because people don’t see me as someone who is going to slash and burn. They know that I am fair and that helps you to get cracking in a job quite quickly because people trust you. People have seen my approach as one that would fit the situation, time or place, because I am known for calming troubled waters.
How has your personal brand helped you when building your networks?
I’m fairly open, so people are willing to link with me regardless of grade, level and job function. If you don’t put up a barrier it helps you build bigger networks. Having worked at Coutts has helped in particular because it is a brand that people respond to.
Has your personal brand ever impacted on you negatively?
Not particularly, because being approachable means I don’t create distance. Although sometimes this style can be misconstrued as not being tough!