Margaret Kennedy, Regional Director from RBS on managing time and building strong networks


A typical day at work – what does it look like?

Diverse, engaging, demanding but most of all enjoyable are some of the words I would use to describe my days. As Regional Director at RBS I have responsibility for more than 120 members of staff, supporting 35,000 SMEs, ranging from Start-Up Businesses to established businesses turning over up to £2 million a year. Whilst I have a base in Glasgow, my role requires me to be out and about most of the time, conducting interactions with customers, staff, businesses, Stakeholders and local MPs/MSP’s.

What do you find most enjoyable about your role?

Interacting and working with people.  Our customers need to be at the heart of everything we do and seeing one of my team make a real difference to one of our customers fills me with immense pride.  If ever an adage was true this is it; “We succeed when our customers succeed”.  I am involved with the Prince’s Trust helping to support disadvantaged youngsters taking the brave leap of faith to becoming an entrepreneur.  I am also heavily involved in driving forward a business eco-system in Scotland bringing together key stakeholders from the Scottish business world, as well as linking with the Scottish government including a partnership in the Scottish Edge Fund, with a view to breathing new life in to the new business world throughout the country.

How long have you worked in the bank – has this always been where you have seen yourself working?

I joined RBS straight from school as a branch teller.  In addition to gaining my banking and other qualifications, I have gathered significant experience via a variety of banking roles, eventually leading to my current Senior Manager role.  

What role has personal motivation played in your career?

From an early age I’ve always believed in being the best in whatever I do. When I started working it was very much a man’s environment – so I’ve always had to stay personally motivated.  Through my own hard work and determination I have progressed through the ranks in RBS and have now got the personal experience and confidence to support and mentor individuals and businesses to achieve their aspirations. RBS has a wonderful diversity agenda now and I am extremely proud to lead on behalf of RBS.

Have you ever had to focus on your confidence at any point in order to grow your career?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have support and help from Focused Women’s Network.  A huge change has been seen in RBS recently where we are focussing on Thinking outside the Bank and this core value has meant working closely with MPs, MSPs and Business Enterprises to help develop entrepreneurialism throughout Scotland.  Whilst this collaboration is great for my personal profile it has meant I have had to hone my presentation skills.  I have received excellent support and coaching in this area which has allowed me to talk with confidence to large audiences around hot topics including Women in Business and the Scottish Business Eco-system drive. One of my first presentations was moderating a Panel discussion for Everywoman conference in Glasgow.  

Have you set yourself personal goals? Have you taken time out to review your goals?

Whilst my goals mainly focus around the development of my staff, there is one specific area for me personally which I have realised I have to develop.  The way customers conduct their banking is changing and so must we, to support customers in achieving their business ambitions. Customers tell us they want to spend less time on their banking and more time on what’s most important to them: successfully running their business.  This has led to a significant increase in the usage of Digital Banking and other interactive tools, like Social Media tools. I’ve realised I am lacking in social media skills – so I’ve decided I want to become more proficient in this area so have enlisted the support of some of my team to get me up to speed in the world of technology.  Also, I like my team to be one step ahead so I can showcase their achievements – this is why we chose the WIB accreditation programme – to shout about our achievements. The accreditation process of taking women out of their environment for specific training really helps to motivate them.

Do you use any tools to manage your time? If yes, please tell us what they are.

In order too fully support my team and also enhance our reputation through Thinking outside the Bank, I need to plan my diary in advance to ensure I am committing to meetings and events that are adding true value to my staff, our customers and profiling the fantastic work we are doing in breathing new life in to the new business world throughout Scotland. To achieve this successfully, a huge amount of praise must go out to my Personal Assistant, Irene Crawford, who effectively manages my diary.   I am also starting to see the benefits of using my iPad, being able to have a number of presentations at your fingertips is critical for success in my role.

When, in your career, did you realise it was important to have a strong network?

On joining the Business Banking channel I quickly realised that businesses and entrepreneurs are reliant on expert advice and support in order to succeed. It is so important for like-minded people to connect. Connectivity is not only applicable to businesses, it is also required on a personal level too. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a number of supporters and I want replicate this support and give something back to others. It was my goal to encourage more women to start businesses and in that respect I am very proud of our RBS network of Women in Business specialists who are the centres of excellence in their local communities, supporting female entrepreneurs and encouraging more women to set up in business. Our ‘Women in Business’ commitment is differentiating us from our competitors and underlines our commitment to do the right thing.



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