Raising your profile with everywomanClub Member Angela Wakelin

Angela Wakelin Photo

Angela Wakelin’s career has been focused on transformation and her profile has been a significant factor. After starting her financial services career in a NatWest bank branch post-A levels, Angela had many different roles with the RBS Group, mainly in corporate banking. She moved to Santander in 2008 to help set up its corporate banking business as its Chief Operations Officer, and became Director of Product Oversight and Control. In 2012 Angela moved into the retail distribution division as Transformation Director responsible for managing key change programmes to ensure smooth transition to the new, customer-focused, multi-channel bank.

Angela enjoys the diverse cultural environment at Santander and was the inaugural Chair of its Women in Business network. Challenging the perceptions of the male-dominated world of banking, Angela Wakelin encapsulates this diverse cultural spirit. Here she talks about the importance of profile and how to raise it in the right way.

1. When, in your career, did you realise you needed to speak up and raise your profile?

When my boss recognised that I could do something beyond my current role. It gave me confidence to think, ‘yeah, I’m good at this.’  He believed in me. As a result my career has progressed far beyond what I imagined.  Recognition of your true worth gives you the ability to achieve your personal goals – it links to confidence.

2. Why do you think women avoid the opportunities to promote themselves and their abilities?

It’s definitely not a lack of ambition. However, perhaps some women worry about being seen as too confident and pushy and as a result, raising their profiles in a negative way.

3. Have you ever seen self-promotion done badly? Why was it bad?

I’ve seen numerous cases of people who are too focused on impressing people further up the line and constantly trying to profile themselves for things they would not ordinarily be recognised for. It’s equally important to know what you’re good at and to realise that you don’t have to be good at everything

4. How do you lobby your ideas?

I’m not afraid to feed something through, to test it with peers and the team and if it feels good, suggest it to a wider audience.  It’s about contributing, and that sometimes takes time.  We spend a lot of time at work and you need to care, to contribute, and to work out who the influencers are and develop good relationships with decision makers.

5. How do you build your alliances? 

Authenticity and leadership are a huge part of it.  Find some common ground with someone before lobbying them with your ideas in an attempt to get them on board.  Build some good personal relationships so that you have the confidence to share your thinking.

6. What piece of advice would you give your younger self about raising your profile?

I would develop my network earlier, and I would have my CV/profile at my fingertips, so it’s at hand when people ask for it – it’s surprising how often that happens.  Prove yourself by what you do – that way people can tell the substance you have.  You build up more armoury as you develop. However, relying on what people already know of you won’t always be enough so be ready to promote and profile yourself.


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