An interview with Sonia Soorma, Head of Customer Proposition
5 minute read
On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
International Women’s Day for me is all about looking back and celebrating the progress we have made, taking not just lessons but inspiration from history. It is a day to celebrate the women whose contributions have enabled today’s women to support each other and progress without limitations.
If you think back to the roles you have enjoyed the most in your career, what have been the key ingredients?
There are two key things:
People – getting to work with people with very different backgrounds and experiences
means they bring a different perspective or a different way of thinking. I’ve always enjoyed this, as it has challenged and opened up my own ways of thinking and looking at things.
Variety is still the most enjoyable aspect for me. From working on our marketing strategy to looking at an interest rate modelling spreadsheet – no two days are the same. This is what I have enjoyed the most and it keeps my energy levels up.
What would you say to any young woman who is thinking about starting their career in the financial industry?
Be active about managing your career. Understand your job market well, and how it might be changing.
In both your current and future jobs, ensure there is a proportion of the job that is adding to your skills and knowledge. Whilst it is hugely important to ensure you have the right skill set when looking for a new role – so you can do your job confidently and well, you also want to make sure that your future job will continue to add to your development.
It’s a great way to ensure that your skills and experience remain relevant to what the market will demand – both now and in the future.
How have you convinced organisations to invest in you and your career?
The most valuable investment an organisation has made in me, is when I have been able to participate in or run a project or initiative; or supported taking a sideways or upwards secondment.
I have always actively looked for these opportunities, and if something has come up, I’ve actively approached senior management, and convinced them of the value, skills, knowledge or experience I will add.
Even if you are not the right person, the fact you’re proactively looking to get involved in things will say a lot about you. You’re more likely to be remembered for any future opportunities.
Is there a particular female figure that inspires you?
Recently, my nine year old daughter came home from school and was excited to have learned about Rosalind Franklin, a female chemist who made a significant contribution to the work on understanding DNA structure, but was only recently recognised for it.
It made me think about how far we have come as a society and how lucky we are to be part of this changing narrative.
I’m truly inspired and humbled by women who took and continue to take progressive steps to move us forward as a society.
Even today in 2020, we read so many articles about ‘first woman to’… take for example Capt. Rosie Wild and Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
Given we’re only in March, this looks to be another promising year!