Thu, 22 Sep 2022

Once again, the Women in Credit Awards are back to champion the work of incredible women across the credit and financial services industry — sharing stories of empowerment, support and uncovering the achievements among inspirational women.

Three of our brilliant colleagues were shortlisted for the awards! To mark the occasion, we caught up with our three finalists to find out about the work they have been doing to support women in the industry and how their award nominations have inspired their hopes for the future.

Tanya Gamble: Mentor of the Year Finalist

Ever since starting her career with us in 2016, Tanya has been a role model in self-development. With a passion for seeking new opportunities, Tanya often spots talent in other people. As part of her commitment to ‘Helping people become the best version of themselves’, Tanya found a solution to bridge the gap in development opportunities for entry-level colleagues and helped to shape the Aspire Programme to increase colleagues’ networking, self-confidence, and career progression. Tanya also founded and chairs our Early Careers Network, mentoring fellows under 30s, helping them to develop skills and feeding back youth perspectives on business strategy.

Commenting on her experience as a mentor, Tanya says: “It’s incredibly fulfilling to help people get to the next level. You get an amazing sense of pride that you have contributed to their career and development. In our Early Career Network especially, I want to show others that the sky is the limit.”

Through her time as a mentor, Tanya has fully inspired those around her receiving comments such as: “Tanya is always positive and approachable. She will help anyone who asks for support. She inspires me and I cannot thank Tanya enough for all the support and help to enhance my career. She’s very deserving of many awards.” (Chloe Bromwich, Lead Agent).

Tanya adds: “The buzz of the award nomination has been exciting and I’m very proud of the feedback I’ve been given as well as the support I’ve been given from friends and family. However, regardless of whether I win, I will continue mentoring and always say yes to those who reach out through the women in business network or informally for anyone who wants support.”

Louise Connelly: Colleague of the Year Award

Perfect for this award, Louise is a female support champion, proactively supporting females to break barriers, progress professionally and achieve their potential through the BNP Paribas RISE programme.

As Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Louise has chosen to make waves in a traditionally male-dominated space. This has never stopped Louise from growing her team and collaborating in answering business problems whilst finding solutions through data-driven insights.

Louise says: “I’m passionate about championing women in the business, my main focus is on women in data as females are under-represented in the majority of analytics teams. Working in the male-dominated financial services industry highlights that disparity even more. Data never lies and with that, I use this as a power for females to give them additional confidence when in meetings or presenting.” 

Remarking on the award Louise added: “Although I would never put myself forward for an award, I’m very proud to have been nominated and become a finalist – and it’s nice to see how supportive my own family has been for me too! My drive to support women is very personal as I came in as a graduate and have been able to progress because of the support I’ve had around me. I want to do the same for other people in the business and give them the opportunities I had to thrive.”

Debbie Gibson: Advocate of the Year

When it comes to Debbie, her advocacy has been noticed business-wide, reaching as far as our French executive board where she was named a ‘key resource’ — a great honour.

Debbie has advocated and progressed the advancement of women in our business. This started in September 2019 when Steve Hunt signed up to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, and as a result, the Women in Business Committee was formed in March 2020. Thanks to the actions of Debbie and through the Women in Business (WIB) Committee and the development programmes she has supported to deliver, we have now reached 36% of women in senior managerial roles and continue to make progress towards our commitment of a 50/50 gender split in our senior managers by September 2025.

Commenting on Debbie’s contribution to our business Stephen Hunt, CEO BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, says: “Debbie is a true advocate of supporting women in their careers. She dedicates huge amounts of personal time and energy to our women in business agenda. She acts selflessly to help others succeed and her energy and passion transcend through the wider Women In Business Committee. Debbie makes it easy to be proud of her every single day and we share her passion for our final destination and know she will heavily contribute to us achieving this important milestone.”

When asked how she felt to be shortlisted for a Women in Credit Award, Debbie responded: “Although I don’t love being in the spotlight, I feel extremely honoured to be nominated. It’s very rewarding to see my husband and two daughters so proud and supportive of me. I always strive to show my daughters that there is no limit to what women can do. I want them to know that one day there won’t be any female leaders, just leaders, seen as equals.”

“For women in business, I’m very proud of the work we have been doing with our menopause network and bringing that to the forefront. We have seen a huge impact in support and encouragement for women in the business through these monthly meetings. I enjoy advocating for those who need a voice. It’s a great honour to be recognised for advocacy and it’s made me feel proud that I’m able to encourage and lift others.”

The Awards ceremony

Ahead of Women in Business Day on 22nd September, the awards took place on 21st September 2022. Our team dressed up to the nines to celebrate female achievements at The Brewery in London.

It was wonderful to hear from Debbie Gibson and the chair of our Women in Business Committee Keeley Downing, who delivered a powerful talk on harnessing the power of data for an inclusive workplace. Chief Operating Officer Claire Moore, a judge for the awards (overseeing separate categories) also gave an impactful speech on imposter syndrome and the importance of championing diversity. She stated that: “All the evidence shows that having an inclusive environment drives benefits for customers and businesses.”

When asked what advice Claire would give to the next generation of women in the industry she said: “Women in the industry should apply for roles that stretch them rather than waiting until they can do 95% of the job. I would also encourage networking and being clear with your stakeholders on what you want for your career – don’t be afraid to vocalise it or leave them to guess what it is you want. Above all else, be yourself – you are the best version of yourself! Don’t bend yourself out of shape to fit in, celebrate what makes you unique.”

We were incredibly proud to have all three finalists at the event representing all the amazing work that is going on at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK. All of their contributions are outstanding and they are very deserving of their recognition.

As all finalists stated, our commitment to championing women in business will continue and we are incredibly excited to see what our Women in Business Committee have planned for the future.

Read more about the importance of championing diversity and inclusion networks here or hear more about our commitment to gender equality and the Women in Finance Charter in our positive impact report here.