Rachel Taylor joined Aldermore in 2018 as business improvement lead. Just three years on, she now proudly sits as a member of the senior leadership team in business finance, reporting to the group MD for business finance, in the newly created role of business manager. Here she talks about her journey navigating through a traditionally male-dominated sector and how she’s supporting the development of other females in the organisation.
You might be surprised to discover that I didn’t go to university. Just six weeks before I was due to start, I found out I was pregnant. And I needed to get a job!
I felt a little lost from a career perspective following maternity leave. I took an administrative role at a building society – my baptism into financial services. There was a continuous improvement programme underway and I secured an opportunity as a Junior Process Analyst.
I look back so fondly on my first role, reporting to a female leader – the only female leader of my career to date. I quickly recognised that to succeed and progress, I’d need to prove myself amongst my male colleagues – and that I did.
I was intrigued by a bank so young, its size, proposition and its people. I joined Aldermore in January 2018, after a former colleague pointed me in this direction. It was such an interesting time for Aldermore as it was being acquired by FirstRand. I was amazed I hadn’t heard of it before!
One of my greatest achievements to date is winning a Customer Experience Award in 2019. We decided to enter the UK’s largest customer experience awards – spanning all sectors – showcasing the work we did on mapping customer journeys. It was an intense experience in many ways, involving a presentation to a panel of judges and experts at Wembley. However, that made it just so much more rewarding when we won, and it was great to be able to celebrate with the wider team at a gala that evening.
On a high from the successes of 2019, I felt poised for a new challenge. I’m busier than I’ve ever been, and each day is really varied! Twinned with the impact of the pandemic and the demands of a direct reporting line into an Executive member of the organisation, my current Business Manager role has been a step away from the change space and into a more strategic remit.
Aside from my day job, I’m an active member of Aldermore’s Inspiring Future Female Leaders group, which offers a fantastic opportunity to connect with so many brilliant female colleagues across the Group. I was selected to attend The Leadership Summit, a career and personal development programme delivered by an external organisation called The Pipeline, which focuses on developing our high potential female colleagues for Executive level roles.
I’m very proud to have been integral to the launch of the One Aldermore Female Network. We hope to run four more events in 2021 to inspire and engage our female talent. It’s something I find to be so rewarding, seeing my colleagues encouraged to overcome those inherent barriers.
There are so many great things about working at Aldermore, and the list continues to grow. Especially as more initiatives around wellbeing and mental health also come to the fore. I feel lucky to be part of an organisation that truly cares about its people and customers and wants to make a difference.