HSBC has always valued diversity and inclusion in all respects. Globally we are committed to achieving gender balance and ensuring that at least 30 per cent of senior leadership roles are held by women by the end of 2020,. With the appointment of three women to the Executive Committee since the start of the year, HSBC in Luxembourg has already exceeded this global target. This is a great step towards achieving the objective of having a top-team of high performers that better reflects the society in which it does business.
Autumn Le Lievre, Head of Regulatory Compliance Luxembourg and one of the newly appointed members of the Executive Committee, is a single mother of four who joined HSBC in Guernsey in 2016. Her story illustrates the potential that the bank can offer.
What were the determining factors in your decision to join HSBC?
I first joined banking after studying law by distance learning while working full time, a major move after a degree in English Language and Literature. Having also studied music for many years, I wanted to achieve a good work-life balance in order to leave space for my personal development and keep music in my life. When I decided to look for new opportunities in 2016, I thought that, as one of the world’s leading financial institutions, HSBC would be the ideal organisation within which to develop my career, offering me significant scope to drive positive change in my area of regulatory compliance and beyond, and in which I could support development areas that are very important to me, such as Diversity and Inclusion. HSBC not only supports but truly celebrates diversity and recognises the benefit that people with different backgrounds can bring, turning their unique experiences into real assets for the organisation.
How has this commitment to promote Diversity and Inclusion impacted the course of your career?
Since joining HSBC, my career has developed rather more quickly than I had planned, in part due to the commitment of HSBC to Diversity and Inclusion through its training programmes. I was selected for the Accelerate Programme, a female leadership development programme in the Channel Islands in 2017 and indeed, the skills that I was able to cultivate during this 6-month programme really accelerated my career. Alongside this, I began to recognise the value of other forms of diversity in the workplace and become much more authentic in my own leadership style. In turn, this empowers my teams to act with authenticity and honesty and bring the very best of themselves to work. I am now more effective at negotiating with my colleagues, peers and stakeholders and even feel that I have become a better parent. The Accelerate Programme boasts a great module on managing personal energy rather than being focused on time management. I now apply this to every part of my life and make sure that I bring positive energy to both work and my children.
Beyond progressing in your career, what was your motivation to move to mainland Europe?
My desire to move to Luxembourg was about giving my children the opportunity to experience other cultures, learn new languages and have the chance to enjoy cultural differences as I do. I am thrilled that my hard work and the support of HSBC has brought us to such a wonderful country which is very supportive of working parents in terms of infrastructure. My children are loving their new lifestyle and have already built friendships with people from all over the world. This gives them the opportunity to see life in a more diverse way and I hope gives them a great sense of potential for their own futures.
Taking on additional responsibilities abroad is never easy, especially for working mothers. How do you feel HSBC in Luxembourg is supporting the transition?
HSBC in Luxembourg has been very supportive throughout the relocation process, allowing enough flexibility to account for my personal circumstances – a great example of how it can be a very personal and human organisation despite its scale.
To illustrate, we were able to put in place staged takeover of my new role to ensure my children could start school at the new half term and in a permanent home. More importantly there is an absolute commitment by the leadership team to a healthy work life balance through flexible working arrangements which I am proud to role model: I can work from home one day a week, and leave the office every day at a reasonable time to collect my children from Maison Relais, then enjoy time with them, before switching back to work mode for a few hours (if needed) once they are in bed. This helps me both re-energise and be more efficient and reduces the feeling of guilt often typical of working mothers. I can give my children quality time outside of work, attend school events with them and still have a successful and fulfilling career, making the most of my abilities, while being a role model for them and others.
I’ve also been encouraged to use my experiences to support and inspire others and this has been an important part of the more metaphorical as opposed to geographical career journey for me. I have been appointed Country Exco sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion and am keen to support other working parents and especially mothers in their career development.
The latest appointments to the Executive Committee of HSBC in Luxembourg further highlight the bank’s determination to promote diversity. Which are the positive effects of diversity in your work environment?
In a rapidly changing environment such as financial services, I fiercely believe that diversity in all its forms is key to adaptability. HSBC fosters an environment where people are valued regardless of their gender, family or educational background, ethnicity, nationality or sexual orientation. It is a huge asset to have diverse teams using their broad experiences to find creative and innovative solutions to the many challenges we face. Within my function, I am heading up a team of individuals from several countries and with different career backgrounds.
I also have great hopes as part of the Executive Committee within HSBC in Luxembourg. We are already working hard on a “People agenda” that will offer some positive impacts on the working culture at HSBC in Luxembourg and will further encourage diversity, career development and well-being across the teams.
With Brexit looming and relocations of banking professionals likely to continue, why would you recommend joining HSBC in Luxembourg?
HSBC in Luxembourg is a great place to work and it is getting even better. The Executive Committee has set itself a challenge to enhance the working experience, and this is very much supported by employee working groups, so there is the opportunity for anyone to make a real difference. Within HSBC in Luxembourg, there is a range of career opportunities, from traditional front office roles to the full range of second line functions like Compliance and Legal and our own internal audit presence. Alongside this, there are various business areas represented Including Private Banking, Securities Services and Global Banking. This means that there is great potential for career development within the country. However, there is also the opportunity to develop your career within the broader organization, as I have done, and relocate to other countries. Above all, HSBC is an organization that celebrates the unique experiences that we can all bring: It is a place where diversity is not just welcomed but championed.