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Career Transitioning - From Investment  Banking to Education E2W member Letitia Seglah shares her story

Career Transitioning - From Investment Banking to Education E2W member Letitia Seglah shares her story

Tina.Freed / 05 Nov 2021

Letitia Seglah has been a member of E2W since 2017 when she was placed at BlackRock. Letitia is the Founder and CEO of Build Scale Grow CIC, a social enterprise that focuses on extra-curricular learning experiences (such as business boot camps, cryptocurrency and life skills workshops for children), and Lively Tuition, affordable tuition particularly for children from low-medium-income families.

Read her story below:

In August 2018 I decided to take a sabbatical from my full-time job in investment banking to figure out what I wanted to do next. And before you ask, yes, some of my family, friends, colleagues, told me/volunteered their concerns!! During the first 6 months of my sabbatical, I volunteered at several charities and social enterprises, mentored, freelanced, travelled, slept off 20 years of non-stop work!

Having worked since the age of 16, I’ve enjoyed my career trajectory. Starting out as a sales assistant in retail, working my way up into business management for a luxury goods company and then transitioning into investment banking. Each experience gave me exposure and the opportunity to learn and piece together how the world works. In school, whenever we were asked “what do you want to be when you grow up”, like many children, I had a few things in mind (I wanted to be a neuroscientist or a psychologist/social scientist and “maybe something to do with education” I recall telling one of my teachers). I had no idea that path would lead me to work in investment banking for over a decade.

In the spring of 2019, I extended my sabbatical for another year. I wanted the additional time to reconcile my work experience, interests and passions. During that time, I landed on the idea of starting a social enterprise that would expose children and young people to interesting extracurricular activities that would be enjoyable and help them figure out “what they wanted to be when they grew up”. So, I launched Build Scale Grow in August 2019 and have since worked with parents and local authorities to deliver experiences during the half-terms and school holidays. By the summer of 2020, when I was supposed to go back to my job, I was having doubts about how I would make it all work. I felt a major sense of relief when my employer informed me that due to the impact of the pandemic on the business, they were restructuring and could not offer me my old position. This was good news because it meant I had to bite the bullet and pursue my new purpose. A new beginning and a transition to a new stage in my life and I rediscovered my passion for “something to do with education”.

As 2020 played out with school closures and the loss of teaching hours, several parents and local authorities asked if we could provide tuition and catch-up classes. After giving it a lot of thought and research, Lively Tuition was launched with a pilot in February 2021 and then publicly in October. With a mission of addressing the gap in the market for affordable tuition for low-medium income families. Whilst at first, I was nervous about being new to the education sector, my friends, family, and mentors have reassured me that the transferable skills I’ve gained as a business manager and COO throughout my banking career are a good basis for my new venture. To boost my technical understanding in education, I am currently studying an MSc in Social Innovation at Cambridge University with a research focus on education, the future of work and social mobility (graduating in 2022).

Life as we know it is about transitioning. We transition throughout life sometimes effortlessly and other times with growing pains and uncertainty. Whether from infancy to school, to employment, relationships, becoming parents, growing old, retiring, transitioning and change is guaranteed. Yet when it comes to work-life, transitioning can feel particularly daunting. Understandably because so many things are hinged on it, making enough money to cover overheads, provide for our families, work-life balance and so forth. What I have learnt from my own transitions is that ultimately, life has prepared and trained me for it. It's okay to feel insecure and concerned at times. Remind yourself that the instincts and reflexes are already there. The transferable skills have been acquired, the risks can be rationalised and mitigated and the rest you can improvise, you’ll figure it out!

My advice for anyone transitioning, whether that is into a new role, sector, pursuing a side hustle, continuing education etc, it’s a genuine leap, but remember that you are not leaping off a cliff! With time to plan and prepare ahead of your transition, you can build the foundations to take those steps and land comfortably. In fact, maybe like me, you will wish you had done it sooner and realise that it wasn’t that scary after all!! It's rewarding and fulfilling, and you deserve to live a purposeful life.


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