Quick fire Q&A with Sandra Bimont, E2W Advisory Board member
Katie.Dix / 14 Jan 2020
Sandra Bimont, E2W Advisory Board Member.
Sandra Bimont is an experienced change executive with 22 years of experience across investment banks and management consulting firms. Her experience comprises business transformation, divestment, M&A, bank set-up, FinTech and strategy. Sandra has recently been nominated 2019 Winner of the CFTE-Onfido FinTech challenge. She has been an Advisory Board member of E2W Ltd since Apr’19.
1. What makes our mission meaningful to you?
20 years ago, E2W was founded with the vision of promoting the business and social case for improved gender diversity in the UK Financial Services sector.
It has since become a unique strategic platform which brings women in financial services together and enables them to network and benefit from coaching & career guidance. E2W partners with an increasing number of clients to help them to achieve their gender targets.
The Alpha Project launched last year and new partnership with Young Women’s Trust are both great examples of E2W’s drive, commitment and passion around gender gap resolution.
2. Tell us about your first job in the finance industry?
My very first job in the finance industry was in Jan’97 as a Business Controller within the Finance Department at JPMorgan in Paris. Subsequently, I had the opportunity to move to their London office 2 years later.
3. During your career, has there been a time when you thought “Yes, I’ve made it!”?
I have always wanted to live and work abroad, and this is what really pushed me, early on in my career, to create an opportunity for myself to move to London with JPMorgan.
On a different front, I was also very keen to support a non-profit organisation in a very meaningful way on site. As a volunteer of an initiative launched by Accenture, I went to Cambodia to support a non-profit organisation called “Room to Read”. R2R is dedicated to enable education for children in developing countries. It was an extremely rewarding experience which has given me a very different perspective on life ever since.
4. What has been the biggest challenge during your career and why?
A couple of years ago, I worked on a large business divestment entailing the creation of a new bank. I was responsible for driving the banking license extension process and the set up and operational readiness of various functions. This required of all of us a significant collaboration between internal and external parties. Certainly, one of the most complex and richest professional journey I have had.
5. Holiday destination?
We usually travel a lot to India as a family and Europe (we love Greece), last summer we broke the rules and did a family road trip in California South to North which was very entertaining.
6. What book are you currently reading?
‘A Woman of no importance’, by Sonia Purnell. This is the story of a spy, Virginia Hall, who fought for the freedom of France, during WW2. A great example of breaking through the gender barriers.
7. What keeps you going/motivates you?
I have two young children, seven and nine from whom I have been and continue learning every day. They are definitely my drive and inspiration at all times.
8. Biggest achievement?
Raising my family in happiness to the best I can and being involved in their life at home/school as much as possible in parallel to continuing my professional career and inspirations. Finding the right balance with positive outcomes on both fronts.
9. When you retire, what would you like to be remembered for?
As a driven individual who has always followed her convictions, passions and inspirations.
10. What are your thoughts on the next generation of women in finance?
The finance landscape has gone through a dramatic transformation with the emergence of FinTech and disruptive innovation overall since the 2008 financial crisis. Though Finance and Technology are still very much male dominated, I do believe that we will see an increasing number of women taking leadership roles in innovation or becoming entrepreneurs in this arena.
11. Best career advice you’ve received?
Always keep learning and networking
12. What does "success" mean to you in terms of your work as a board member?
In this context, “success” is providing strategic advice, share ideas and new perspectives which will help the executive management to define and form the right plans, constructively challenge as needed and assist to raise E2W profile.
13. Which markets, partners, clients, or other opportunities can add significant value to our business?
With the significant transformation of the financial industry through technology, partnering with Tech organisations is definitely an avenue to further explore at different levels.
Considering extending the scope of recruitment of women in financial services through E2W to below senior levels would also be interesting.
Supporting a charity organisation of choice which also promotes the gender gap topic will also be well aligned with E2W current model. This has recently been achieved with YWT.
14. What do we do better than anyone else in our field?
E2W Ltd offers a very diverse palette of services ranging from membership, provision of coaching, networking and educational events, recruitment and outsourcing of project / BAU activities in partnership with Financial institutions.
The Alpha recruitment project demonstrates their proactive approach to the market and the newly formed Advisory Board their desire to gain new perspectives, which shows a real forward-thinking mindset.
15. How can we make the role of accountable executives around Diversity & Inclusion more visible and normal. Is this role around D&I commitment still seen as an ‘off the desk’ function?
In my view, commitment around D&I should naturally be embedded into the function / role expectations to make it more compelling.
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