ING - Michelle

Name: Michelle
Job Title: Leveraged Finance
Company: ING
Sectors: Banking

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Growing up, I wanted to be a Palaeontologist. I was fascinated with dinosaurs.

Who is, or has been, your role model and who is a strong role model for young women starting their career?

My first boss in banking has been a strong role model throughout my career. He is an African-American who grew up in the Projects of Harlem. His hard work brought him a scholarship and then fellowship to an Ivy League University. He’s faced, and overcome, so many obstacles. And he taught me that no matter what situation you’re in always behave with grace and dignity.

I think a good role model for women in banking today would be Ana Patricia Botín O’Shea – Chairman of Banco Español de Crédito. She was born into a culture where men dominate, studied at Harvard University and in 2009 was ranked as the 45th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine. And in November 2010, she became the Chief Executive of Santander’s UK Operation.

What has been the most exciting element of your career so far?

It would have to be meeting Hugo Chavez shortly after he was elected President of Venezuela.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

Always think about your response before you give it.

What is your greatest achievement?

I started working in Leveraged Finance in the height of the Bull Market and have since been employed through the worst financial crisis in history. There’s been real pressure at times, but I feel that I’ve managed these difficult times with distinction and conviction.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Working in banking means dealing with many different personality types. I have never let anyone intimidate me, and this has served me well.

What are the rewarding aspects of a career in your industry?

Definitely the opportunities to experience other cultures. Growing up in a small town I was always was interested in travelling. Working in International Finance has allowed me to live abroad and see many other countries.

What differences do you believe being a woman has made to your career?

I know it sounds like a bit of a stereotype, but I genuinely believe I’ve been helped by my ability to take on many things at once. I also have strong intuitive skills.

What have you had to sacrifice/risk to get to the position you have?

A demanding banking job requires a lot of long office hours. However, the rewards have more than made up for the personal time I have sacrificed.

What do you do to ensure you get a break at the weekends?

I enjoy playing sports and spending time with friends and family.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring graduate women who are pursuing a successful career?

Be persistent. If you really want to achieve something, you will.

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