“Focus on what you really want to learn. Time will fly so embrace the moment.”
Jo Buckross has worked at Lloyds Bank for 15 years, starting as a cashier, moving up to the senior manager for the Isle of Man, to her role on the executive committee today. Her success with the company has led her to a two-year secondment in Gibraltar, expanding her network at the bank and beyond.
“Starting as a cashier was initially frustrating,” says Jo. “I had a desire to move upwards very quickly within the organisation. But it’s been the best thing that could have happened because it’s given me a very holistic view of the business.”
As a proactive managing director and member of the committee (International Private Bank), Lloyds Bank Gibraltar board and Lloyds Bank Gibraltar trust board, she is well versed in leading large teams through cultural and organisational change. She has also identified and created new opportunities for growth.
“As Lloyds works its way slowly out of recession, it has refocused and embraced a huge cultural shift,” she says. “The industry has seen much change and the bank’s reputation is based on being a well-regulated financial centre.”
Now, Jo is investing in herself by taking an Executive MBA at London Business School (LBS).
Jo joined the School for one main reason. “To gain more credibility in the boardroom,” she says.
As Jo’s technical toolkit builds, so too does her self-confidence. Today, women account for 8.6 per cent of all executive roles in FTSE 100 companies, which is an all-time high, but there’s more to be done to increase women’s seats. Showcasing business best practice as a member of the executive committee has never been so important.
It’s not just the programme content that’s fine-tuning Jo’s language in the boardroom. The School’s network is already having an impact on her. “The programme is helping me hone some softer skills,” she says. “Most importantly, it’s teaching me how to build, and work effectively within, a network.”
Jo is growing a global network at the School and discovering how to get the most from it. “I’m broadening my understanding of people’s cultures. Not only of people’s different values and beliefs, but their work traits too,” says Jo.
The Global Business Assignment in Dubai, left its mark on her. She says: “It brought to life how the economy was created in the region. The companies we visited were very transparent about the challenges they faced conducting business there.” Jo adds that she experienced a “surreal moment” when chairman of Dubai International Holding Company, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum presented aspirations for growth. “It opened our eyes to the future vision,” she says.
Jo adds that there are an abundance of LBS mentors, support and advice available to her in London and “at the end of the phone”.
“I know that I’ll leave this experience a well-rounded manager,” she says. “And, more importantly, a better leader because of it”.