Meenal Upadhyay

Meenal Upadhyay | Morgan Stanley

Meenal Upadhyay

Meenal Upadhyay is an Associate at Morgan Stanley and serves as full stack developer in Legal and Compliance Division.

Previously, she supported projects on client pricing, automated trading and risk management, providing real-time pricing, and associated pricing meta-data with Morgan Stanley.

Prior to joining the Firm, Meenal worked as a developer in the Market Risk space.

Meenal is a volunteer with the STEM Ambassador Programme supporting schools and the local community, as well serving as co-chair of the Cultural Awareness Network for Morgan Stanley in Glasgow.

Yulia Manyutina

Yulia Manyutina | Coutts

Yulia Manyutina

Originally from Russia, at the age of 16 I received a full scholarship to study abroad at the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy – a school that brings together young leaders from all over the world and promotes peace and intercultural understanding.

While studying for my International Baccalaureate there, I have also remotely finished my school in Russia with distinction and even received the State-Level Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Achievements in Learning.

I then moved to the UK where I studied a Law and Business Degree at the University of Warwick. Despite the initial struggle due to English being my third language, I studied hard, overcame all the difficulties, and was even recognised as the Best Student on the Course. While at the university, I also established Warwick Women’s Careers Society which under my leadership helped hundreds of female students to achieve their chosen careers.

I joined NatWest Group straight out of the university on a graduate rotational programme. As a part of it, I worked with Technology, Media and Telecommunications team, helping to attract new businesses to the bank. I then joined the Structured Finance team where I was involved in the structuring of complex multimillion lending deals for FTSE 100 companies.

Throughout my time on the Graduate programme, I led Marketing & Communications Council that was responsible for communication with 600+ graduates from 12 different programs across 5 different locations. I also worked in the Steering Committee of the Structured Finance Training & Development Council where I organised bi-weekly trainings for 380+ people located in 6 countries across 2 continents. I also worked as the Secretary of the London & South East Regional Board where I supported a group of key Managing Directors in the region in delivering the Bank’s strategy in the area of community engagement, education, diversity and inclusion.

I then decided to take on a new challenge and moved to a previously unknown to me part of the Bank – Private Banking – where I became the youngest ever Private Banker at Coutts. I studied intensively and worked very hard to become a regulated advisor in record time – successfully passing all my exams on first attempt and with distinction in under 2 months (although the qualification usually takes between 6 and 12 months to complete) and obtaining my regulated advisor status in record time.

Today, I am 25 years old and I am the only female regulated Private Banker at the Bank covering the European and American markets. I look after some of the wealthiest and most high-profile families in the region which is both a great privilege and a huge responsibility.

In addition to my day-to-day work, I also lead the Aspiring Leaders Forum that helps 300+ employees on pre-director level to develop their careers. Being passionate about developing others, I also mentor young women just starting their careers in financial services.

Outside of work, I am a keen volunteer who led fundraising campaigns for a number of charities, including Sense and The Prince’s Trust, and worked as the Secretary of the Board of an educational charity UWC Great Britain. I also regularly run free financial education workshops for children at MoneySense programme where I help children to develop good money habits by using real-life experiences and case studies.

I speak 4 languages and in my free time you can find me bouldering, taking dance classes, reading classic literature, and travelling.

Hannah Awonuga

Hannah Awonuga | Barclays

Hannah Awonuga

I started my career in banking when I was seventeen. As a school leaver, my initial ambition was just to get into employment.

Over the past fifteen years, I have grown and developed through my career, internally moving up the organisation to gain my experience. In 2012 I graduated from Anglia Ruskin University with a fully sponsored degree in management and leadership and was promoted to my first leadership role; this is where my passion for Inclusion and people development grew. I have been in a leadership position for the past eight years. In 2019 successfully received a promotion into the Group Diversity and Inclusion team; this was all whilst on maternity leave. In 2017 I founded Rarity London Inclusion and Development, focusing on female career growth development and organisational inclusive leadership development.

Yaa Ofori-Ansah

Yaa Ofori-Ansah | Barclays

Yaa Ofori-Ansah

With a background in Law and Development, Yaa works as an Assistant Vice President (AVP) within Barclays Sustainability & ESG team, focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts.

Yaa’s responsibilities include developing approaches to addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); developing the governance framework and position statements on the bank’s ESG-related commitments; and conducting research on emerging ESG trends. She also works to showcase the work she does in Sustainability & ESG, such as through work shadowing, to increase the diversity in this growing area for businesses.

At Barclays, Yaa is a proud member of the Barclays Black Professionals Forum (BPF) Leadership team, and was recently appointed Deputy Co-Chair, leading responsible for leading on career development and community engagement initiatives. For nearly three years, Yaa has also co-led BPF’s flagship RISE mentoring programme, equipping Black and Ethnic Minority students with the skills and confidence to achieve their future goals; nurturing talent from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds; and creating a pipeline of diverse talent into Barclays. Under her my co-leadership, the programme has expanded its annual intake by 250%, included work experience hosted at Barclays Headquarters, expanded to include a dedicated Insight Programme for Year 10 students, and increased our partnerships with other schools and organisations.
She also helps organise the bank’s annual Black History Month events. In June 2019, the BPF Leadership team won the 2019 Barclays Citizenship and Diversity Award for Inclusion Champion, as result of the RISE Mentoring Programme, amongst other successes. BPF were nominated again in 2020 and have been nominated again in 2021.
Yaa is also part of one of the bank’s Race at Work Taskforce, helping to embed the Bank’s Race at Work Agenda commitments, to ensure tangible, and long-term changes across the organisation.

Passionate about African development, Yaa's previous experience includes working as a Researcher at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, a Research Assistant at the Constitution Review Commission in Ghana, and volunteering as a Team Leader in Tanzania, as part of Raleigh International's International Citizenship Service (ICS) programme.

Outside of work, continues to be involved with her alma mater, as a Trustee to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Board of Lay Trustees.

Eunice Zhu

Eunice Zhu | SMBC Nikko Capital Markets (Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation)

Eunice Zhu

Eunice Zhu has a decade of investment banking work experience, specializing in multi-asset derivatives trading and portfolio management and she is passionate about volunteering and making a positive impact.

She is currently heading up the XVA desk in SMBC Nikko Capital Markets Ltd, the capital market arm of Japanese mega-bank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) in Europe, where she is responsible for managing and hedging the counterparty risks of the bank’s global derivatives portfolio and leading strategic projects to enhance the XVA valuation infrastructure, with a focus on EMEA. Prior to SMBC, Eunice had worked as a Vice President in Counterparty Risk Trading at Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets for three years and an Associate Director in XVA Trading followed by FX Options Trading at UniCredit Bank for five years, in London. Having also worked for AXA Wealth Management (Hong Kong), HSBC and Citi (Shanghai), Eunice is capable of advising on various aspects of financial derivatives valuation and risk management particularly in counterparty risks/XVA.

Eunice graduated with a Distinction in MSc in Finance & Economics from the London School of Economics in 2009. Prior to that, she graduated with the highest GPA in BSc in Quantitative Economics and Econometrics from the Shanghai University of Finance & Economics (SUFE) in China, with one year of exchange experience in Sweden during the junior year. She is currently a CFA® charterholder and a panel member of the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) awarded by CFA UK.

Outside work, Eunice has spent the majority of her spare time volunteering, with a strong belief in giving back and make difference, particularly in gender diversity. Eunice has founded and leads the Lean In (Women in Banking & Finance) circle with more than 150 members, connecting and empowering women with career ambitions in the finance industry. She is also the committee member of the UK Chinese Women Connect (UKCWC) charity where her growing leadership skill is utilized in projects and events benefiting all women involved. For UKCWC, she was also invited as a guest speaker providing insights into Finance and sharing her tips for career success as a woman. Eunice believes in championing women and building female pipelines in the financial industry - she is currently mentoring for both Career Lead helping female graduates into the workplace and the One Search’s “Young Women into Finance'' scholarship program targeting young women of school age (post-GCSE). Outside of UK, Eunice has been sponsoring two little girls, who long for a better future, in Honduras and Cambodia for more than 8 years, via WorldVision UK. She has also volunteered in Uganda through an NGO called ENVenture, working with a women-led micro-enterprise in sustainable energy.

She is also an avid traveller, hiker and scuba diver.

Folakemi Fapohunda

Folakemi Fapohunda | Deutsche Bank

Folakemi Fapohunda

Folakemi Fapohunda is an employee, mum, wife and mentor, striving to live an impactful and purposeful life to inspire inclusion and compassionate leadership inside and outside the workplace.

Folakemi started her career in 2008 as a Software Engineer and has built her career with 12 years experience from Investment banking, Technology and public sectors leading a number of global high profile critical transformation, business driven projects and regulatory initiatives across Equities, Credit Risk, Reference Data and Cash & Securities, Payments and infrastructure in the UK. She is a Product Delivery Lead at Deutsche Bank AG London aligned to Client Connectivity and Digital Channels.

As an individual who is keen to provide safe spaces for professional women to thrive, feel supported and empowered, she founded Peacockscanfly in 2017 a not-for-profit network for senior professional women in London where she organises an annual dinner and workshops which has brought together more than 200 women in the last 3 years with great feedback on the impact of the connections, inspiring stories and shared tips. She is the author of a non-fiction book called Not just a Mum published in 2018 and a regular contributor to the Cityparents UK blog.

She is a STEMette mentor, a scheme aimed at inspiring more young women to explore STEM careers where she has shared her knowledge, skills and experiences with young girls aged 15-19. She is a Maternity Buddy at work where she provides supports and guidance for maternity returners. In 2020, she was the brain behind a well-received UKI anti-racism campaign in her workplace which was showcased to about 20,000 employees at the year end townhall. Folakemi has volunteered with Inspiring the Futures to speak to students at primary schools in Kent about their career aspirations and options. She believes strongly in diversity and inclusion particularly linked to the lack of female role models in male dominated environments and black representation in senior ranks within Financial Services and Technology and is always seeking to support results-oriented Diversity and Inclusion agendas.

As someone who is passionate about education, she graduated with a BSc in Computer Science (2.1) and MSc in Information Systems (Distinction) from University of Sheffield and has several professional qualifications under her belt.

Folakemi lives in Bexley borough of London with her husband and two sons aged 8 and 5. She enjoys cooking for her family, planning themed parties and days out with her kids.

Jordan Pearson

Jordan Pearson | NatWest

Jordan Pearson

Jordan is a multi-award-winning Experience Manager for Conversational AI at NatWest Group, where she predominantly works on Cora, the group’s customer facing AI chatbot.

She is a self-taught data analyst and has driven several data initiatives in her career to date, saving significant amounts of time and money along the way. Jordan regularly designs and develops new customer journeys utilising her data and AI skills in order to improve the user experience.

One initiative Jordan drove was contextual Cora, where she personalised the customer experience on different webpages. She used her strong data and AI skills to analyse large data sets, develop recommendations and implement them. From this initiative, the volume of Cora conversations and the number of customers getting their queries answered increased significantly, improving customer experience. Jordan also developed the first Cora data visualisation dashboard designed to track progress and spot emerging trends, and she regularly runs training sessions to colleagues around data.

Jordan is extremely dedicated to her personal development and has taught herself how to use Tableau, code HTML, SQL and Python whilst gaining 12 digital certifications to solidify her understanding of various technologies such as blockchain and AI. She is also dedicated to improving the lives of others and regularly volunteers at schools and universities teaching students how to code and how to build AI chatbots. Her reach to date is in the thousands and over the coming years Jordan’s aim is to encourage more and more people to consider careers in data and AI.

Jordan also has previous experience of working as a data analyst at the Wimbledon Championships, designing and delivering a presentation around Root Cause Analysis to the UK head of risk for a leading bank, designing and developing a brand-new management system, and managing a $34million a quarter pipeline as the finance and operations manager for a large business partner. All these experiences and more have helped shape Jordan as the leader and role model she is today. Jordan looks forward to developing her skills further in the coming years and continuing her volunteering work internally at NatWest and in the wider community.

Stacy Lamb

Stacy Lamb | PA Consulting

Stacy Lamb

Stacy is a financial services organisational agility expert. She has extensive experience in shaping and leading some of the most complex and largest transformation programmes in the FS industry, where her expertise lies.

Stacy is a qualified Product Owner & Scrum Master and has worked on a number of Product & Payment propositions from discovery phase to full end to end delivery.

Stacy is a voluntary Board Director for Women in Banking & Finance, an advocate of She Can Be - a Lord Mayor’s Appeal initiative endeavouring to empower young women to make informed decisions about their careers and was a Chartered Banker Young Banker of the year Finalist.

Sandra Blaga

Sandra Blaga | RBS International

I have joined RBS International in September 2019 on a rotational graduate program, completing rotations in Finance, Customer Experience and International, Retail and Commercial Banking departments.

Following 18 months on the scheme, I have secured a permanent role as a Finance Solutions Analyst where I focus on automation and visualisation of financial processes. I am committed to deliver innovation projects creating seamless solutions for my colleagues and customers. I am keen to continue exploring opportunities in technology within banking industry.

In addition to my core role, I am heavily involved in a Purpose and Inclusion agenda in the bank. I am an Inclusion Champion and co-chair of the RBS International Gender Network. I truly believe gender balance and equality are key requirements for a successful business and highly performing teams. In the spirit of this year’s International Women’s Day, I #ChooseToChallenge leaders to talk about bias, raise awareness and celebrate women’s achievements.

I am also passionate about sharing knowledge, education and supporting children, and subsequently have a role as a School Employability Programs Lead in Jersey.

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from the Robert Gordon University. During that time, I have completed a full-time industrial placement as a Partner Operated Assets accountant at ConocoPhillips. At the end of my placement, I have been offered a part-time position as an Accounts Payable Assistant which I continued throughout my last year of the degree. I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of York.

Jessica Seager

Jessica Seager | Chetwood Financial Limited

Jessica Seager

I strive to continuously challenge myself in order to develop and grow my skill set.

Having graduated from the University of Birmingham in July 2019 with a degree in Business Management including a year in Industry, I joined Chetwood as a Data Analyst. However, I soon realised that I wanted to combine my analytical skills, with a more customer centric role, so I proactively sought out a new opportunity in Chetwood’s Distribution team.

In my current role as a Distribution Manager, I lead a number of Chetwood’s key distribution partnerships, acting as the main point of contact, building relationships and looking for new growth opportunities. I identify new market entrants and work closely with the Change team to onboard them, after assessing whether they align to our brand and conduct values. Since joining the Distribution team I was also part of the team to launch Chetwood’s second loan product, BetterBorrow, and I am currently planning the distribution role out of a new product we will shortly be launching!

I lead on analysing performance across channels and monitoring conversion at each point of the customer journey. I am recognised as Chetwood’s conversion SME, presenting to our Exec team monthly on key findings and making suggested improvements. I work with our distribution partners and other areas at Chetwood to continuously improve the customers experience.

Joining Chetwood near the beginning of it’s journey has allowed me to grow alongside the company, identifying new development opportunities, and allowing me to expand my responsibilities and get my career off to a flying start. As Chetwood continues to challenge the more traditional banking industry I am excited for the new opportunities to grow my skill set even further.