The Fi­nan­cial Guru

No. 1 Magazine - - #CLOSETHEGAPSCOTLAND -

Af­ter leav­ing school at 16, Mar­garet Kennedy from Ed­in­burgh, climbed the fi­nan­cial ca­reer lad­der to be­come the first fe­male re­gional direc­tor in busi­ness bank­ing for the whole of the UK.

I am one of six chil­dren and I was brought up on a farm. I did a deal with my par­ents: if I got a job, I wouldn’t go into fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion. I started at Royal Bank of Scot­land when I was 16. I quickly re­alised that there was only one per­son that would help make me work my way up my ca­reer path, and that per­son was me, so I got my qual­i­fi­ca­tions. As a fe­male role model at the top of a busi­ness, you en­cour­age more fe­males to re­alise their po­ten­tial. In years gone by I sat in board­rooms with men, wait­ing my turn to get my voice heard. I quickly re­alised that I have an opin­ion that mat­ters, which is the rea­son why I’m there and if I leave with­out giv­ing that opin­ion, I’ve failed my­self. That’s what gave me con­fi­dence. When I stand up and make speeches, I say that I am a qual­i­fied banker and a Fel­low of the Char­tered In­sti­tute of Bankers which gives me cred­i­bil­ity. When I started, busi­ness net­works in Scot­land tended to be male­dom­i­nated and, as a fe­male, it was daunt­ing. I felt you had to work harder to gain cred­i­bil­ity than if you were a man walk­ing into the same room. I am de­lighted to say that has changed now. Many years ago, when women wanted chil­dren, it might not have been pos­si­ble to have a fam­ily and pur­sue your ca­reer. When I had my daugh­ter (who is now 26), I came back to work when she was five months old as I was in the process of sit­ting my fi­nan­cial ex­ams. If you wanted to progress in your ca­reer you had to go through those ex­ams. To­day, the Royal Bank of Scot­land – and the in­dus­try as a whole – has done a lot, in terms of flex­i­ble work­ing, to en­cour­age fe­males to in­vest and grow in their ca­reer and re­alise that you can have both. I brought up a fam­ily, sat ex­ams and worked hard, but didn’t set aside time for that, I lumped it to­gether. My ad­vice is: sur­round your­self with like-minded peo­ple who will help you reach your goals. Work with some­one you aspire to be like and in­vest time in your per­sonal de­vel­op­ment.

‘In years gone by I sat in a board­room with men wait­ing my turn to get my voice heard.’

Dress, £45, neck­lace, £15, all at Deben­hams. Hair and make-up: Kayleigh Brock.

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