Q&A with Kitty McCormick, Head of Innovation Coutts

Kitty's head shotBW

Head of Innovation at Coutts, Kitty provides an insight into how businesses can build a pipeline of new talent.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

Curating their careers – I think that the trend for multidisciplinary careers will increase and many more of us will work for multiple companies and in multiple roles concurrently.  This opens up a wide range of possibilities, but also potentially increases the burden of choice.  It can be very hard to know if you’re making the right career decisions and by adding more roles and decision points that will only be amplified.  The choices around balancing professional work and personal life will continue and we will all need to support each other to make the best choices for our circumstances at the times we need to make them.

What was your dream job as a child and why?

Aged 8, I desperately wanted to be an archaeologist.  I was completely captivated by the ancient Egyptians at school and by the adventures that archaeologists and explorers had.  It inspired a passion that carried me to study history at university but it didn’t quite translate into a career as a modern day Dame Kathleen Kenyon DBE!

How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

I am naturally a competitive person, but primarily I’m competing against myself rather than anyone else.  I love learning new things and so I am hugely motivated by acquiring new knowledge and taking on new roles; I have had 8 roles so far in my career and I hope to have many more that challenge me.

If you could tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?

Everyone is still learning, no matter how experienced they are!  The more experienced you get, the broader your understanding becomes as well as the deeper your technical knowledge, but you can’t know everything.  Every industry is constantly evolving and changing, which means that those who are successful are those who seek out new and relevant knowledge continuously.  Stay curious and continue to be generous with the knowledge and understanding you have.

Who is your role model and why?

I don’t have any one individual as a role model, I’m inspired by men and women who use their talents deliberately and generously.  We all have strengths and weaknesses, I seek to learn from all those I meet and to incorporate things I think they do well into my own toolkit.

What would be your advice for women who are building careers in the industry you work in?

Take risks, build a breadth of experience in roles rather than focus too early on any one specialism, whether that is technical or client facing.  Understanding the varied technical and client elements that make up financial services firms are really important in taking on roles with more responsibility and in leading multi-disciplinary teams.

What’s your own personal mantra?

Life is a team sport!

What do you think makes a successful leader?

Successful leaders are great communicators, but they are not always extroverts!  They give of themselves – for me leadership is always personal.  In my experience they share who they are and what they’re trying to achieve, rather than broadcast goals and targets to those that work for them.  Leaders that I admire and have worked hardest for are those that are smart, but also promote and support people even smarter than themselves to work alongside them.

Kitty is the Head of Innovation for Coutts, bringing new technology and capability to the bank and its clients.  She has more than 10 years experience across technology and financial services in the UK and USA.  She has held client facing and business development roles in both industries, most recently managing complex lending requirements for private banking clients.  Kitty has a BA(Hons) in History from Durham University and an MSc (Distinction) in International Management from Kings College, London.

Kitty is a member of the FV committee. Kitty was recognised in the 2017 Women in Finance awards as a rising talent in the Wealth Management industry and is the 2016 Winner of the Women in the City Future Leaders Award.  She is passionate about building and sustaining diverse and successful businesses.   

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