Alexandra Fogal is Relationship Director at Barclays Corporate Banking in Yorkshire. Her role covers larger corporates turning over £20m+ and she has a particular focus on manufacturing companies in Yorkshire. Alex has over 14 years’ experience in banking and corporate relationship management.
“…At Barclays, our aim is to bring more men and women together to work as one – what we share is far more powerful than what divides us…”
My role at Barclays
I am a Relationship Director in Corporate Banking at Barclays and my day job is running a manufacturing-based portfolio across Yorkshire, helping clients achieve their growth ambitions, whether this be day to day banking, lending or international opportunities, all of which I’m proud to have achieved by my early 30s after having joined Barclays on the Corporate Graduate Programme.
I run our Yorkshire Women in Business Awards and also have an International Diversity Council role, which I will explain more about later.
Receiving a global diversity award from Barclays
Each year Barclays runs a Global Diversity Awards programme in a different location. The host country in 2017 was the US. I was lucky to travel across to the Barclays Investment business in New York for the awards ceremony. Barclays’ Board, including our chief executive, Jes Staley, were there to present the awards, providing an incredible networking platform. The awards focused on celebrating the achievements of outstanding colleagues who demonstrated tremendous commitment to driving forward diversity and inclusion at Barclays.
Out of 450 global nominations put forward across six award categories, I made the shortlist for two awards. Out of the six years this programme has been held globally no other individual has been shortlisted for two awards so it felt incredible to achieve this, particularly coming from the corporate banking side of the business, amid stiff competition from elsewhere in Barclays UK.
Taking Yorkshire to New York
I made the awards shortlist for the Woman of the Year and Business Impact Champion. My award win was for Business Impact Champion, in recognition of the contribution to the Northern business economy and diversity awareness generated through a Women in Business awards format I created. I was commended not only for championing women in business but also for delivering a return on investment for the business in a number of ways.
Representing my region made me feel very proud. To make the shortlist was an incredible honour in itself but then to travel to New York to receive the award was unbelievable. I’ll never forget the opportunity to meet other colleagues from across the globe. I think this puts Yorkshire and the successes as a region we are seeing firmly on the map.
Plans for International Women’s Day 2018
We have some exciting plans for this year and one change for us is to expand the coverage and network. We will be having two launch events covering Yorkshire with some fantastic guest speakers. We will launch on International Women’s Day, Thursday 8th March at Dakota Leeds with one of our winners from 2017, Linda Clarke, Marketing and Digital Director of MKM Business Supplies.
For the first time this year we will also hold a launch event in Sheffield with prominent local entrepreneur and local enterprise partnership board member, Julie Kenny, speaking on Wednesday 14th March. We are hoping to increase award nominations this year and we have an excellent independent panel of judges lined up. The award nominations will open on 8th March and the awards lunch will take place on Thursday 21st June 2018.
Following the Global Award success other regions are very keen to replicate this award programme and I am hopeful that from the end of this year we will have others on board to deliver in 2019 covering the UK. The North West launched in 2017 with a fantastic first year and they will again replicate for 2018 also having further launch events during March to expand the network.
Individuals and companies have been working hard over the years to ensure that businesses across sectors have a diverse workforce and this is the continued theme. At Barclays, our aim is to bring more men and women together to work as one – what we share is far more powerful than what divides us. Women across the globe are making change happen and particularly in key areas such as advocacy, mentoring others and support networks to ensure we continually develop, attract and retain the right talent.
Joining the Barclays International Diversity Board
Beyond the awards I was asked to join the Barclays International Diversity Board in October 2017 and I now also run the Women in Network (WIN) across the UK for the Barclays International Diversity Council. This has been a great opportunity and something I am passionate about to help support how the bank moves forward with diversity and inclusion.
My day job supporting Yorkshire manufacturing clients continues to be a key focus, with some great success stories of transformation happening in this sector around the fourth industrial revolution. We are at the forefront of leading growth initiatives together with our Green agenda, which was launched in January 2018. There are exciting times ahead but I will continue to #PressForProgress alongside my Barclays colleagues around the globe.