23 November, 2021
#16 Portrait of a woman in finance: Claudia Roosen
“My dream job was to become a fighter pilot. I loved the thought of living in an adventure, learning and travelling. Surprisingly, I found it in banking!”
I am lucky to say that my career has given me a lot. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and meet a lot of different persons with different backgrounds, which I enjoy. It has given me the opportunity to learn about different cultures and different ways of behaviour. My career is a mind opening experience where I was (and still am) constantly pushed to do better.
“If you feel like your boss is not giving you the opportunities to grow or is not seeing you progress the way you want to progress, either change boss or change jobs.” When an ex-senior manager of mine told me this, I immediately thought, “yeah right, that’s definitely going to happen”. However, she was right. When I look back at my career so far, I see some of my bosses as my mentors, even though they weren’t my official mentors. They pushed me to do greater things in my career.
Back when I first worked in Brussels, I was fed up with work one day. My boss happened to walk past me and ask me if I was okay. I exclaimed, “ I want to do something different and work in a different location.” She immediately jumped onto this and asked, “well, what would you like to do and where?” She went to the manager in charge and asked them for ways to help me get out of my situation. In three simple words: I was shocked. She really pushed me to live out my full potential, giving me the opportunity to move to London. She saw me in the position that I am in right now and helped me boost my confidence. She really believed in me, helped me step out of my comfort zone and put me onto the path that I am on right now. Can you believe that I have been a Relationship Manager for 20+ years?
This is actually a piece of advice that I would not only give to my younger self, but younger people who are interested in the world of finance. Get out of your comfort zone! One of the best and worst experiences of my professional life was when I had to give my first presentation to a client. My manager had come up to me and asked if I could do the presentation, since the co-worker who was going to do it called in sick. I didn’t feel up to it and we even had a huge argument. She had told me that I knew the material better than anyone else in the room and there was no reason why I shouldn’t do it and that, anyway, I really didn’t have a choice. I ended up doing the presentation, it went well as I could answer all the questions and I was grateful to her for pushing me.
In that moment, I learnt that the more you step out of your comfort zone, the more confident you become. And the more confident you become, the more comfortable you become with unexpected situations. Yes, there are going to be moments where you don’t know the answers to certain questions and it’s OK not to know everything about a subject. Sometimes you need that kick to take the extra step, but you will be proud that you did it!
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