Giulia is a Tech Marvel. She’s on our Transformation Graduate Leadership Programme. Giulia tells us what she has discovered so far.
Your choice – Be clear about it
Banks need to keep developing their technologies so that they can create the best digital experiences for their customers. This is why I chose the technology sector for my career, even though I’m not necessarily considered a ‘techie’.
It was clear to me that I wanted to be at the pioneering end of modern banking, shaping change, breaking new ground.
Discovery – Free thinkers do well
I actually studied Chinese and Politics at university and was a volunteer teacher in Shanghai for a year. So I’m naturally inquisitive about what’s going on in the world, and passionate about the languages and tools that people use to communicate. This is another reason why the digital world excites me so much.
It’s a communications revolution that’s helping everyone to bank in a more agile way – where they want, when they want and how they want. Free thinkers like me are attracted to the Transformation Graduate Leadership Programme.
You don’t necessarily need a STEM degree, just curiosity for how technology connects people and makes business run better.
University days – Leading, volunteering
At university I was leader of the Dance Society, which gave me the opportunity to spend time in Shanghai, preparing a female dance troupe for a performance that was broadcast across China on state television.
I was also leader of the Language Society, where I taught Mandarin Chinese to UK students who wanted to learn the basics.
And I was a member of the Entrepreneurship Society and the Lifestyle Club. Through these I got into fundraising for cancer research.
It’s important to volunteer – the right thing to do, to be a good citizen of the world.
Volunteering – Pass things on, it matters
Here at Lloyds Banking Group, I’m a team leader in a Group-wide initiative for graduates to fundraise and volunteer.
My contribution is Mandarin classes for beginners and I’ll be donating the proceeds to the BBC’s Children in Need charity.
I also participate in alumni and career events, sharing my experience with undergraduates so that they can find their paths in life.
It’s my way of showing appreciation for the people who’ve helped me on my development journey.
Who am I? – Dependable
I’ve discovered that I have a passion for work that has a purpose, and for breaking new ground. I think of myself as a person who finishes what they start, and I do my best to deliver to the highest standard.
I’m also true to my word – if I make a promise, I keep it. And if something goes wrong, I make a point of not blaming other people.
I try to be these things, inside and outside work.
Who am I? – Independent
I also have an independent streak. At 17 I moved out of my parents’ house, changed school and worked to support myself.
At 19 I decided to leave Italy and study abroad, so I packed my bags, came to the UK and got accepted at my first choice university.
I also knew I wanted to see more of the world, hence my year in China, which was one of the best experiences of my life.
Starting my graduate career – A new lifestyle
This is my first job as a graduate, and the first thing I discovered seems obvious but is actually quite significant. I discovered that after years of studying, I could finally establish a routine, because now my days start and end at around the same time.
As a student, I had lectures here, seminars and tutorials there, and pretty much everyone I met and socialised with was a student. But this is a new lifestyle. I go to work every day with people from all kinds of backgrounds, and at different stages in their lives to mine. It might sound ridiculous, but this makes me feel more grounded, like I’m in the mainstream of life.
My days are fuller now, which means I have to plan my downtime more efficiently. Typically this involves quality time with my husband, preparing nice food, practicing my languages, going to the gym and, thanks to my new found financial independence – holidays!
My focus – Digital innovation
At the moment I’m working in digital communications & corporate affairs. My mission is to show the world how Lloyds Banking Group uses digital innovation to make banking better for everyone.
I help with our social media presence, produce content for our digital hub – lloydsbankinggroupdigital.com – analyse trends with Google Analytics and plan digital communication strategies.
My programme – Variety and agility
One of the best things about my programme is the variety – I’m working in an agile way across a number of digital teams.
These placements are carefully thought-out. They make sure you and your line manager are the right fit, in terms of what you want from each other and what you can offer each other. And there’s a development committee that checks that my experience is meeting my expectations – it’s a fair and open system, with the graduate’s development at the centre.
From the beginning we’re encouraged to spend time with other teams, because that’s how we get to understand how the business works. For example, on my first placement I spent time with the various product managers so that I could understand the processes that go on into developing our products in the digital space.
Now I’m in Communications, working with a variety of teams supporting their very different activities.
All in all it's giving me a rounded overview of the Group’s digital presence and activities.
Defining moments – All my placements
I’d say all the placements on my programme are defining me, as I discover different parts of me. I think of the programme as an opportunity to gain expert support as I become a young leader, taking ownership of projects and running with them.
My first placement was my steepest learning curve. I was totally new to banking, let alone digital banking.
They were so patient, they taught me so much. And at the end of it I had a moment of truth. I realised that, even though I came with a layperson’s grasp of the digital world, I was capable of developing competencies in the basics of digital risk. This boosted my self-confidence.
The feeling was priceless. And it’s made me want to take on more challenges, to reach my potential.
Being valued – I’m a leader in the making
Graduates at Lloyds Banking Group aren’t seen as ‘extra hands’, we’re seen as leaders in the making. From day one of our graduate journey, we’re given responsibilities and encouraged to manage our own projects.
We spend our first few days meeting the teams, finding out who does what and how they can help us, then we go to it. No time is wasted. It’s fantastic learning to become a leader at a young age, with these resources behind me, discovering my strengths in the workplace.
Discovery – My weaknesses aren’t a concern
Interestingly, I’m also discovering that my weaknesses aren’t really a concern, for two reasons.
Firstly, because once we’re aware of our weaknesses, we can start to turn them around and make them work for us.
And secondly, everyone has something worthwhile to contribute. We can’t be strong at everything, so weaknesses are natural – we all have them.
Accepting this helps us to accept ourselves, and frees us up to perform better.
The thinking – It’s very human
I like the way they think here – I feel valued for my human qualities. My ideas are heard, my efforts are praised, my work is appreciated. I get to shape projects that inspire me, and to volunteer for causes that I feel passionate about.
I have options to make my work schedule more agile, so I can mould it around my needs, not just those of the business. And I’m discovering my strengths as a leader and as a communicator.
On this programme I can express myself fully, and be who I truly am.
Beyond work – Making plans
Outside of work, I’m focused on married life and making plans with my husband. There’s so much we want to achieve as a couple, and he’s just as ambitious as I am, so I believe we’ll go far together.
Even though we work in different offices, we want to start a business together – and the Group’s policy around agile working supports this. We want to bring out the best in each other, as a team. Next year we’re planning a trip to China, and a few weekend breaks in European cities.
I’d also like to learn one more language – I know, crazy since I already speak five! I may even coax my husband into learning Italian, even though he’s not too excited about it. But hey, I make the effort to speak his language, so it’s only fair!
Advice – No suits or heels
You want to know what I’d say to a student who’s considering applying for the Transformation programme…
Well, first of all, you can build a solid professional foundation here. The learning culture is deep and the development experience is broad – people know where you’re coming from and are ready to support you. The atmosphere in Digital is informal but professional. You don’t see many of us wearing suits or heels – sometimes it’s hard to believe we’re a bank!
Ping pong tables, bean bags and breakout spaces make things comfortable, and you get good technical equipment to work with. Your workspace isn’t fixed, so you can sit wherever you like – perfect for when you’re collaborating with different teams to get work done.
Advice – Be the change you want to see
You might have a pre-conception of the banking world. Maybe you think it’s formal, boring and repetitive, but that’s not my experience. We’re in an era where technology is transforming everything. And the exciting thing is that we’re the generation that can make the changes we want to see.
We decide what the future will look like. And more than ever, we can involve customers – people like you and me – in this decision-making process. We’re the ones doing the pioneering, innovating, communicating. And we’re preparing to lead it. For me, that’s a really empowering career promise!
My life’s changing as fast as the digital world is. I’m constantly identifying new trends and exploring new ideas – pioneering, innovating, communicating.