Papa is a Branch Manager in our Walton on Thames branch. He joined the society in 2008 as a Customer Representative. Here he discusses his Nationwide experience so far, and why he decided to join the ethnicity network.
I joined Nationwide Building Society as a Customer Representative in the Brighton West Street Branch in April 2008, having worked in various customer service roles in previous organisations. It was my first financial services job and I’m still very proud to have joined.
My uncle sparked my interest in banking at a young age, but I also wanted an organisation that had the right ethics and ethos I could work with. There was volatility in the financial sector at the time, so it was crucial for me to join the right company.
My first bank account was with Nationwide and I was thrilled with the way the consultant helped me - I’ve since visited the branch to open a second account. Having got chatting to the consultant about what they did and what Nationwide was like as an employer, I applied to join the branch network as soon as I saw a vacancy.
Inclusivity in the workplace
Since joining the society I’ve been able to excel and bring all my qualities to the fore, and I've been privileged to work with some really great managers that believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be who I am.
“ If you have the drive, Nationwide will give you the platform to be successful regardless of your ethnic background. I believe strongly in the Society’s plan for inclusivity and I’m an advocate for the society in terms of how they support employees from different background to be the best they can be and the society’s vision to represent the community we work in. ”
When I started with Nationwide I had the complex that being from a different ethnic background, things might be different for me so I joined Nationwide’s ethnicity network to share my experiences with people, help managers learn about inclusive management and also share my experiences with people who might relate to what I've to say.
I do think one of the key factors as to why I’ve been able to excel is thanks to the BAME (Black, Asian, minority ethnic) mentoring circle. The network helps improve the representation of BAME at higher levels of the management structure of NBS.
I got involved last year, and being in the circle helped me a lot in terms of shaping my career- specifically knowing what I wanted and how best to achieve it. It was the guidance that I needed and when the next opportunity came along, I was ready.
“ The experience I gained from the BAME mentoring circle has been invaluable hence why I wanted the opportunity to mentor this year. I now have 5 mentees. ”
Now, I’m proud to have been part of the first BAME mentoring circles, and it's helped me gain a recent promotion.
I never had any reservations or misconceptions about joining the Ethnicity Network (EMah- Ethnic Minorities aiming high) because I fell in love with the concept of inclusiveness. Also, being in a minority it was always going to be beneficial to myself personally and people from other backgrounds to share ideas, discuss issues and help the society reach its stated objective of increasing the population of employees from BAME backgrounds. I feel there is a lot that can be achieved with this and there is more to come.
“ Most of my friend’s work for large companies and most of them have an Ethnicity Network of some sort focusing on advancing employee’s development within their organisation. ”
My experience of the ethnicity network
The network has given me a great platform; it's helped me to build my network a great deal and has given me a bigger audience in the advancement of ethnicity in Nationwide. I feel with the position that I am in, I can support my colleagues, the society and the community at large.
I recently attended the BAME mentoring circle as a guest speaker - I was invited to share my story and what I've learned from being a mentee. The feedback that I received afterwards was really inspirational.
Find out more
To find out more about ED&I at Nationwide, see our Networks page or join in on twitter via @NBSEmployees using #NBSDiversity.