Name: Kudzai Zendera
Role: Senior Manager, Balance Sheet & Performance Management, Central Finance Team
I was born and raised in London, but moved to Zimbabwe at the age of 12, along with my two brothers. The move was in part for us to understand the culture and value system of where we originate, but also for us to experience and benefit from the African education system. I loved every year of my time in Zimbabwe and looking back, the 6-7 years I spent there were instrumental in shaping my character. They were the happiest years of my childhood and early adulthood and taught me the value of life, family and friendship.
I returned to England aged 18 and attended The University of Manchester. During my second year, I joined a diversity mentoring scheme which paired me with a professional from my chosen field. This was a game-changer for me. Whilst I was always academic, it was my mentor who taught me how to convey my skillset and achievements, and how to recognise the hidden questions within each application. Without a doubt, she helped change my life and is one of the reasons I feel strongly about giving back to others.
"We should never underestimate the capacity we have to help change somebody else’s life. Irrespective of your seniority, for someone out there, you are exactly the help they need!"
In the past I’ve participated in a voluntary night-school teaching programme which involved teaching GCSE Maths, English and Science to under-privileged adults. I’ve coached and arranged structured work-experience for students whose access to the corporate world and Financial Services would otherwise be limited. This year, I mentored a young black sixth form student who has successfully secured an apprenticeship with British multi-national engineering company Rolls-Royce and I currently support a charity by providing mentoring to young people from disadvantaged and marginalised communities to improve their employability skills and job prospects.
I worked in various roles across Professional and Financial Services for 13 years prior to joining Standard Chartered in September 2019 as a Senior Manager, Performance and Balance Sheet Management within Group Finance. So far, so good! The approachability of senior management is impressive and demonstrable. I witnessed this earlier in the year when, in response to global events, I sent an open letter to Bill Winters sharing my experiences on race, to which he responded by organising a video call for us to speak personally. This illustrates his character and the inclusive, open-door culture at the bank. Standard Chartered is the most diverse organisation I have worked for and I am a committee member for ONE UK, the Employee Resource Group for racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion within SCB UK. This year, via ONE UK, I am proud to have co-founded the annual celebration of Black History Month for SCB UK. This is a pivotal milestone for ONE UK and SCB UK and will help to create a more inclusive culture that recognises and celebrates the diverse heritage of our staff.
I feel re-energised by my first year at Standard Chartered and believe I have the support and opportunities to build a successful career here. However, in addition to building my own career, it remains a personal imperative to continue supporting others less fortunate or in need of assistance. We should never underestimate the capacity we have to help change somebody else’s life. Irrespective of your seniority, for someone out there, you are exactly the help they need!