Courage, confidence and career jumps: Frances’ story

This International Women’s Day, we're celebrating our colleagues whose journeys #breakthebias.

Frances' career pivoted from advertising and marketing into various areas of risk management, and most recently into cyber risk. Today, she is responsible for raising cyber security awareness among our clients and plays a key role in shaping the global cyber security risk culture at Standard Chartered. Outside of work, she is pursuing a graduate certificate in Law and Technology at a local university. She proves that age is only a number and should never limit us in any endeavour.

My first foray into risk management was at a previous firm as the Head of Client Engagement. I led a project to improve data protection processes and raised clients’ awareness of their personal data and privacy rights. The ‘protection’ aspect of it resonated with me and I found it to be meaningful work. I knew then that risk management was an area I wanted to pursue.

From marketing to risk management

As I looked for opportunities in that space, I had moments of self-doubt - Am I too old to make a career switch? And into an area that I have no experience in? After all, risk management is not a natural career progression for most creative or marketing professionals, especially at mid-career.

Those concerns started to fade after joining Standard Chartered. The Bank didn’t look at my age or my lack of experience. Instead, it gave me opportunities to stretch and flourish, with inspiring mentors who counselled and helped me tap into my marketing skills to complement my growing risk management knowledge. Advertising taught me to be nimble, marketing taught me to be adaptable, risk management taught me to be analytical – skills that are essential in driving results and developing solutions for challenges in evolving internal and external risk landscapes.

Levelling up - a new chapter in cyber security risk

Six years into my risk career, the increase in cybercrime raised my interest in cyber risk. However, I thought the topic was too technical and was initially too intimidated to pursue it in my forties. Nevertheless, I applied and was accepted into the Bank’s inaugural Cyber Acceleration Programme where I gained practical knowledge about cyber risk prevention and management. This gave me the confidence to go after another career switch into cyber security.

Pause, plan and pivot

My experience in Standard Chartered empowered me to be courageous in pursuing my career interests and challenged me to break my own boundaries to achieve greater potential.

Someone recently asked me what tip I would give to others who are doubting themselves like I did. We all need to Pause and reflect on who we are, what we want to do and what our boundaries are. Then, Plan how you will break the boundaries. Finally, Pivot towards your goal with that plan in mind.