We are passionate about promoting gender equality and empowering women at the workplace and beyond. For over 10 years, we have been working with Debate Mate, an innovative global business that provides leadership and communication training to help participants develop life skills to achieve their full potential.
We caught up with Deepa Ramsunder, Director of Conduct, Financial Crime and Compliance Assurance, Europe & Americas, to discuss her experience as one of our first US Debate Mate cohort, which was aimed at supporting our female colleagues, and how her professional and personal development has evolved.
What impact did Debate Mate have on you?
Deepa: The Debate Mate programme consisted of a series of workshops aimed at developing a core set of communication and leadership skills. In so many ways, the program was an eye-opener for me as it allowed me to view communication styles from a different perspective. I have used many of the tips I learnt on the program, particularly the structure for making a persuasive case and convincing others of my point of view. I work in the Assurance function, where we are required to critically assess controls and often convey difficult messages to stakeholders, so this is a very relevant skill for me.
Debate Mate served as a good reminder that communication skills are critical to career development and these skills can be learned and improved. The session about listening really struck a chord with me. During the programme, I realised that I could work on listening better, and it’s certainly helped me both at work and at home. I am not surprised, because listening, paradoxical as it may seem, is a pivotal tenet of good communication.
The program was an eye-opener for me, and allowed me to view my communication skills from different perspective
What was your favourite part of Debate Mate?
Deepa: My favourite part from the programme was learning about engaging in constructive disagreement with the Acknowledge, Identify and Explain (AIE) approach. This approach ensures that a potential clash is diffused and turns the conversation into a constructive and respectful discussion.
What advice do you have for future Debate Mate participants?
Deepa: First, have an open mind. When I was nominated to participate in Debate Mate, I didn’t know much about the programme, but I was curious and was ready to learn. It turned out to be an enriching experience.
Second, never stop learning. It is easy for us to get caught up in the daily grind, but there are several learning and development opportunities that the Bank makes available for all employees. We need to utilise these opportunities. If we keep a lifelong learning and growth mindset, career progression is sure to follow.