Making and sharing connections: Kirsty’s story

Kirsty explains how trust and the ability to connect are at the heart of her role

Kirsty Garrett, Senior Relationship Manager, Global Banking

United Kingdom

For a relationship manager, the word ‘relationship’ has several connotations, but for me it’s about connections; how we connect to others and how we behave toward one another. In my day-to-day role it is my responsibility to ensure that all parts of the Bank are pulling together to give our clients the best possible experience, while simultaneously working with clients to unlock opportunities. Consequently, it is important that I am able to establish and maintain strong internal and external relationships.

In addition to my relationship management responsibilities, I am involved with the diversity initiatives at Standard Chartered. I am a passionate believer in diversity in our workforce – not only of gender, but also of social and cultural background, working style, communication approaches and so on. Diversity is a critical attribute when each of our clients and product partners have different wants and needs – and only through diversity of approach can we meet those needs. There is room for every type of person in this role. I also believe it is incumbent on all senior women, particularly, to help lift others – as it was only through the efforts of those who came before us that any of us have the opportunity to succeed today.

I firmly believe that being generous with my time and contacts is among the most important attributes for my role”

I recently had a timely reminder of how important these initiatives can be. I received a LinkedIn message from a name I recognised but couldn’t place. It turned out I had first met this individual over a decade ago at an event to encourage smart students from deprived areas to apply to university and consider professional careers – and had offered her a couple of days of work experience. Over a coffee, she said how valuable that time she had spent with me was, as it opened her eyes to what is possible, and now she has a very successful career. I was so grateful she had got in touch as I wouldn’t have had any idea otherwise. It was further proof to me that connecting with others can have unexpected but positive benefits.

I spend my day juggling many competing priorities and interests. This can sometimes seem overwhelming, so a genuine interest in engaging with and helping others is crucial. I firmly believe that being generous with my time and contacts is among the most important attributes for my role. It’s a trait I’ve seen in many others here at Standard Chartered, too.

I joined the Bank in December 2017, having spent many years working in foreign exchange at various other banks. Consequently, while my client and external network was strong, there were lots of internal relationships that I needed to foster with product experts – and quickly! My manager and colleagues have all been quick to make introductions and share their knowledge with me. It makes such a difference – not only ensuring I can do my job, but also ensuring I enjoy my time at work. I also noticed this with the relationship between the Europe and America’s Management Team. It is clear this is a team that enjoys collaboration, and which is willing to constructively challenge to bring out the best in its members.

Ultimately, being a relationship manager means putting yourself forward as someone others want to do business with. Trust is hard won and easily lost, so maintaining positive relationships is key.

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