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17 things I wish I knew when I was 18

4 min read

When you think of Fintech what do you think of? Bearded Shoreditch hipsters, right? Ok, now how about the sort of person who runs a bank? Pale, male and stale? Controversial isn’t it? Here at Atom we’re not about stereotypes. We have a place for you if you’ve got what it takes to achieve great things, whatever your gender, race, sexuality or even your choice of facial hair (or lack thereof).

That’s why we signed up for Women in Finance Charter

. We’re committed to creating a culture of inclusivity which we strive towards every single day. And today being International Women's Day we’ve asked women across the Atom family what advice they would give their younger selves. Here’s our little sprinkle of inspiration from some very special women kicking the backsides of banking and Fintech every day. Enjoy.

1. “Know what you are good at and be able to position that as a strength. Do not be afraid of differentiating yourself from others – after all, who wants to be part of the crowd?" Sarah Anderson, Learning and Development Manager

2. “Don’t be scared – be confident in your knowledge and skills. You know much more than you think you do and your contribution could end up making a huge difference to the success of the company so don’t be afraid to pipe up!” Laura Farnworth, Head of Legal

3. “Trust your instincts and put more energy into changing things for the better than pretending to be someone you’re not." Clare Framrose, Head of Customer Propositions

4. “Always be true to yourself and stand up for what you believe in. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not to fit in with an industry or do what you think people expect of you.  Knowing that you got where you are with integrity and by holding true to your values is a great way to be successful and to feel good about what you’ve achieved.” Maria Harris, Director of Retail Mortgages

5. “When speaking at events and meetings, slow down, imagine you are listening to yourself speak; it helps you formulate your views and deliver them in a more deliberate and considered way. You’ll remove the risk of saying things too quickly and you’ll also bring your listeners along on the journey with you. It’s a confidence thing, but the more you practice, the more natural it becomes.” Leanne Judge, Business Project Manager

6. “Don’t worry about what others think. You’ll never know. Focus on yourself and what you think. Be confident, speak with conviction and stand tall (even if you’re small) and always always BE YOU.” Anne-Marie Lister, Head of People Experience

7. “Listen - Listen to your clients. Listen to your colleagues. Listen to your managers. Take everything you hear and learn from it. Lastly listen to your heart, you know when to do the right thing and you know when you hear the truth. Set yourself your own goals in life and you can achieve anything.” Karen McGrath, Regional Development Manager

8. “Don’t spend so much energy being self-critical and humble about achievements. Accept the praise and don’t be shy in letting others know about strengths, ideas and ambitions.” Rachael McLauchlan, Chief Audit Executive

9. “You’ll not always be everyone’s cup of tea so stop trying too hard to get everyone to like you. Be yourself, take time to listen and don’t allow others to put you down. It’s not a man’s world, regardless of the impression you might well have had. And remember, it’s ok to speak up with a strong regional accent so be accepting of where you come from.“ Paula Mercer, Regional Business Development

10. “When I left my Journalism degree I would have told myself to travel, then travel more, learn cultural and professional differences, explore my strengths and improve my breadth of technical knowledge. Trust your instincts. Travel will come naturally and doing the rest will be key to professional roles ahead. If you think you’ll end up making documentaries about hippos, think again!” Sarah-Jane Reed, Project Manager

11. “Have a bit more confidence and faith in yourself and go for it. If you try something and it doesn’t work out, it’s not failure – it’s experience – and who knows, it could be a fun adventure too." Katy Ringsdore, Head of PR and Internal Communications

12. “Don’t be a shrinking violet in meetings. Don’t just speak for the hell of it, but if you’ve got something useful to say then have a bit of confidence and speak up. What’s the worst that could happen?” Cath Sheldon, Content and Social Media Manager

13. "Do not be swayed by people telling you that you need to change who you are to get on, show people how good you are by being the best at what you do and doing things the right way, the proof will be in the pudding & you will achieve anything you want to." Cassie Stephenson, Intermediary Support Manager

14. “Always be yourself, not what you think others expect you to be. You’ll learn, develop and change as you progress through your career but always stay true to your values and what you stand for. Integrity is at the heart of being a successful leader and team player.” Amanda Stott, Head of Portfolio & Programme Management Office

15. “Stop worrying, relax and enjoy it. You are good at what you do, concentrate on that not on what others might be thinking and above all obey your instincts, they are sound.” Gillian Tiplady, Head of Legal, Retail Banking

16. "Ask questions all the time – the more you ask the more you will understand, and the more you challenge and question the more you will influence change and improve how things are done.” Helen Wilson, Head of Customer Service

17. “I’d have told myself not to undersell myself and be more confident in my own point of view. Take time to understand what you bring to the table and don’t shy away from letting others know!” Lisa Wood, Chief Marketing Officer