Mischa Lumiere is Head of Customer Propositions at Lloyds Banking Group. This year, she has been featured on the Women in Fintech Powerlist 2017 along with three colleagues; Claire Calmejane, Sophie Bialaszewski and Andrea Melville.
Here, we talk to Mischa about her career so far.
Tell us about your current role at Lloyds Banking Group and your career path to get here
I started my career working for a large global marketing research agency in the consumer insights team. This was an amazing first career because I got to work on some of the best brands in the world such as The Coca Cola Company, Heinz and Procter & Gamble. I also got the chance to interact with consumers from all over the world, in places like Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro.
After working for five years, I made the decision to pursue my MBA. I chose the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, a phenomenal program, because I wanted to round out my liberal arts university degree with more formal and technical business training. I then spent the next stage of my career working for a number of Fast Moving Consumer Groups (FMCG) companies in Brand/Product Management such as Reckitt Benckiser and E. & J. Gallo Winery.
In 2011, I moved from working in the peaceful California wine country to bustling New York City to join American Express, my first foray in Financial Services. I spent the next five years at American Express, first in New York and then in London. It was at Amex that I first had a chance to engage with FinTech companies while I explored ways to enhance the card propositions.
I then joined Lloyds Banking Group in February 2017 as the Head of Customer Propositions in Retail. My team focuses on putting the customer front and centre of all proposition development. We work collaboratively with colleagues across the bank to design and deliver compelling and commercially sound propositions. These days we spend a lot of our time meeting with and learning from FinTech companies. These start-ups are redefining customer expectations and raising the bar for the traditional banks. There is a lot we can learn from them in terms of agility and speed to market. Currently, we are looking at a number of new propositions for both Personal and Business Banking customers. There are a number of interesting FinTechs in this space, both here in the UK and abroad.
What attracted you to a role at Lloyds Banking Group?
I believe it is a critical moment in the history of financial services as banks and other institutions face increasing pressure from the pace of innovation. When I interviewed with Lloyds, everyone spoke about the transformation the company was undergoing. I thought to myself, finally, a bank that gets it! I think of my role as helping to build the propositions for the bank of the future.
What are some key achievements in your career so far?
One consistent theme throughout my career has been driving innovation by challenging the status quo. This has been proven by the number of different things I achieved across my various roles. For example, during my time at the agency, one of the key things I was involved in was launching a game changing new product testing platform. This had a major positive impact in the company as I was able to reduce client costs by 60%, reduce timelines from five weeks to 11 days and create an entire new business stream for the company. Then, when I worked at Reckitt Benckiser, I convinced the other brand teams to work together and leverage big data. Doing so allowed us to develop specifically targeted multi-product hard water solutions tailored to the local needs of consumers in a way that no other competitor could. Also, while at American Express I negotiated and signed a global partnership with a wi-fi provider that granted premium cardholders unlimited access to wi-fi at over 1M hotspots worldwide.
Who, outside of Lloyds Banking Group, inspires you either personally or professionally?
I’ve always tried to draw inspiration from the people around me. My earliest role model was my grandmother, the woman who raised me. She was extremely tenacious and always knew what she wanted, but she also had a big heart. Throughout my career, I’ve admired individuals who are not afraid to speak their mind. Having a point of view and communicating it clearly and often is such an important skillset to develop. This is true for everyone, but it is especially important for women in business.
How does it feel to be featured on the Women in Fintech Powerlist 2017?
I’m incredibly honoured and humbled. But more than anything I am inspired by all the fabulous women who are breaking through the glass ceiling through their hard work everyday.