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Poojya ManjunathPoojya Manjunath, Senior Digital Innovation Manager at Lloyds Banking Group has held a number of roles across IT and Digital in her seven years with the Group. She is the first colleague from the bank to be shortlisted in the Asian Women of Achievement Awards. Part of the Women of the Future programme, the awards recognise outstanding contributions and remarkable performance within an organisation. They aim to  help  showcase ethnic diversity across senior positions, stimulate a pro-diversity debate and identify role models for future generations – all factors that Lloyds is passionate about as part of its Inclusion and Diversity agenda.  Poojya has been shortlisted in the Business category of the Awards.

We talk to Poojya about her career journey at Lloyds Banking Group her achievements, as well as her award nomination, and ask what winning would mean to her.

How have you arrived at your current position at Lloyds?

“I’ve actually taken a very non-conventional route to get to where I am today.  When I say my degree is in Medical Sciences and I’m an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the response I usually get is “so how have you ended up in banking?”  And I guess it’s because I joined into a communications-based role pretty soon after I had completed my marketing qualification.  But the fact that I’ve been at the bank for seven years now and been able to move around the organisation doing different roles is testament to Lloyds being diverse not just in gender and ethnicity, but diverse in the opportunities colleagues are able to have here – it’s probably as diverse as my academic background!

I joined in 2010 as Business Operations Manager to the Retail Chief Information Office (CIO) and whilst my role was primarily managing the operations of the HBOS and Lloyds TSB retail bank integration, I was put into that role to focus on the communications strategy for the CIO given I had just completed my Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification.  I then moved into another communications-focussed role in 2012, this time I was the Communications Manager for the Group IT Chief Operating Office (COO).  Following this, I moved into a project management role in IT, where I was responsible for outsourcing around 75 IT services.

It was at the end of 2013 when I joined Group Digital as Executive Assistant (EA) to Zak Mian.  Over the two and a half years I was Zak’s EA, I had so many varied responsibilities, most notably, assisting him with designing the Group Customer Journey Transformation (CJT) programme.  I worked to help prioritise which of the ten core customer journeys we should go after to transform and re-define internal processes/policies, operating models, architecture and culture.  These transformation journeys are now helping over 12 million customers – that’s the population of Greece!

“I’ve always just embraced whatever’s been put in front of me and taken it as an opportunity to learn and improve myself. I’ve had to put in a lot of hard work to get where I am, it hasn’t been easy, but that’s one of the great things about Lloyds… we’re a meritocratic organisation that recognises and rewards in the right way for hard work and a job well done.”

Working on transforming the Group got me even more passionate about our colleagues, customers and our Helping Britain Prosper plan – and that’s why it only seemed fitting my next role be in Innovation!  So here I am… I’m currently a Senior Digital Innovation Manager in Group Digital and Transformation’s Innovation Labs.  In this role, I’m responsible for concept development and rapid prototyping to serve the needs of Lloyds’ 30 million customers.  Proof of Concepts (PoCs) I’ve worked on include Mortgage Transformation, Open Banking and most recently Commercial Servicing Transformation”.

What do you think has contributed to your successes and achievements?

“A couple of things.  Firstly, I’ve always just embraced whatever’s been put in front of me and taken it as an opportunity to learn and improve myself.  I’ve had to put in a lot of hard work to get where I am, it hasn’t been easy, but that’s one of the great things about Lloyds… we’re a meritocratic organisation that recognises and rewards in the right way for hard work and a job well done.

The second thing and probably the biggest contributor to my success is the people around me.  As much as I’ve worked hard throughout my career, it’s those people who have continuously championed me, challenged me and encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone,  and most importantly, inspired me to be as awesome as them!  I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with, and be working with, some great colleagues and they’ve shown me great opportunities, mentorship and advocacy, and completely role modelled all the right values and behaviours.  I owe my success to them as much as I do my own efforts”.

Asian Women of AchievementHow do you feel about being the first person from Lloyds to ever be shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and what would it mean to win?

“I’m absolutely over the moon to be shortlisted, very proud and very excited about what this means for Lloyds!  As honoured and humbled as I am to be shortlisted, I think the real win here is for the bank.  António Horta-Osório has made a very public commitment to get 40% of women into senior positions by 2020 and as an organisation, we have a dedicated network to help our black, asian, minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues. So for Lloyds to be shortlisted in these awards sends a really strong signal that we, a 250 year old organisation, are keeping up with the times and serious about moving in the right direction.  I’m very proud to be representing the Group in these awards.

It is a huge accolade and I hope I’m not the last person to be shortlisted either. It’s been great to raise the profile of these 18 year old awards across LBG and I think there’s a huge opportunity now to raise the profile of all those other talented Asian women we have across the organisation.

Whether I win or not, I’m committed with the rest of the Digital senior leadership team to continue to be role models to other colleagues and continue to trailblaze on our BAME targets (currently, Group Digital & Transformation have the highest number of colleagues in this segment than any other division in Lloyds).  Also, as Ambassador to the Women of the Future programme, I hope to inspire younger women to take that leap of faith into the unknown – just like I did when I first started at the bank.

If I was to win the Asian Women of Achievement Award next week, it would be absolutely incredible!  It wouldn’t just be me winning, but the Group too – and that would be a great acknowledgement of everyone’s hard work in making Lloyds Banking Group a great place for women and ethnic minorities to thrive.

On a personal level, winning Asian Businesswoman of the Year would fill me with a huge sense of pride – and would also be my way of giving something back to all those special mentors and sponsors who have given me constant support and inspiration.  The award would just be the most perfect way I could thank all those individuals and LBG for so many amazing opportunities.  This achievement would be as much theirs as it is mine!

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