The harder you work, the luckier you get

In honour of International Women’s Day on 8th March we caught up with Sophie Alderton and Megan Rump, two incredible women who took their careers (and lives) by the reigns, after joining the Ivy House Programme. Selected as part of Nationwide’s Women in Leadership programme, Sophie and Megan share their experiences and journeys to becoming extraordinary leaders, and creating their extraordinary lives…

Sophie’s story

“I am currently a Branch Manager for Nationwide in Saffron Walden. Since joining Nationwide as a cashier three and a half years ago I have worked extremely hard to be promoted through Cashier, Host, Personal Banking Manager, Customer Service Manager, Assistant Branch Manager and now Branch Manager.

Until Ivy House, I would have said I got where I was through luck, but there is that famous saying of ‘the harder you work the luckier you get’. I have to agree, I now realise how hard I have pushed myself to be where I am now. My drive comes from watching my team learn and grow, nothing pleases me more than them being successful.

It took me until the age of 24 to find the right career for me.

Throughout school I knew I wanted to be a police officer – it was my only dream. When I finished my A-levels I applied to the police force and after six months of assessments and training I made it – I got my dream job! I loved every minute of my two and a half years as a police officer but the reality was, with every passing day, as much as I loved what I was doing, I realised it really wasn’t the job for me – but I had no ambition for anything else.

I left the police and bumbled around in various different jobs, never really finding the right thing – the job that made me leap out of bed and actually want to go to work. I would look at my friends and see people that knew what they wanted to do and I still woke up in the morning and dreaded going to work. I hated not knowing what I wanted to do – it’s so frustrating.

But then I joined Nationwide as a cashier. Now I’ll be honest, at the start I didn’t have a single desire to sit as a cashier – I had no ideas it would be that start of my new dream. From the day I joined the team I never looked back. I feel at home, I love every aspect of what I do. It’s hard and often underrated but it’s the job for me.”

To top it off, Sophie has recently been nominated for an award by her colleagues for her commitment to her development and desire to share her learnings across the business. Here’s an extract from Sophie’s nomination:

“As a new Branch Manager, Sophie has brought a refreshing and different dimension to our team. I have been inspired and humbled by Sophie’s commitment to her learning and development as a leader. Sophie earned a place on the prestigious Ivy House development programme; an opportunity which she has fully embraced. In front of her peers she openly pledged to use an aspect of the programme on a daily basis and is happy to be challenge on this personal goal.”

Megan’s story

I am a Branch Manager at Nationwide and my role consists of me leading and empowering a team people to achieve our branch and society goals ranging from delivering ‘Legendary Service’ to looking for ways to make our members financially better off. One of my favourite things about my job is that I get to support, coach and develop my people; being able to do this gives me a real sense of fulfilment and achievement and is something I absolutely love.

I began working as a Customer Representative (cashier) 5 years ago and I soon realised that my passions lie with people and that I wanted to go down the leadership route. I had a vision of what I wanted and a plan of how I was going to achieve it; I had to become an expert in my other roles and take on extra ownership and responsibilities to showcase my leadership skills and after three years and a lot of interviews I achieved my goal of leading my own team. I wouldn’t say my ideal job has changed over time, rather it has taken me a very long time to realise what my ideal job is – I spent a lot of time not knowing what I wanted to do.

The biggest challenges I have had to overcome have been from within, my self-confidence and trust in my own abilities has always been something I have struggled with and I see a lot of other women struggle with too. From experience in my place of work, the women around me tend to feel as though they are ‘not quite ready’ for the next job opportunity or they are ‘not sure’ about taking the next step and this sometimes prevents us from achieving our goals. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be part of the Ivy House programme who helped me be more confident in my abilities, given me the tools and knowledge of what it takes to be an extraordinary leader and feel overall more contentment and happiness in my life. I am so excited for what my future holds!

We can’t wait to see what is next for these two talented women.

If you recognise yourself in these stories, or if you’re looking for a programme to support your Women in Leadership population, we should talk.

By Ivy House
4th March 2020

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