Alison Rose, Chief Executive of The NatWest Group was interviewed by Michal Berkner, M&A Partner at international law firm Cooley, and James Harding, co-founder of Tortoise Media and former Editor of The Times and Director of BBC News, about her insights and thoughts on what will happen to business in Britain after lockdown.
More than 100 people joined the online Business Breakfast, broadcast on Zoom, raising an incredible £11,500 for Jewish Care.
Alison Rose, who has worked at NatWest for more than 27 years after joining as a graduate, talked about the “amazing entrepreneurial spirit of business owners in spite of the current climate,” praising the ability of many businesses who have “had to pivot to remain relevant.”
Alison discussed how the pandemic has impacted what a bank will look like in the future, stating that Covid-19 had brought about “an acceleration of trends that were already happening, such as in person to online and digital transactions and usage.”
She also discussed how the pandemic had “busted some myths about working from home. There is more that can be done from home than people thought and there has been a disruption of business models as a result.”
Interviewer, Michal Berkner, asked Rose what role banks should play in addressing social inequalities and building communities. Alison responded that, “All large organisations have a role to play, and the ethos of being a purpose-led bank is to go beyond being purely transactional.”
Alison spoke about the importance of creating a truly inclusive culture within companies, where talent can thrive and where there are active steps taken to tackle unconscious bias in the workplace.
Michal Berkner asked, “What advice would you give to young women climbing the ladder in a male dominated business environment?”, to which, Alison replied that “The most important thing is to be yourself. In some ways, you will have a desire to conform to what’s in the room, and you shouldn’t do that. If you have to change the fundamentals of who you are, the company is the wrong one for you. Get a supportive environment around you. Continuously invest in yourself; keep learning and developing and be proactive, put your hand up, take risks.”
Lord Howard Leigh, Chair of Jewish Care’s Business Breakfast Committee said:
“We are delighted that Alison, Michal and James were able to give their time to provide us with interesting and valuable insights in these extraordinary times. Alison Rose impressed us all with her candour for the challenges ahead, and the responsibilities which businesses now have to bear.”
Adam Overlander-Kaye, Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement at Jewish Care said:
“We are grateful to all those supporters who were able to join us and especially Cooley for sponsoring the event. Jewish Care relies on the generosity of its donors and the funds raised today will make a real difference to the residents in our care homes and those across the community who are relying on our vital services to support them at home at this extremely challenging time.”