Our Chief Financial Officer Francesca Hampton has been awarded CEO Today’s Business Woman of the Year Awards 2021. You can read her featured article below which was published in CEO Today's Business Woman of the Year Awards 2021 magazine.
Francesca joined Cynergy Bank as Chief Financial Officer in September 2016, having previously qualified as a Chartered Accountant specialising in Corporate Finance and M&A activity. Prior to this, she spent 19 years at RBS in various senior positions including CFO of Lombard, RBS Invoice Finance and RBS Global Transaction Services. Having had previous experience at challenger banks including Co-op Bank and Metro Bank, Francesca is a key force driving Cynergy Bank forward as a leading human digital bank. She is a passionate CFO who ensures that the Bank is a leader in delivering a customer focused relationship managed service enhanced by digital technology.
Outside of her work with Cynergy Bank Francesca has sponsored many initiatives that focus on personal development, change and diversity and inclusion and is an advocate for female progression and flexibility for working parents. Her charity initiative connects children in the UK to support children living in poverty in Asia and Francesca is also an active Governor and member of the Finance Committee at Hurstpierpoint College.
About Cynergy Bank
Cynergy Bank is the UK’s human digital bank serving the needs of ‘scale up’ or medium sized and fast-growing SMEs; professionals; high net worth and mass affluent individuals. The Cynergy Bank human digital model transforms banking for those customers who value a seamless blend of human interaction, enabled by the latest digital technology.
What has been the most challenging part of your job during the past 12 months?
With the impact of COVID-19 creating uncertainty, the safety and wellbeing of our customers and our staff was our number one priority. We immediately put robust plans in place to minimise disruption to the business services we provide to our customers and to support our people, all the way through the organisation.
The Board and shareholders were keen to understand, at speed, the impact of the initial shock, and the unfolding of the pandemic we are in, on the bank and how we could mitigate risks ahead, and looking for some sort of certainty upon which they could base decisions. Management were looking for guidance, decisions, and support so that they could continue to operate at their best in supporting customers and staff, and each colleague needed reassurance over their role security, a steer on adapting the
business. Last year was all about leadership, leadership, leadership!
Being visible became so important yet so different via video; relationships became even more important and motivating teams to overcome the initial shock and in the more recent times, pandemic fatigue, took an incredible amount of energy. Through all of this, everyone was also coping with our personal situations at home and the worry and the uncertainty our families were going through.
What’s your favourite thing about being a CFO?
I love being a CFO as it is a role that is at the heart of the organisation. The numbers are an outcome of a set of people and market behaviours and allow me to understand the whole of the organisation - how it is performing but more importantly why it behaves in a certain way. My teams and I are involved in all areas of the business and get to be a part of the most exciting developments and the hardest challenges,
which constantly test me, and develop us.
The best part of being a leader is seeing individuals develop and perform at their best. They bring a smile to my face every time they accomplish something new.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I have a life plan which covers my work, family and my hopes and dreams for the future. This involves further challenging myself at work, supporting charities and hopefully having some fun along the way which includes spending time with my children and riding horses. I hope I can put much of it into action but one thing we have all learned from this pandemic is to be flexible with our plans! I am proud to be part of an exciting journey with Cynergy Bank which we are part way through. I am an active governor at Hurstpierpoint College, I am lucky to be surrounded by some wonderful people in my life and I am privileged to mentor some and see them develop. I enjoy giving back to the community through charity work when I can and I am making good use of the experience and expertise I have gained to support profit and non-profit ventures. I am looking forward to putting my experience and knowledge to good use.
What’s your advice to younger women who work in finance and want to make it to the C-Suite?
I am proud and lucky enough to mentor a variety of young women and men and my advice is quite similar to both.
Firstly, be yourself and be comfortable with who you are and what you are achieving. This takes self-awareness and feedback from people around you. Choose to accept or reject feedback, but remember when you are given honest feedback, it is a gift – so try to treat it as such.
Find opportunities to challenge yourself and take risks with your roles. Women tend to be more conservative in looking at new roles and their abilities. Try to have moments in your career when you step right outside your comfort zone. Be open with your bosses about what you are aiming for and for those who want a family along the way plan it into your career and don’t let it hold you back; those days have gone!
Recognise that you will have failures and things may not always go as planned. Learn from them, dust yourself off and don’t over analyse them. Find yourself a great mentor or ideally a couple, and make sure you invest time in yourself regularly.
Finally, have fun along the way. Life is too short and if you find yourself unfulfilled, bored or trapped, then change something – your role, your boss or the company.