At Redwood Bank, our people are firmly at the heart of everything we do. We understand that when you, our customers, work with us, you want and expect a personal relationship to enable quick decision making and flexible solutions. This is why we’ve taken some time out to speak to the people that power Redwood Bank.
Jacqualine Clayden, Executive Assistant to the CFO & CRO
A huge Madonna fan, Jacqualine is Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Risk Officer (CRO). She has been with Redwood since the very beginning and remains committed and passionate to her job. Having learnt to play the tambourine as a child, she now has a child of her own, who keeps her up most nights. Here she tells us what she loves most about Redwood and how she has tackled self-doubt.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My Alexa, on volume six, which blasts out a Madonna mix. It’s the best alarm I’ve ever had.
Any customer feedback that sticks in your mind?
Once, when I was arranging a customer feedback call, the person I was talking to queried whether the CEO would want to hear what she has to say because she was not an “important customer”.
I immediately told her that our CEO values all Redwood customers, no matter who they are or how big or small their business is with us and therefore her feedback would be welcome.
The customer responded saying that “it’s nice to see a new business with fresh ideas but still holding on to strong old-fashioned values”.
What has been your proudest achievement with Redwood to date?
This might actually seem silly to some, but my proudest moment was facing my biggest fear which was representing Redwood externally.
Once the CEO found out what I feared most, I was told I would have to attend not one, but two official functions within a month.
One was an award ceremony and the other was a charity concert where I presented a cheque.
Prior to attending I felt nervous and nauseous every time I thought about the events, but I did it. I attended both functions and even had my photo taken. I conquered my fear and now I welcome a challenge.
What’s the best piece of advice you have received since being at Redwood?
“Never let Gary (the CEO) make you a coffee”, that has been the best advice, he likes it very strong, and it would keep me up for days!
On a more serious note, someone once told me ‘not to doubt what I already know’.
As I had never worked in a start-up business before, I had started to do just that after a few weeks of joining.
All of a sudden, I doubted my own abilities, whether I could get the job done and I started to question everything I knew because it was all so new to me.
One morning I spoke to the CFO who told me to follow my instincts and to keep going. That has stuck with me these past four years and is something I still use if self-doubt starts to creep back into my head.
Challengers vs high street banks – is there a place for both?
Yes, absolutely. What's made Redwood such a strong competitor to the market is the necessary competition.
From high street to challenger, we all offer such different things, which means the ultimate winners are our customers, who are what we focus on.
I started at Redwood when there were only 10 of us sharing a corner of a big office with building works still going on, but even then, I was excited.
I have seen it grow and there are now over 100 staff employed.
In the last four years we’ve been building relationships in the community, expanding whilst holding our place in the market.
In addition, we’ve competed and won awards, beating off stiff competition from some of the big named banks in the industry.
I can only see Redwood growing stronger and stronger and I really think we’re going to become a household name over the next four years and beyond.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in banking?
Make sure you never stop learning. As soon as you stop, that’s when you’ve become complacent and too comfortable. Suddenly, standards become stale, and mistakes happen.
If you keep learning, you keep growing, you stay eager, and this ultimately helps you become more creative, keeping you at the top of your game. You need passion for what you do and commitment to the company you work for.
What keeps you up at night?
My nine-year-old daughter Carys. She sings, snores, talks, and dances in her sleep. She never stops, but she’s the light of my life and she keeps me on my toes.
Tell us something about you we don’t know please?
I learnt to play the tambourine at seven-years-of-age. I also sing top soprano in the Songsters at Letchworth Salvation Army.
What three people, dead or alive, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
Cleopatra, Princess Diana, and Madonna