“University isn’t for everyone, and I have proved you don’t need a degree to achieve” Stacey Winter, Client Experience and Operations Director, Maxima Consulting

Stacey Winter is the perfect example of ‘Girl Done Good’. At the age of 47 she has effectively balanced many of life’s ups and downs alongside a successful career in global finance and technology. She is currently the chief client experience officer at Maxima Consulting. As an IoD member, Stacey hopes to make professional pathways more accessible for young people from diverse backgrounds, and those looking to transition into technology roles with transferable skills.

I grew up in South London and entered the workforce directly after A levels as an office junior at Friends Provident. I had considered university and wanted to study PR at Leeds but having worked since I was 14 alongside schooling found that moving straight into the workforce was more suited to me. My mum who raised my sister and I on her own was a strong role model and advised me to be patient with the junior tasks and to ensure that I executed everything with excellence, and this would result in more responsibility. Within two years I had advanced to international settlements supervisor.

A CEO of a specialist consultancy joined my organisation as a programme director in 1999, I was fascinated by his approach to IT automation and programme initiation and badgered him with lots of questions. He became a mentor and sponsored me to join his STP project in an analyst role. This resulted in me heading up the new automated IT team after the project ended. At 24 I was then headhunted into my first independent consultant position moving to Morley Fund Managers and setting up my first limited company.

I moved to Yorkshire in 2003 to be close to my grandparents when they needed help. I had to reinvent myself career wise in the Yorkshire finance market which was tough being a woman in IT with a South London accent. Having been told at 18 that I could not have children due to PCOS I was blessed with a miracle at 29 when I had my daughter Lou. Like many parents I had to juggle caring roles alongside my career decisions. I finally took a permanent role with Aviva to allow for more balance but was later drawn back down to London for a job as head of analysis and testing with JP Morgan. As a young mum it was challenging to build a support network in the finance IT industry. There was limited flexible working on offer to managers and in seven years I had about six or seven childminding options in play! Because of this I chose to move back into the consultancy market to be able to maintain my salary and involvement in cutting edge projects but still be able to get home at a reasonable time for my daughter.

Throughout my career, I have created flexibility and advanced learning opportunities by pivoting between permanent and consultancy roles. From JP Morgan I moved to Northern Trust as a consultant where I worked for three very supportive male ambassadors. Each of them provided opportunities for growth and evolution that elevated me from programme manager to director. In 2022 I joined Maxima Consulting. I was a previous client of Maxima’s and felt that the partnership approach they offered their clients was something I wanted to be part of. I am now part of a very diverse executive management team working in a psychologically safe environment where my industry experience, entrepreneurial attitude and advanced network is supporting me to drive global growth for the organisation and its service offerings alongside my Maxima peers.

I joined the IoD to continue my executive career development and broaden my network outside of the finance industry. I am still very ambitious, and I recognise that if I am to achieve my next set of executive level goals I am going to need to push out of my industry aligned comfort zone and get advice and guidance from people at very senior levels across sectors. The IoD can provide that.

As a personal passion, I would like to participate in more mentoring programmes and get closer to the apprenticeship space. University isn’t for everyone, and I have proved you don’t need a degree to achieve. I have had wonderful mentors who have believed in me and I would like to pay this forward. In my time working in London boroughs, I can see that many teenagers can’t readily access the information and opportunities they need to make good career decisions. As a member of an organisation like the IoD which has such influence and connections, I hope I can help change that.

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