Allison Routledge

Investment Executive, Middlesbrough

Sector: Finance

At the start of her career, Allison Routledge found herself in a heavily male dominated field. With plans to shift this, she set up a ladies’ professional network, to build women’s confidence at networking events. Today she works as an investment executive at FW Capital fund managers. 

Where do you call home? 

Middlesbrough. 

Tell us about your role?  

I am an investment executive for FW Capital fund managers. 

How did you get to where you are today? 

I left school at 16 and joined what was then Midland Bank, which then became HSBC Bank. There, I started to study for my banking exams. 

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

When I started in the bank it was a very male dominated career. Women tended to be in the more junior roles, often part-time, after having children. We were almost discouraged, as women, from taking our exams and were tested by being sent to other branches further afield to test our mobility and commitment. This started to change and after completing the banking exams, getting married and becoming pregnant quickly afterwards, I enrolled on the inaugural career break scheme launched by the bank. This meant I could return to the same position that I left after a five-year break. So, after having my two sons, I returned and was accepted onto a management training programme and while bringing up two children, I progressed to middle management. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

Firstly, being given my own branch to manage and being the best performing branch in the area. Also, as networking was always a male dominated activity, as a commercial manager, along with a couple of other female managers, we set up “Ladies.net” building a ladies’ professional network that meant we would know people at events. This gave many ladies the confidence to attend events and enter or change the conversation. This opened up networks and contacts that helped me. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

Build a support network, develop and use any contacts that can give you advice, inspiration and support. Take on work experience and do things for free if you need to in order to gain some experience. Tackle every job with enthusiasm, honesty and work hard for what you want. You can achieve anything if you want to.  

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Believe in yourself, don’t doubt yourself and your abilities. Be more confident and don’t set limitations to your ambitions. Stand up for your rights, keep evidence to support your achievements. Enjoy the journey. 

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Believe in yourself. 

 

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