First Women have the last word – with Emma Hagan

First Women have the last word – with Emma Hagan

The professional woman I most admire is Helena Morrissey because of her professional achievements in making it to CEO in her mid-thirties and the work she is doing in the industry to support increased female representation on company boards. I’m a big fan of diversity in all its forms and anyone who champions it.

To juggle my work-life balance I try to make sure I’m fully present whether I am at home or at work. My balance is heavily biased towards work so when I’m at home I make sure it counts by focusing fully on friends and family and minimising things like checking my emails every five minutes.

My biggest career break was taking the job at Silicon Valley Bank more than six years ago. It’s opened up all sorts of opportunities for me.

The biggest influence on my career was everyone I’ve worked with. Each encounter helped me to define what and who I wanted to be in my career just that little bit more, whether it was what I didn’t want or opening my eyes to things I should be thinking about.

One thing that makes me mad in business today is making assumptions (and decisions) based on stereotypes, including those relating to gender, age etc. I’ve been on the receiving end and it’s just plain irritating and short sighted.

Boardroom quotas are necessary or nuts? Necessary, eventually. I am not a huge fan of having them but I have not seen much evidence in the industry that enough change is going to happen without them.

My one tip on negotiating a pay rise is don’t use what other people are paid as a reason you should be paid more. Focus on the value that you bring to the organisation and outline clearly what you have achieved that shows you operating at a higher level.

In five years I see myself on a company board, ideally as an executive director.

My number one piece of advice to young women starting their careers is to focus on your own development, learning everything you can and taking every opportunity that makes sense, even those that are about broadening your experience (not just upwards movement).

My favourite wind down activity is walking, because it helps me to clear my head.

The last book I read was a crime thriller by Angela Marsons called Play Dead.

The one thing I can’t live without there are too many! I’m going to bend the rules and say: friends, family and sleep

About Emma

Emma Hagan joined Silicon Valley Bank in January 2010 and is currently responsible for the enterprise risk management function for SVB Financial Group and its subsidiaries. Since joining Silicon Valley Bank, Emma has been involved in the licensing and subsequent launch of the UK commercial banking branch and served as the Chief Risk Officer for the UK Branch of Silicon Valley Bank in London.

In that role, Emma had overall responsibility for teams focusing on regulatory relations and compliance, risk management and oversight, anti-money laundering and fraud. In her current role, she is responsible for model risk management, operational risk management and the enterprise risk management programmes, reporting to the Chief Risk Officer. Emma is based at SVB Financial Group’s headquarters in California.

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