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21 September, 2023

Jason-Louise Graham

I am a business transformation manager at ING’s Communication, Brand and MarCom center of expertise. My career trajectory has been far from linear. I have a BA in EU Studies, a Master in Cultural Policy Making and an LLM in EU Law from the university of Maastricht. At first I thought I was just confused and undecided – but looking back I can see that I’m just wildly curious, love learning and have a good dose of courage in me to keep trying new things.

A turning point for my life and career was entering into the financial sector. At ING I encountered the orange culture which is a mix of kind and supportive colleagues, as well as a commitment to the growth mindset. This means a culture where everyone can bring new ideas to the table in the spirit of innovation. Failure and reprimanding is not really focused upon. Applying the principles of trust and curiosity within a strategic frame, we can try new things and pivot to improve based on data to reach results. This means the environment is fast-paced, innovative and fun. Managers are also continuously being educated to improve their people skills in the best way – which of course has an impact on employee wellbeing.

Next to my role as manager, I am the chairwoman of ING Belgium’s first Black Employee Inclusion Network. If see the level of representation of this demographic in Belgium (and Europe) in comparison to our presence in the Belgian industry (1% according to StatBel) – I think the sector is missing out on a lot of unique and valuable insights which could not only improve the business proposition but also the experience and lives of a huge customer base. Access to financial health is a basic right – as much as food and education – and it is our responsibility in this sector to ensure that can be accessed by as many as possible. On the other side, being able to work in the sector is a positively enriching opportunity that opens many doors due to its innovative nature. This, I feel, should be more accessible to people of all backgrounds which today is still overwhelmingly not the case. It all starts with making the sector more visible, known and accessible to different demographics.  

I would tell my younger self to trust her intuition more and not to be so afraid! Surround yourself with people who support you so you’ll feel more empowered to speak your mind with confidence. Learn about what is available for you out there and then don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. It took me a while to discover my “purpose”, but I realized that for me Curiosity, Courage and Community are the basis for a successful life – follow these three markers and you will always find your safe facing the right direction.

Is there a quote/an emblem/ a trinket that motivates you/was the driving force of your career?

I have two!

“I never lose. I either win, or I learn.” – Nelson Mandela

“It always seems impossible, until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

Jason-Louise Graham