Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK in 2023.
Claire is the Technology Platform lead for Retail Credit Risk at NatWest, delivering customer outcomes through collaboration with internal product and external credit partnerships.
Claire joined NatWest from Virgin Oneaccount, and has held various roles across frontline mortgages, digital, technical programme and regulatory delivery for NatWest, RBSI, Retail and Commerical. She is a champion of gender equality, mentoring, supporting and inspiring females in technology both inside and outside of the organisation.
Claire was referred to the IT Leaders 100 by a colleague, answering on her behalf.
How did you get into IT?
Claire has been working in IT for 23 years for a range of leading financial services institutions including Virgin Money, First Direct and most recently NatWest Group. During her career Claire has held a range of IT and frontline business roles and is currently the Head of Retail Credit Risk technology, a key role providing scoring and underwriting technology capability for the Retail Bank.
Technology has always been a major factor in Claire's roles and during this time she has accumulated a wealth of knowledge. She began her career journey working for Virgin Money on their One Account, an advanced mortgage and current account product. As she progressed in her career, she focused on opportunities where technology could make an impactful difference in the Retail Banking sector. Her next challenge was in e-banking providing a new way to give customer digital access to manager their accounts making her a a trailblazer and innovator, firmly establishing herself as a prominent figure for championing technology. She has also understood the role of the branch in this emerging digital world leading the setup of WiFi within the NatWest Group branches, working with partners such as Cisco before creating new games and apps for the Bank.
Claire's passion and commitment to technology innovation, sustainability and most importantly opportunity make her an influential and respected IT leader.
How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?
One of Claire's key achievements in successive technology roles has been to successfully raise awareness and drive focus on closing the gender gap. As an Interview Ambassador for the bank, she has helped deliver change ensuring IT roles target the right audience, are written and advertised in a way to reach more female and diverse applicants and reach out to external groups supporting diverse change in IT recruitment.
Alongside this she is also an influential member of several internal groups, advocating and encouraging strong supportive connections within Finance, Risk, Legal and Audit. She supports others in championing the potential of women and encourages role models in technology at all levels to aspire future generations of women taking a tech role both inside and outside of the UK.
Which technology are you currently most excited by?
Generative AI, natural language processing and machine learning are set to revolutionise how we build and deliver technology in the coming years, with ChatGPT, Bard and Meta all now driving huge strides in this space.
What would an outsider find the most surprising part of your job?
Claire works tirelessly to create and embed technology strategies in all the different verticals that are now product-aligned on the Retail Credit Risk Platform. It is most surprising to have the alignment of products rather than platforms. Claire's success in this is testament to her drive, determination, knowledge and passion to develop new ways of tackling challenges and technology change as an IT leader via strategic shift to building in-house microservices and APIs.
Through a single backlog and blended technology team and product alignment strategy, she has demonstrated her ability to go above and beyond to raise the profile of delivering value and efficiency on the platform to help both NatWest business areas and NatWest Group customers thrive.
What's your secret talent?
At work, Claire's secret talent is her tenacity in problem-solving. Adopting the agile methodology and working with a One Bank mindset, she always has all required parties from product owners, technology partners to business stakeholders / customers into one room / conference call to get a better and broader perspectives on the challenges and pain points to ensure the best possible outcomes and the best strategic solutions are obtained. With her ability to wield influence and forward-thinking, she is not deterred by some of the parties' secret agendas and politics in achieving positive results for the bank's customers and to the bank's competitive advantage.
Claire's secret talent in her personal life is cold water swimming, she finds it so invigorating and makes her feel alive!
What makes you laugh?
Humour is a big part of Claire's persona and is never far from making an appearance in team meetings or other team gatherings. This warm and human side is a natural element of Claire's leadership style and clearly helps to improve communication and improve cooperation and empathy with people. She enjoys getting to know people both within the organisation and beyond and at times, Claire finds that humour also offers a new angle to view things which could enhance problem-solving skills.