Khalia is the Global Middle Office Risk and Control at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. With offices in over 30 cities across the region Bank of America Merrill Lynch serves the needs of individual, corporate, institutional and government clients, combining the best of local knowledge and global expertise.
Briefly describe your current job responsibilities,
I currently work in Middle Office Risk and Control at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Typically every day is different. I am currently responsible for managing all projects which impact Middle Office (this is over 13 global businesses in London, New York, Hong Kong and India).
Every day it’s likely that a new problem will surface in my inbox overnight. Knowing that senior leaders will require improvements made to their businesses, my role is to round up our brightest people to solve these issues and then put structures and governance to guide conduct and the business. (I guess it’s like being the Olivia Pope of Banking!)
What were the key decision points that were important in deciding your career path?
Having completed a Law degree there were several things I enjoyed throughout studying. I loved interacting with people who liked to make things happen, I enjoyed reading and also solving problems. Although Banking wasn’t necessarily the career I thought I would enter; the things I’ve enjoyed have clearly been transferable to a career in Banking.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
Being able to interact with people who are incredibly intelligent and from different walks of life.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work? What strategies have you developed for tackling that challenge?
Coming up with solutions for various businesses.Often within the corporate industry (not only Banking) there is an assumption that working in a particular way, i.e. coming into the office to sit at a desk or brainstorming in a meeting is the best way to come up with innovative ideas. Being a natural introvert has meant that I have had to adopt different strategies to ensure I can be most effective in an environment which isn’t necessary natural or conducive to being innovative for me personally. So working from home often helps me to come up with great ideas. Being in a new environment, or an innovative/creative space, or assigning time to think about a task before organising a meeting with several senior stakeholders to discuss issues are things I have found help with coming up with the best business solutions.
What has been the most defining moment in your career to date?
Winning the Rising Star for Banking award in 2016 by We Are The City and also the Rising Star for Financial Services in GB by the Black British Business Awards in 2015. Both awards highlighted the great work I have done not just in my role, but also around diversity and inclusion which made me visible to senior leadership even outside my workplace.
Best piece of career advice you have ever received? And who was it from?
To be patient and enjoy the journey of my career development. There is more to life than promotions and milestones. From my mentor OB Bennett – JP Morgan
Away from your work role what are your passions?
Mentoring and getting involved with improving diversity and inclusion wherever I go.
What are the three (professional or personal) books/websites/ or resources that you would recommend to others?
- Book: Mindfulness – Gill Hasson (Personal)
- Website: The Myers-Briggs personality test (Personal/Professional)
- Resource: We Are The City Careers Club (Professional)
What do you know now, that you wish you had known as you started your career?
Not to focus on solely one career path, not only because skills are transferrable but also over time, people and their desires change.
Do you have any advice for women entering your industry?
Be bold, confident and take risks – a great poster I once read in the office of an MD said:
“ Keep calm and carry on, no one else knows what they’re doing either”…
If you weren’t in this role what would be your alternative career?
Khalia was a finalist for The Outstanding Woman in Finance category at The PRECIOUS Awards 2016.
Connect : Khalia_Newell