Lucy Drake began her Future Me graduate journey in 2013 and is now the Sales Force Effectiveness Implementation Manager in ASB’s Corporate & Commercial department. We met Lucy for coffee to ask her about her experiences.
One of the great aspects of the Future Me programme is the opportunity for networking and getting involved in other groups like the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand (INFINZ). Lucy is heavily involved with the group so we made sure to ask her about that too.
How did you find your time on the graduate programme?
The Future Me Graduate Programme is a fantastic way to kick start professional life after university. I absolutely loved my time on the programme and really made the most of the opportunities it offered me. The best thing was the exposure to several different areas of the bank and the people I got to spend time with so early in my career. A mix of everyday operational work, along with strategic projects, community work and mentoring from other ASB staff made for the perfect 18-month introduction to a career in banking.
What is INFINZ all about and what drove you to get involved?
The whole idea of INFINZ Young Finance Professionals (YFP) is for people to be able to associate with other banking professionals, both horizontally, in different sectors of the capital markets, as well as vertically, with people at different levels. The YFP was set up as a subset of the overall INFINZ membership to boost engagement with those under the age of 35. We have had huge growth since the launch in March 2014, from 68 members to now having 503 members. Our events are oversubscribed, something we put down to having speakers who offer quality interaction and give up their valuable time to share their stories. I got involved in INFINZ through a few colleagues at ASB who were a part of it. I also have a passion for organising and executing events, as well as meeting new people, so it has proven to be a great fit for me.
In what way, if at all, did INFINZ help you through the programme?
It helped me step outside of my comfort zone and meet other people in the industry. I’ve been able to develop relationships with a variety of likeminded people outside of my workplace which has really helped my learning and growth. It is so important for young people to stay connected to others in the industry. You all go to University together and then on to professional jobs. It’s really easy to lose touch quickly, but with something like INFINZ YFP we are able to connect with people on a regular basis. Your current peers will be future leaders of the industry, so it’s best to keep those networks alive from the get go.
It is so easy to get caught up in your own company and graduate programme and forget about what you can learn from the wider industry. At ASB we have such a fantastic graduate programme which focuses on development in-house while still encouraging our graduates to get out there and learn as much as they can outside of the bank. I believe it’s equally important to put your development into practise outside of these four walls and take advantage of the opportunity to hear from New Zealand’s top business leaders.
How did you find the transition from being a graduate to being a full time employee after rolling off the programme?
I found this transition really quite easy, because after rotating through the business I was quick to realise the types of work I really enjoyed and was able to bring most of those elements into a full time role. I was lucky enough to secure a role in a new team with a very exciting agenda and strong leadership. I still feel like a grad some days because of the variety my job gives me, and this is something I really value. After rolling off the programme, it’s great to be able to stay connected to past and present graduates and still be invited to join grad-related activities. I enjoy being a Future Me Alumni mentor and helping other graduates along the way through their rotations.
Why did you continue to be involved in INFINZ once you rolled off the programme?
INFINZ YFP is for people aged up to 35. There was no need for me to step away from the role just because I finished the ASB Graduate Programme. It is great to still be involved as it gives me a different focus from the daily work I do and keeps me on top of my game with networking. I am now part of the INFINZ Young Finance Professionals (YFP) board. We are a committee of six young professionals from a range of companies working together to plan and execute networking events for Auckland and Wellington young professionals in the finance industry. We do everything from the planning of speakers, securing event space, social media, event promotion and engagement. It’s a juggle to manage outside of work, but we have such a great team of committed people, and with the help of the INFINZ board and executives we manage to pull it off!
What are your future plans with INFINZ and with your career in general?
With INFINZ we will continue to run events with top calibre speakers. We want to continue membership growth and really show how young professionals can have a strong voice in the industry. I hope that we continue to host events that people remember because of what they learn, the people they meet, and of course the delicious food and drink! With my career in general, I’ll continue to keep doing what I’m doing and stay close to the rapidly changing banking environment that we are in. The next three years will be an exciting time to be in this industry and I can’t wait to tackle the challenges that come with it.