Accelerating, improving, renewing and reforming: Ellen is working to shape the bank of the future
Ellen de Weerd certainly has her hands full! As well as her job as a process & project enabler, she also chairs ABN AMRO's Employee Council for Innovation & Technology. Two completely different roles which she combines with care and commitment. What's more, the bank gives her all the scope she needs to do so.
Conscious choice for the bank
“When I graduated from Eindhoven University of Technology five years ago, I already knew that I wanted to work for a corporate. Obviously I still had plenty more to learn, and in a large organisation I knew I’d be able to carry on developing in many different areas. Discovering what I enjoyed doing and what I was good at.
After interviews with various organisations, I found I had the best ‘click’ with ABN AMRO. Their Young IT programme was an especially attractive plus point. During my 18-month traineeship, I was given a permanent job together with targeted training and personal coaching. So I very soon improved my basic knowledge and skills.”
Working smarter, faster, better
“After spending just over two years as a development engineer in the IT department, I moved to Operations. Slightly less ‘hard’ IT technology and a bit more interaction with the users – that’s more in my line. I enjoy helping others move forward. Making sure they get more pleasure and satisfaction from their work.
As a process & project enabler, I meet with a wide range of colleagues from across the bank to discuss how to optimise processes for the customer. Such as requesting payment cards, changing legal forms or onboarding new customers.
Together, we scrutinise processes, identify sticking points and work out how to resolve them as quickly as possible. I then create the technology behind the new workflow and coordinate the revised process with the relevant teams and departments.
By simplifying cumbersome processes and automating aspects of these processes where possible, I ensure that my colleagues can do their work faster and more easily. Which frees them up for more interesting tasks.”
Sticking my neck out for I&T
“So how did I end up on the Employee Council? It was really a bit of a spur of the moment decision. But as soon as I’d been to my first few meetings, I knew for sure this was something for me. After all, through this platform I can do even more for my colleagues.
The I&T Employee Council represents everyone in the Innovation & Technology domain. We’re consulted by the Executive Board on key strategic decisions such as sustainability plans, reorganisations and staff workloads. It’s our job to represent the interests and standpoints of the bank’s I&T population.
I’ve recently become chair of the Council, a role that suits me down to the ground. The task package is varied and I work mainly at strategic level. It’s a perfect counterpart to my job in Operations, which is much more about technical know-how and skills. I’m therefore delighted that ABN AMRO gives me the scope to divide my time equally between these two roles.”
Women at the top
“Although we’ve made great strides in recent years, women are still often under-represented and undervalued in Dutch business and industry. I’m therefore committed to working for equal opportunities. For example, by talking about it at universities, and also by coaching a female student who will undoubtedly be working with a lot of male colleagues when she completes her mechanical engineering degree.
Here, too, I’m given a lot of support by ABN AMRO. For instance, my manager immediately made extra development budget funds available when I said I wanted to join the Women Corporate Directors Programme.
This is a training course for women who are hoping to become members of a Supervisory Board or Advisory Council. I’m far from there yet, of course, but I’d like to be one day.
I’m really glad to see the bank becoming increasingly diverse at all levels. For example, in my first term on the I&T Employee Council, I was the only woman. The new council now consists of six men and five women, three of whom are on the Executive Committee. Definite progress, I’d say, and in record time!”