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Jackie Noakes (pictured)

Chief Operating Officer, Bank of Ireland

Jackie Noakes, Chief Operating Officer at Bank of Ireland shares her experiences of working in the sector and the benefits of running a talented, diverse and growing team. 

What are your favourite things about your role/organisation?

The pace of technology change in banking is rapid and it is exhilarating to be part of this evolution, especially at an organisation like Bank of Ireland that plays a vital role in the Irish economy and society. We’ve reached a tipping point between traditional bricks-and-mortar banking and 24/7 digital services.

For us, it is about offering customers banking that fits with their lives. We provide banking services in the way customers want – whether digital, over the phone or in the branch.

Our mobile app is our most popular way to bank, with almost half a million customer logins every day and traffic up by a third in the past two years. There’s a tech company inside every bank to deliver the new products and new functionality to meet the expectations of our customers, including the vast majority who are choosing to bank using our digital channels. I’m incredibly proud of how we are delivering this change.

Being able to offer colleagues ways of working that suit them has been a game changer. Rethinking the traditional office model has been an important part of our vision. Our flexible hybrid model makes it more accessible to colleagues based in all regions and to those with caring responsibilities.

As well as my everyday job, I sponsor the Bank’s D&I Accessibility Network which aims to create a safe and accessible environment for colleagues and customers with an accessibility requirement or disability. I’m delighted that this year we were officially recognised by the Business Disability Forum as being a fully accessible organisation – the first in Ireland.

There’s a tech company inside every bank to deliver the new products and new functionality to meet the expectations of our customers.

What is best thing about your colleagues and teams?

I’m constantly impressed by how colleagues utilise technology and innovative solutions to solve customer problems. For example, the rollout of our new mobile app last year and the digitisation of our mortgage journey. We’re on a constant journey of improvement. We have many colleagues with deep technology expertise who’ve been in the Bank for several years and when you combine that with some of our new talent – highly skilled in data, digital, UX, cyber, DevOps – you get remarkable results.

The combination of exciting work using technology to solve customer problems, the abundance of learning and development on offer, the balance and flexibility we offer and the opportunity for upward mobility means that the bank is a fantastic place in which to grow professionally and build your career.

What advice would you give to a woman aspiring to a role similar to yours?

Make sure you have a mentor. I have had various mentors throughout my career and have found this very helpful. A mentor provides a great sounding board that is personal to you and will help you to think about challenges and opportunities from different angles, especially in the context of career path.

Our leadership programmes for women, including the RISE and Accelerate programmes for colleagues across all levels at the Bank, accelerate career growth via intensive learning, mentoring and stretch opportunities.

I have a daughter who is relatively new in her career and any time I give her advice, I encourage her not to get stuck doing the things she does really well for too long. If she starts to feel too comfortable in her job, she needs to find a new one! She was promoted after a year in her first job having taken that advice and is on track for her next step very soon – so far, so good!

I have a quote that I feel can be very helpful to live by; “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”

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