LifeStartCareerChat: An evening with Jo Slater

Not sure that you want to follow the same path as everyone else? If you’re not sure university is for you or you just want to hear about an unusual career path – keep reading!

Canary Wharf’s Plateau restaurant, the venue for Jo Slater‘s #LifeStartCareerChat, who works as Senior Product Owner for Virgin Money, seemed appropriate. Canary Wharf is known for the high glass buildings and perhaps even more well known for the suited business people that inhabit it; a perfect setting for this mentorship opportunity.

We learned from Jo that showing dedication and being hardworking are as much the keys to success as a formal higher education. As again, are people who you know, and how they feel and think about you can be big factors in your career path. Jo explained that it has been through knowing people, that she has gained certain job roles. She encouraged us to connect on LinkedIn as it’s a good tool to keep in touch with people and build your personal brand. Jo stressed how incredibly important connections are in today’s job world. With all participants sharing their details, we hope that we took away not only this gem of advice but 7 new contacts for the future!

Like most people in Jo’s position, she did start at university. At the age of 19 and after only one year at uni, Jo decided to leave education and went straight into full time work. A daunting prospect at the time, she hasn’t looked back since. She attributed her success to being malleable and willing to put in hard work. She also explained that you should make companies work for you as you give so much to them. For example, make a company sponsor your education as this will, from their perspective, imply your longevity and future at the organisation.

Having moved from larger companies to smaller firms, Jo presented the positives and negatives of both, saying that she would now always settle for a smaller organisation as she felt it was far easier to get your voice heard. She believed that this was a natural progression but one of preference. Jo explained that whilst working for larger organisations, she has learnt skills that now help her work smarter in any organisation.

Having taken a different route, in comparison to most other people she comes into contact with day to day, Jo said that she valued malleability and tried to make sure she remained open in whatever she was doing.

Talk wasn’t just around work however, as everybody compared their hobbies and interests. This reminded us that contacts are even better if you know the human behind the name/Linkedin profile! With that in mind, we all left Jo’s #LifeStartCareerChat not just better informed about Fintech, online banking and working for Virgin Money, but also with contacts that will undoubtedly be of use to us in the future!

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