With a passion for education, Linoy Kidd has dedicated much of her time to encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers, while raising a phenomenal amount of money to build schools in underprivileged countries. We sat down with Linoy to find out more about her journey, both inside and outside of corporate life.
Hi Linoy, please tell me a little bit about yourself and your career so far?
I have been in HSBC for 16 years, starting in London as an analyst and then becoming a team lead, which led me to grow my career and manage teams in Hong Kong and China. I then became the global banking and markets Chief Information Officer (CIO) in Mexico, which led me to my current role as the CIO of Markets Security Services (MSS) MENAT.
What are your main duties while handling diversity and inclusion for HSBC?
The diversity and people programme has meant better engagement not only within HSBC, but also outside within our UAE community. Through this, we have opened up events to friends and family, which was very important during 2020 when the world changed and we lived a different life, under lock down and through zoom.
We focused on our people, for our people, and boosted inclusion for all to make everyone feel engaged. We set up many events over zoom – having the people at the heart of our leader and employee-led approaches to change the underlying culture and promote inclusivity.
For example, we:
- Invited youth to come join a day in the life of CIO, where they got to taste what it is like to work at HSBC and entice youth into STEM careers.
- WomenCovidStories projected the voices of women around the world, about how they were coping with juggling work-life balance at HSBC with their families.
- We gave back to the community through two charity events, #cycleforacause where the HSBC community came together to cycle over 700km in one day, and #Infuison100, a walk with the HSBC community and friends.
- We also had Microsoft and HSBC graduate programmes for women only.
From a top down perspective:
- We ensure job adverts are diversity-friendly. Women don’t tend to apply for a role if they feel they are not 100% compliant with all the points within the job description (I include myself in this). We have also added women to the interview process.
- We are looking at making succession planning more diversity and inclusion-friendly with a new hiring policy in place to make this happen.
- We provide a number of opportunities for women to undertake mentoring and networking schemes.
What inspires you about this role?
I love my job. As soon as I became our manager, I realised I was born to be a leader of men and women, to make a change in the world. Not only in corporate life, but also outside in the world, too. I always wake up and think about what I am going to learn, and what I am going to teach today.
Over the course of your career, you’ve raised an amazing amount of money to improve education for children. Can you tell us more about this please?
Seven years ago, I was on a management training course run by IDG, which is part of a global project that you have to complete in order to take HSBC to the next level. I wanted to include everyone on the course and do something difficult and amazing – something to be proud of. So, I set out to convince the 33 members of the training course to walk 100km with me to raise money to build a school in Malawi, Africa. The walk took 24 hours non-stop and we raised US$33,000 – all of which went to Malawi to build the school, which is currently still schooling 600 kids a year.
At the end of the course, the leader of IDG encouraged me to keep my fundraising efforts going. Since that day, we have walked over 2,500km and built 6 schools in Africa, Nicaragua, Haiti and one house for the homeless in Mexico. We have raised over US$200,000 in that time.
Education is very important to me because my Grandmother (Kurdish) could not read or write and I wanted to ensure that girls all around the world have the toolkit to have the choice and not be limited. So our schools allow teenage mothers to go back to school with their babies on their backs to finish their education.
What have been your greatest career accomplishments?
Becoming a CIO in Mexico was a huge achievement for me. I come from a line of women who would never have fathomed that their daughter/granddaughter would ever be a CIO – they are cleaners and hairdressers – so this was a huge achievement for me. Getting the CIO award in Qatar was also a huge achievement.
What advice would you give to girls at the start of their careers?
I would say that I have four key pieces of advice:
- Be yourself. So many times, we as women try to mimic men, when actually when we embrace the uniqueness of being ourselves we become extremely successful (as soon as I did this I got promoted).
- Just try, sometimes women are scared to try new things, new roles as we want to be perfect but it's ok to fail fast and learn, the learning curve is good – embrace it.
- Anything is possible (every issue has a solution).
- Don’t be scared to ask questions, and always ask for help if you need it!