Be bold and take the plunge!

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Hands holding letters spelling Diversity

Time flies. It has been almost nine years since I first joined ABN AMRO. I had not even considered the bank as a potential employer. Fuelled by the energy that my recent graduation gave me, I drew up a list of five companies where I wanted to work. ABN AMRO was not one of the five: too boring and stuffy for me, I thought. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The bank reached out to me, and I really enjoyed our first meeting. I was convinced right away.

I felt that I could help these young people with their careers. In that moment I realised that I wanted to be a recruiter. Jamila el Mourabet Jamila el Mourabet Consultant Diversity & Inclusion

From preferred banker to recruiter

My first job with the bank was as a preferred banker. It was a wonderful job, one where I was really helping clients. During that time Recruitment asked me to go to Jaarbeurs in Utrecht and give a presentation to a large group of students. Walking onto the stage, I was infused with energy. I felt that I could help these young people with their careers. In that moment I realised that I wanted to be a recruiter. So in a bold move I asked the head of Recruitment whether I could join her team. Even though I had no experience, she thought I was right for the job.

Proud of ‘my’ candidates

I made an effort to recruit candidates across a broad spectrum: not your standard type, but specifically multicultural and female talents. These candidates had a tendency to be insecure and I wanted to give them an opportunity to show who they were. Sometimes they needed a little pushing and a pep talk. My old student counsellor used to do the same for me, and it really helped. Now it was my turn to help my candidates overcome their self-doubt and boost their confidence. It worked, too. Managers frequently gave me positive feedback, saying that I had sent great candidates their way. It gave me great pride to hear them say so.

The fascination of the diversity issue

Through my network I noticed that the stream of talent was drying up. It was time to act. I went to the head of Diversity & Inclusion and suggested that I research the matter. I got approval and got straight to work. I found that what was needed was more coaching. I wrote up a job profile for a diversity career coach – a job that I was born to do. I proposed that I do it, and I showed my plans to the highest manager at HR. He took one look and congratulated me on my new job.

From coach to consultant

That was how I created my own job at ABN AMRO, and poured my heart and soul into it for several years. Nevertheless, the moment came when I no longer wanted to take a step back, and I switched jobs to Diversity & Inclusion consultant. Now I am responsible for determining the bank’s policy and strategy, together with our dream team and our ambassadors within the organisation. I am still connecting people, which is my strength. I have no idea what my next move within the bank will be. One thing is certain, though: it will have to be as wonderful as what I am doing now, and it will need to fill me with passion. Nothing is more important than listening to your heart.


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