Small steps, big difference

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Risk Management and Strategy

A few years ago, I noticed that the majority of people who work for ABN AMRO are white. But that doesn’t mean ABN AMRO doesn’t support and promote cultural diversity. ABN AMRO can be successful only if we position ourselves at the heart of a very diverse community and embrace that diversity ourselves. By making even the smallest of changes, we can contribute to something very big indeed.

I believe we shouldn’t exclude or judge people because of their colour or race, but should instead be looking at their qualities. Denise Lok-Hin Denise Lok-Hin Senior Auditor with Risk Management & Strategy

I myself am half-Surinamese, half-Dutch, so I feel very much at home in Dutch society. Others may have more difficulty here because of their race, cultural background or skin colour. I believe we shouldn’t exclude or judge people because of their colour or race, but should instead be looking at their qualities. That’s why I became an active member of DNA, ABN AMRO’s Diversity Network, several years ago. DNA is a network for staff which focuses on cultural diversity. Our activities are about inspiring people, raising awareness and promoting personal development. I now chair DNA.

Cultural leaders

At DNA, we often receive questions from staff and candidates about the bank’s diversity policy. That’s why we organise regular mentorships for, and workshops on, personal development, an area in which diversity is always a recurring theme. ABN AMRO’s aim is to recruit more and more cultural leaders, but in actual practice, this has proved to be more difficult than you might think. The Diversity In-house Day we recently organised is certainly a step in the right direction if the bank wants to attract diverse talent. Culturally speaking, we have many “invisible” role models at ABN AMRO. I myself was honoured to have recently been nominated, along with nine other of my ABN AMRO colleagues, for the Colourful Top 100. This is a list of the most influential and colourful people in the Netherlands who are seen as role models and who are uniquely committed to promoting diversity in the country. It’s my sincere hope that DNA and the Colourful List will help ensure that talented people from all walks of life won’t doubt their own abilities and will come to work for ABN AMRO.

Favourite department at the bank

Besides cultural diversity, my other main interest is real estate. It’s the sector I worked in before joining the bank as a trainee and moving on to the Facility Management Department. I love being involved in big, complex deals and the legal side of things. At one point, I decided it was time to specialise, so I went to work as a fraud and integrity analyst with Security & Intelligence Management, focusing on large-scale investigations involving real estate and other sectors. I truly believe this is the most interesting department to work in at the bank. It’s unlike any other – you interact with the police force, criminal justice and other financial institutions. The work is complex and exciting, which makes it highly varied. For a time, I also gave workshops and taught at Nyenrode Business University. I enjoyed that, but ultimately decided to move on to my current role with Audit. My aim is to continue to grow in my job, and specialist development is crucial in that respect. The challenge my position with Audit offers came at the perfect time.

Ensuring quality and security

Audit is a great department to work in, especially if you’re curious and discerning by nature. The heat is on: you’re in communication with De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch central bank), the European Central Bank and ABN AMRO’s Managing Board. An audit is all about taking a snapshot of a given department. You then carry out risk assessments and evaluate process operations. When something’s gone wrong which may pose a continuity risk to the bank, we take action. I recently enrolled on the Executive Internal Auditing Programme at the University of Amsterdam in order to further develop my skill set. It’s a very demanding course, but absolutely worth it. My personal philosophy, which I hope will inspire others, too, is to be confident, and not to doubt yourself. You can be a success no matter what your background is!

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