Executive Vice-President, Products & Payments, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC
Women in Payments™
Distinguished Payments Professional Award
to add value in your own unique way – be really good at what you do and keep it going all the way through.” What is true for Fagg and what she recommends to others is to understand the importance of loving the work you are doing. The content of the work matters too, she says. If you aren't doing something that you're proud of then you've got a problem. You need to know you are going in the right direction, you need to have a great boss, and you need to be really good at what you do.
Jennifer Fagg, recipient of the Women in Payments ‘Distinguished Payments Professional Award’ says it is very much an honour to win the award. “I've worked in payments in many countries now and an award like Women in Payments is an honour because it represents an acknowledgement by my peers within my industry. It is very special on a personal level, and more broadly it is fabulous for my team. This award recognizes that CIBC is very innovative and I'm very proud that my team was able to accomplish all of these firsts for our clients.” Early in her career Fagg was the mobile manager that fell in love with being a banker. That was 25 years ago. She says it started more or less by accident. She was working in sales and one day she talked to her managers and told them that if they gave her a general management role, she would take half the pay just as long as they gave her the role – which they did. So while she would love to say it was a strategic move in her career path, she smiles and says she really pretty much fell into it. “My career line has been a bit of a zigzag,” she says. “One thing I've always been conscious of is to get as much experience as possible, in as many areas as possible. I started in human resources, went to sales, then to credit cards. I spent a long time in risk management before going on to run the mortgage business then across to being a consultant at KPMG. Later, I did my PhD and had my daughter and then went back to work fulltime in a mixture of risk and business management. At this point in my career it’s about people management. I deliver profit growth and I grow people.” “A lot of people I meet ask how they should structure their career. I mostly tell them to relax, be really, really good at what they do, and the sponsors and the mentors will come. It's about finding out how 30
And, along with all of that, you also need to challenge yourself, strive to create change, and not be afraid to make mistakes, says Fagg. “My first boss, who was a wonderful boss, once told me that if you're not making waves, then you're not doing your job. Which is another way of saying if you aren't making small mistakes and offending people or pushing a little hard at times, then you aren't creating change. That stuck with me. I think we have to make some mistakes or we never learn and we never change. I think you just have to put your hand up as soon as you realize you've made a mistake and trust that the organization will accept that you've simply made a mistake.”
Teamwork is key A strong team is an important element to success and Fagg says she has a fabulous team – a strong and diverse team. She explains that the team was put together in such a way that they complement each other. They have a common value set about doing the right thing, being fair and reasonable and trustworthy, but once you get beyond that basic value set they are as different from one another as possible. For Fagg, the fast changing world of payments is well handled when you have a team that covers so many diverse aspects and that covers a wide field of options.
Going forward When asked about her career and about balance, her passion and values are evident. “I try to squeeze every moment out of every day, but I also try to have dinner with my family most nights – I believe flexible working practices are incredibly important. I want to do everything; I want to deliver things as well as possible. There is very much a personal drive to deliver. I have to be trustworthy. I love banking, I love my team, I love my colleagues. I believe we keep the economy running. We give people home loans and let people build their wealth and live their dreams. If that goes down then the economy stops. It’s important to deliver.” September/October 2015