I Lead an Innovative Diversity-Focused Career-Accelerator Program: Here’s How It Supports Employees

Sponsored by Barclays

Daniella Olusoga. Photo courtesy of Barclays.

Daniella Olusoga. Photo courtesy of Barclays.

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May 16, 2024 at 3:46AM UTC

Have you ever been at a company you loved, but without an established avenue to pursue career growth? For many, this is a common challenge, and figuring out how to grow your career, gain leadership skills, and find a supportive network can be hard. 

Thanks to people like Daniella Olusoga, however, employees are finding much-needed pathways to their dream career. Olusoga works on the talent development team at Barclays investment bank as a program manager. “In my role, I design, develop, and execute the delivery of our talent development programs globally,” she explains.

And, currently, Olusoga is leading a new diversity-focused career-accelerator program called “Launchpad.” This exciting program provides diverse colleagues from underrepresented groups with the opportunity to challenge and stretch their leadership mindset for personal growth and development — accelerating their careers.

“What’s great about this program is that it not only takes participants through a development journey, but that it also equips their line managers and business sponsors with the knowledge, tools, and skills to understand specific barriers that may impact diverse talent — and enable them to use this awareness to make changes and help drive equity,” reveals Olusoga.

While Launchpad is a new addition, Barclays has long made employee career growth a priority. For instance, Olusoga was able to transfer from the HR business partner team to her new role because Barclay’s hosts a range of “secondment opportunities”— temporary roles which are usually six months to one year—throughout the year.

“I applied to a program manager secondment role available on the Talent development team, and my application was successful,” she says. “I joined the talent development team on a one-year secondment and accepted a full-time role into the team at the end of my contract. I loved that I was able to apply and change roles within a year of joining the organization.”

Here, we caught up with Olusoga to learn more about how Barclay’s supports their employees career development — including her experience with mentorship at the company, her favorite perk, and why she’s decided to stay at the company.

Does Barclays have a formal program in place for mentor or sponsorship, or is it more of a casual thing that happens organically? 

I would say that there is a mix of both formal and casual organic mentorship and sponsorship opportunities at Barclays. We have many formalized mentorship programs across various corporate grades and through different channels (e.g., employee resource groups, a Talent Development team and business-owned programs.) Additionally, a lot of relationships are forged informally through networking.

How has having a mentor or sponsor (or being a mentor or sponsor) enriched your own work experience?

Forming a mentor/sponsor relationship has been a positive and rewarding experience in my career. It has led to doors opening and opportunities to stretch my own personal development. I truly enjoy having monthly checkpoints with my sponsor on my career aspirations, and updates on my development plan. I am truly grateful to have a senior leader mentor.

In fact, my mentor/sponsor is the most influential person in my professional life. She is a Woman of Color that holds a senior leadership role at the firm. She is someone that I can look up to career-wise as I aspire to be in a leadership role like hers in the future. I appreciate the guidance she continuously gives me as I navigate and transition my career journey more into the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion space.  

Do you feel like your mentorship experience has been reflective of the overall culture at Barclays?

Yes; my mentor/sponsorship relationship was formed informally through my networking. Despite my mentor/sponsor being quite senior, she still takes the time to nurture junior talent, which is indicative of the culture here at Barclays. 

What is your favorite perk about working at Barclays?

The global reach — being able to Interact and form bonds with peers in different regions and cultural backgrounds has been a perk.  

Ultimately, what has led you to stay at Barclays?

The people and working in an area that I feel is impactful has led me to stay. Challenges here are seen as opportunities, and having the work that I do constantly commend and recognized by senior leadership has been positive for me.

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