Sylwia Jablonska Bond

Sylwia Jablonska Bond started her career in technology within Financial Services at Accenture and Capco consulting.

She moved into industry in 2011 to work in Foreign Exchange IT for Barclays Investment Bank, where she is currently working as a Programme Manager responsible for a portfolio of initiatives across FX and Emerging Markets, ranging from Product Rollout to revenue-opportunity client technology solutions.

Sylwia always sets high standards for her work and throughout her career has led a number of diverse project teams delivering pioneering and regulatory change across technology and business in Wealth Management and Global Markets.

She has a seamless ability to work across the wide organisation and experience hierarchy with ease, and is equally at home briefing the Business Head about the programme plans as she is discussing technical solutions with quantitative developers or working to support a new graduate in their development.

In every project, she takes the lead in training and developing colleagues around the globe. She coaches and mentors those with less experience and does not shy away from difficult and contentious decisions by always balancing the needs of the organisation and colleagues. As a leader, she forges teams through consensus building, understanding and an industrious tenacity to get the job done. This creates tempo in her projects leading to timely delivery.

She is a go-to person for technology engagements in her area and is often asked for advice by her colleagues and peers. She also holds a Certificate in Agile leadership from Scrum Alliance.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My name is Sylwia Jablonska Bond, I’ve started my career in consulting but I’ve been with Barclays for most of my working life. I’m originally from Poland but I came to the UK to study at the University of Bath and stayed after graduating from Masters in Science. I’m a VP in Portfolio Execution and my current role is the Programme manager for eFX Technology Upgrade and Emerging Markets Programmes. I’m also actively involved in diversity streams at Barclays – I am the host of Portfolio Execution Internal Speaker Series and I’m on the Change Community and Women in Technology Committees.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I don’t think I ever sat down and planned my career end to end. I’ve always followed what felt right at the time and tried to engineer situations where I would be working with smart people I’ve enjoyed working with. It turned out that working in change, technology and with technologists was the right mix of fun and challenge that inspired me to keep going.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

I have and I’m sure I will in the future – as we all do and will! For example, there were times when due to organisational changes my roles have morphed into ones I wasn’t overly keen on. The strategy I deployed was to learn as much as possible,try to be of service to others whilst looking for another challenge. I think a lot of the time we’re impatient with our careers,looking ahead too much, but the real value of learning and helping others is here and now.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’ve been project managing an industry-leading initiative for the eFX Algo business as part of the eFX Build-out Programme and we’ve recently signed general terms with the client. It was a culmination of nearly a year’s worth of hard work and it felt like a big milestone.

I’ve also won the TechWomen100 in 2019, among some pretty incredible individuals, so being recognised amongst such inspiring women was a real highlight for me.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

I don’t think it can be one thing. During a training course in my early career, an instructor told me: “remember, you are a service” and it stuck with me ever since. I think ensuring that you’re making yourself as useful as possible to the overall goal of the organisation or initiative is a very good code to live your working life by.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Be curious and follow what interests you. The chances are that, if you focus, you will get there so make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think there are still obstacles we face. Technology isn’t a traditionally female pursuit and there are numerous biases circling in organisations. I think Barclays is doing a lot to combat them and the Women in Tech initiatives are doing a great piece of work to enable women to succeed in technology. I think raising awareness and corporate education is how these biases will be overcome in the long run.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

I think companies can focus on their female tech talent and provide learning and coaching to help women realise their potential and get their voice heard. On the other hand, men should also be coached to recognise the unconscious biases that they might not initially be aware of.

There is currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

A magic wand would come so handy! But seriously, I think this is a long process so whilst a magic wand would be useful, it needs to happen at grassroots. I’d like to see more girls and young women choosing STEM subjects and being encouraged more in tech-related careers – they can be so rewarding I also think we need to have more events and opportunities where women talk about technology rather than focusing on women being in technology – if that makes sense. This would also create fantastic platforms for girls and young women to see and hear individuals they can model their careers on or look up to.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, eg Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

WeAreTechWomen has so many great resources for women in tech. I also like the Everywoman site and Muse.

I’d recommend signing up to industry newsletters related to your business area / projects, and seeking out events and conferences related to the current industry challenges – regardless of whether they’re aimed at women or not. Generally, I think we need more women participating in the dialogue in the industry so we can try to eradicate the stereotype that women are not interested in tech or finance – we are and we need to be seen.

WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here.