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Code First: Girls - Heaps of coding help and networking

27/09/2019

The Code First: Girls course offers insight into technology but also the opportunity for more networking, something the bank puts a lot of emphasis on, Lucinda O’Gorman, project finance portfolio manager at Societe Generale in London tells Ragini Campion, CFG’s commercial manager.

The Code First: Girls course served two purposes for Lucinda O’Gorman, project finance portfolio manager at Societe Generale in London. Firstly, it offered a look into the increasingly relevant world of technology in financial services; secondly, it was another opportunity to further diversity and gender networks in the bank.

Lucinda started her career in finance working as a graduate trainee in a commercial bank in Australia, a programme that introduced her to risk, product and sales, and the tiniest of insights into technology, when tap and pay was being introduced into Australia.

Her role at Societe Generale is more risk-credit, which sees her looking after portfolios of project finance for energy and infrastructure projects, managing the finance and the syndicate of lenders after deals have been signed. “There is an aspect of relationship management with the borrower, although my day is mainly spent with legal documents, excel files, on the phone, writing papers and not doing much coding,” said Lucinda.

The course was a real breath of fresh air. “It’s something I don’t get to do day-to-day,” said Lucinda. “I like doing stuff that is new and exciting, so I was already sold before I had even sat down… there is increasing innovation in reviewing legal documents, finding changes, creating templates, for contracts. We are starting to see more technology to help with that.

“I liked that the day was interactive, but no one had any issues if you put up your hand and said, ‘I’m a step behind’, which created a really easy atmosphere, and there were heaps of people to help with questions,” she said.

Her interest in technology stems from the knowledge that school curriculums are now awash with coding courses, creating an expectation that people joining the workforce will be equipped with these skills. “I haven’t done any coding before, but I am aware of not wanting to become obsolete and wanted to get an idea of how these concepts work; also, Societe Generale is doing a lot around helping build networks, and a lot around diversity and gender and I want to be part of that,” said Lucinda.

Extra-curricular activity

“Societe Generale does extra-curricular really well: we might sit in a world of heavy and traditional finance, but afternoons can be spent trying something like this workshop,” said Lucinda. “There is a recognition at a senior level that these are conversations we want to be able to participate in as a starting point, and people might want to pursue them further.

“There are also partnerships with museums, CSR activities and talks at lunchtime and things like that, where the bank makes a big effort, and it makes a difference for working, well-being and engagement,” said Lucinda, a CSR champion for her department.