Angela Geddes - Baillie Gifford
When Angela Geddes, Head of the Regulatory Developments, Projects and Advisory team, was offered a place on the Make Your Mark development programme, she didn’t know what to expect. Now, she uses the tools she learned on a regular basis, especially when it comes to managing the inner critic and having more productive conversations.
Baillie Gifford Online Editor Chiara Pannozzo-McBryde caught up with Angela to find out more.
How did you find out about Make Your Mark?
HR suggested that I become part of the initial Make Your Mark cohort, which was composed of 12 women from across the firm. I had recently been promoted into a new role, and I was advised that the course content could be beneficial in supporting me as I took on more responsibility. I was keen to develop my management and leadership skills and felt assured that Make Your Mark would provide learnings that would help me to achieve that goal.
Going into the programme, what were your expectations? I had no preconceptions. It was a new development programme for Baillie Gifford, so I had nobody to ask about what to expect. But I was very open-minded. The idea of a strong female network working with Susan Room, an extremely talented and capable lady who pioneered Make Your Mark, was an interesting proposition.
Tell us about your experience of taking part in Make Your Mark?
Make Your Mark has four different modules, which focus on the following key areas: managing the inner critic; building and maintaining confidence and presence; speaking with confidence and active listening and voice skills. I found the first session both thought provoking and quite emotional. We were asked to write down how we thought other people perceived us. I wrote down what my inner critic was saying, which made me realise that I had built up a negative view of how people saw me. Susan encouraged me to reflect on what I had written down and question my thinking around why people would say or think that. Since taking part in Make Your Mark, I’ve been able to challenge my inner critic, rather than allow it to take hold. What did you get out of the programme? It made me challenge my thinking around how I think I’m perceived by others and the impact that has on me. I left equipped with tools to tackle difficult conversations or daunting situations. In my role, I often present to senior people in the firm. I now take the time to be equal in the room and realise that if they ask me challenging questions, I don’t have to feel pressured to provide an answer on the spot. I can take the time to reflect, before getting back to them. I’ve also used the tools and techniques I learned with my team and a range of project teams, especially when it comes to having a constructive dialogue in order to achieve a positive outcome.
Did you discover anything about yourself that you didn’t already know?
I realised that I’m too hard on myself. Make Your Mark also encouraged me to see how much I care about people and the benefits that come from sharing the learnings with my team, to help us all to have better conversations. I have further developed my confidence as a result, particularly when it comes to having challenging conversations in a more constructive way.
What was the most useful learning you took from Make Your Mark?
To never underestimate the power of your inner critic. If you don’t get a handle on it, it could easily hold you back.
Would you recommend Make Your Mark to others?
I would recommend it, however, it comes with the caveat that to get the most out of it, you have to bring your whole self to the programme. You also need to practice what you learn in order to develop. If you’re willing to do that, I have no doubt that you will come away with tools and techniques that will support you in your professional life and beyond.
To celebrate five years running Make Your Mark for Baillie Gifford, the firm recently asked four of their colleagues to reflect on how they’ve put their learning into practice to achieve something new.
Here's what they said, reproduced with the firm's kind permission: