Career stories: Laura Anderson, Emerging Talent Development Lead, HSBC UK

Mar 1, 2022 | Careers, Sector & policy

Laura’s inspiring career story explains her journey to working in student development and on the ISE board.

After finishing uni I had no idea what I wanted to ‘be’.  I was the first in my family to go to university and didn’t have anyone to help me navigate the corporate world.  I happened to land a job in the call centre with HSBC and more than 17 years later here I am doing a job I love. 

I’ve only been working in early careers since late 2016 but I’m now responsible for the development of more than 300 graduates, interns, placement students and degree apprentices in the UK and have responsibilities to our proposition globally. 

I’m lucky to have an incredible diverse team of talented individuals who work with me to deliver our different programmes. The one thing I always strive to create is an amazing lived experience for everyone and an environment where everyone can be themselves. 

I’m a big champion for inclusivity, in particular I spend a lot of time and energy with colleagues of different ethnicities and abilities, making changes to improve their experiences.  I’ve also been a proud LGBTQ+ ally, mental health first aider and mindfulness practitioner for several years. 

It’s taken me a while to discover what I’m good at, and what I love to do, but I think I can finally say I know what my Ikigai is and that what I’m doing now is what I want to ‘be’. 


Getting involved with ISE

I was first introduced to the ISE in 2017 and was what I’d call a passive bystander.  I’d read the newsletters and emails, but it didn’t go much beyond that.  

I remember my first ISE Development Conference in 2018.  I was excited to attend, but daunted at the same time.  I thought it was going to be full of people who knew much more than I did. As I didn’t know anyone and I’m not great at networking or small talk, I felt like a bit of an imposter.  I even struggled to pluck up the courage to go and speak to some of the suppliers who were on the event stands. 

I’m proud to say we won an ISE award at the end of the day, taking home the trophy for Best Post-Programme Development – our first award win as a team!  From there I was asked to write an article for the ISE magazine and to present about it to my peers at a Development Forum session.  That was my launch pad into being more active in the ISE and I’ve never looked back.

Some of the supplier members I met at the conference are now people I regularly work with and I soon got involved in the Development Champions working group with Anna, Viv and Stephen. 

I made a natural transition into being the Development Sector Champion, helping support the team with the ISE Development conferences and the more frequent Development Forum group sessions.  My passion is supporting others and bringing people together to share ideas and best practice so this has been a really fun role. 

I’ve also since been a judge for the ISE Awards for four years and been involved in several webinars. You can read about how HSBC won the graduate development award last year.


Building connections

If anyone is considering it, I’d 100% recommend being a more active ISE member.  You learn so much from other people, it pushes you to think differently and you build an amazing network naturally. 

Building connections has become easier for me as all it takes is a quick LinkedIn intro or an email to someone and they’re always there to help you if you need some advice, ideas or even just a sounding board. 

Attending ISE conferences have been great to build my knowledge and challenge my thinking and I’m looking forward to attending in person at the Student Recruitment Conference 2022 in Brighton in the summer. 

Since January 2022 I’ve been an ISE Board Director and am truly excited to be responsible for building a thriving community.  I’d love to meet and connect with more of our members, so please do reach out if you’d like to chat more.

Together we can all be there to support school leavers and university students to understand more about the world of work and prepare them for their future careers, whatever they might be. 

Book onto an ISE course to boost your professional development

Read more career stories

Find out more about the ISE Student Development Conference 2022, which runs online 30-31 March

ISE Student Development Conference 2022


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