Networking is the key to success

Julia started with us in October 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. Nevertheless, she has seized her chance to grow professionally within a short time, to network effectively, and now to actively shape things on her own. She is also creative in her private life and likes to try new things.

What was your path at ING like and which departments did you learn more about?

I went through ING's entry program, the Junior Expert Program, and was allowed to work in different units and roles, for example in the TECH Expertise "Big Data", as support in Young Talents in HR, and most recently as a Customer Journey Expert in the ING Analytics Team. After my rotations, I returned to "Big Data" and now work as a Product Owner (PO). As a PO, I oversee the implementation and further development of the product vision and I am, among other things, the contact person for technical topics, as well as the interface to other units. In Expertise, we are currently working on a search and analysis platform that can be used globally by all colleagues.

Were you able to settle in well at the bank despite the pandemic? And if so, what helped you in particular?

Yes, definitely. At the time, I started with three other junior experts, and together we met regularly to talk and support each other from the beginning. In addition, the YoungING Community events helped me to get in touch with new colleagues outside my unit. But I also found the Lioness Coffee Roulette, organized by the ING women's network, helpful: There you meet with a colleague from a different unit, whom you've never met before. You then exchange ideas for 30 minutes and broaden your horizons.

You are also involved in various networks in your spare time. What are they?

Yes, exactly! For starters, I'm part of the YoungING community. I organize events with my colleagues to promote exchange, networking and development within the bank. You can meet like-minded people at many of these events. Since last year, I have been taking part in an Ambassador Program, where participants are trained as a brand ambassador. Here I learned how to set up my LinkedIn profile properly and how to create a successful post. I am also involved in the ING moderator pool, through which colleagues can book a moderator. I also participate in ING's Women's Advancement Program, which supports women in their professional development. We learn a lot about ourselves and get practical tips directly for the job.

What do you find appealing in these different programs?

I have the opportunity to meet new people, and I can develop individually in each program while learning new things. In my opinion, lifelong learning is extremely important and beneficial for both personal and professional development. I have also realized that I grow best when I step outside of my comfort zone. And it helps me in my role as a product owner to understand my colleagues better and to be able to respond to their needs. I also like the fact that I can encourage networking among other members and many people benefit.

What else do you like to do in your free time when you are not involved with ING or at a networking event?

Last year I started my nutritionist training, which I recently finished. Sport is also a big part of my life. Sometimes I also like to explore my creativity to find a balance. Then I grab my plotter and create greeting cards, label vases or create motifs for T-shirts or jute bags.

What tip do you have for women who donโ€™t have a lot of experience networking?

Just do it: Ask yourself what you have to lose by taking the chance to get to know other colleagues. Usually I have more to lose by not taking the chance. Because then I get in my own way โ€“ I don't learn anything new, I don't make new contacts, and I don't grow. If you find it difficult, start with small steps outside your comfort zone. With each step you can grow, and your confidence will blossom with it. At the bank, there are many ways to get in touch with others: the cafes, various communities that organize events, or virtual coffee dates. If you find it difficult to approach someone spontaneously, then prepare yourself, think of questions that you can use as a hook to start the conversation. Have the courage and remember: You are the best version of yourself. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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