The Short Cut:

A quick fire chat about working life with Jessica Cath.

Jessica Cath Head of Financial Crime Project Delivery | FINTRAIL

At the heart of the Nurture Network is the power of sharing experiences. From breakthrough career moments, to best ever advice, how to deal with stress and the women that inspire them.

The Short Cut designed to bring you a snapshot of our members’ working lives. Today we’re speaking to Jessica Cath Head of Financial Crime Project Delivery at FINTRAIL

Tell us about your breakthrough career moment

My first breakthrough career moment was managing my first large financial crime remediation and uplift exercise at a private bank successfully, with great feedback from auditors, in my mid-20s. Given my age and my gender, a lot of people underestimated my ability to lead the project.

Since then, my latest career breakthrough was being promoted to the Head of Financial Crime Project Delivery and having the opportunity to build and lead such a talented team of financial crime consultants.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?

I’ve been lucky to have so much good advice from colleagues and managers over the years. A couple of pieces of advice that have stood out are:

1) learn how to manage my own time effectively and how to switch off, and

2) learn how to be an effective and empathetic manager (both for direct reports and external stakeholders).  

If you can manage the first one, you can really start to achieve great things in the small 8/10 hour a day window that you have for work. If you can master the second one, the culture of the team and stakeholders that you build around you makes for a great working day.

Have you ever felt held back as a woman in business? How did you respond? 

Absolutely – particularly when working in more traditional banks or some of the private banks, as well as the traditional (larger) consultancies. I was often underestimated, but I responded by consistently delivering sharp outputs and making an impact.

I was also conscious to make people aware of these outputs (in a delicate manner) and building a narrative of success, which helped at appraisal and review time. Women often have a tendency to produce great work, but don’t make anyone aware of it and few people notice – which means we aren’t recognised or rewarded for the work we do.

How do you protect your mental health in moments of pressure?

After sadly getting caught up in the London Bridge terror attacks years ago, I have an annoying tendency to have panic attacks – particularly before speaking engagements. I have learnt to manage these better over the years through breathing techniques, although sometimes they still catch up with me and that’s just the way it is!

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with work volumes, I also do 10-minute meditations in the morning and make sure to get away from my desk over lunch (preferably outside). I also fill in a gratitude journal every morning to try and set my mind for the day.

Do you have any hobbies to keep you busy in your spare time?

  1. I have really got into gardening recently. There is so much to learn and keep you busy! I find myself completely switching off for hours at the weekend when I’m outside.
  2. Getting out of London and exploring with my other half and our adorable rescue dog.
  3. Keeping active with weight training and running.

I feel empowered when…

…I have a clear purpose, defined goals and am surrounded by an inspiring team.

The world would be a better place when…

…there are more female leaders in politics and business.

The woman everyone should know about is …

Angela Merkel. For her incredible political, social and academic achievements.

The woman who empowers me the most is…

… there are so many empowering women! To name a few: Christine Lagarde, Angela Merkel, Michelle Obama and Jacinda Ardern. All their stories are inspiring.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

I recently visited Iceland and was blown away.

Iceland Road Trip photo credit Tanya Grypachevskaya