Styles of diversity

Communicating for a bank with roots in east and west is a richly educational experience

I rarely switch my mobile on when I am at home on a Saturday, because most people call me on the landline if they need to speak to me, so it was a bit of a fluke when I heard my mobile ringing from the depths of my handbag. The caller was someone I had known for over 20 years and I had worked with from time to time. He told me that he had recently been appointed as CEO for an Arab bank and he wanted to speak to me to see if I would be interested in taking on the role of director of marketing and communications. My initial reaction? Well, I am ashamed to say that I laughed out loud! My perception at that time, like so many people in the west, was that as a fairly outspoken and very independent European female, I simply wouldn’t fit, and taking on such a role would be an absolute disaster, not just for me, but would also be potentially career inhibiting for the newly appointed CEO. I was, however, reassured that this would not be the case and that this was an incredible opportunity for us both as we would, in effect, be creating a new bank. He went on to tell me that he had been positively encouraged to recruit senior female staff as the organisation he had joined was very committed to equal opportunities and diversity in the workplace.

Sharon Mandeville

Sharon Mandeville has been marketing director for Europe Arab Bank since January 2006 and is responsible for developing and implementing the branding and communications strategy for EAB. From 2001-2006, Mandeville ran her own business consultancy. Prior to that, she spent two years with Pearson Group, as marketing director, Financial Times Business.