Tejal and the STRETCH45 Cohort

After the most amazing time at the STRETCH Conference last year, a group of HSBC colleagues came together to ensure that they continued to maximise the momentum they had gained at the event. Tejal, Team Lead of the cohort called STRETCH45 shares about their collective experience so far.

What’s your name and what do you do at HSBC?

My name is Tejal Joshi, and I work for HSBC Bank as an Insurance Commercialisation Manager. Simply put, I optimise the customer journey for clients taking Insurance policies. 

What’s your regular day at work like?

I work for HSBC Bank as an Insurance Commercialisation Manager. Simply put, I optimise the customer journey for clients taking Insurance policies. I work with different departments across the bank to be able to look at ways of improving the way we serve our customers. My regular day involves me having meetings with different departments and delivering projects to improve the customer experience. 

My favourite part is working with the STRETCH45 Team (an initiative we started following the STRETCH conference), to be able to guide and support a cohort of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Colleagues improve the trajectory of their career, supported by Career Masterclass!

I’m blessed that my regular day at work right now also includes getting home made food by my mother! ☺ 

 When you’re not working, what do you do?

I am a coach outside of work, and absolutely love helping people get out their own way to succeed. I am extremely passionate about personal growth and I’m usually reading or finding new ways to learn… I also host a podcast, Chai & Waffle, talking about subjects that are considered as taboo in the life of a British Asian. This has opened up a whole host of conversations with people that thought they were alone in the experiences they’ve gone through; we use the platform to reach out to people and unite as a community. 

Tell us a bit about your experience at STRETCH last year. 

The STRETCH conference was extremely eye opening and came at a great time where we were all settling into the norm of remote working, it was invigorating to hear from leaders across the world and set new goals. The conference enabled me to pause and reflect on where I needed to focus to grow; I would recommend the conference to anyone looking to lead their career intentionally. 

How was STRETCH45 formed? 

Following the conference, we wanted to support and continue the newly gained momentum by the cohort that attended the conference. We appreciate that growth is easier when you’re supported by a community around you on the same mission therefore we wanted to create a Black, Asian & Ethnic Minority community to break down invisible boundaries to be able to grow and help others up. We started with the end in mind, which was to support these colleagues, to improve their career trajectory by 45 degrees and with this came the birth of STRETCH45. 

We have built a wider community which includes all of our members and we get together on a monthly basis, these sessions create a space for everyone to be honest and share how they’re feeling and we have guest speakers to support the growth in their careers. Being a group of BAME colleagues, it is great to have an open dialogue of cultural barriers that we may be knowingly, or unknowingly, facing and how to overcome these. 

We have also created smaller ‘Mastermind Groups’, these are groups of 5-6 colleagues that meet up regularly to help each other to grow and share best practices. The colleagues are completing 2 Masterclasses on Career Masterclass each month to build momentum in improving their career. 

In H2 2021, we are looking to give them a business related project to be able to showcase their skills to senior leaders & be able to effectively put into practice the skills learnt from the Masterclasses. 

The sessions have been great to keep a key focus on career development, and have been able to provide a space for colleagues to feel they truly belong and that we have strength in diversity.  My personal biggest aha moment is knowing that we’re not alone with cultural differences that we go through! 

How has STRETCH45 influenced your career?

STRETCH45 has given me the realisation that serving a purpose bigger than ourselves is what we, as humans, thrive on. I’ve taken my role within STRETCH45 as a privilege and a key responsibility that we should all be doing as much as we can to make the company more diverse and inclusive across all areas.