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Elly Chalmers

I’m white British (Scottish). When I was 4 my dad had to retire (aged 36) due to ill health so grew up with little to no money around. His death when I was 16 completely blindsided me and made me change my plans to go to university. I decided to study art but my funding for art college fell through so I went to work in a bank for a year and the rest, as they say, is history.

I fell into asset management in 1990 when I moved to Standard Life, which was taking on local school leavers. I don’t think I would have even considered trying to get into the industry with my background & lack of degree without this. I was selected from dozens of applicants for investment admin because I was already working in the mortgage department of a bank. From valuations, I moved to client reporting and client servicing and finally found my niche in RFP/proposals.

RFP is very specialised which means even some Scottish-based companies have their RFP teams in London, so I made the move myself in 2013 after years of throwing my hands up in horror at the very thought of moving to London.

I love London now. What made it was finding friends via a local drama group, through which I’ve acted, directed, produced, stage managed, and written sketches & shows. I’m now writing a screenplay, well trying to. I’m also churchwarden at my local parish church.

I live with my partner. I don’t have children. Starting out in the industry, it seemed a woman couldn’t have children and a career so I chose not to. I’m glad the industry has moved on, but it still has a way to go, and the generation of trailblazers who led the way are now facing the challenges of menopause and I want to do what I can to make sure the industry steps up for them, the way they have for decades. I’m also passionate about letting young women from my background know they have a place in our industry if they want it, too.

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