Driving Change: An Insider’s Perspective on Banking, Diversity & Inclusion, and Making a Difference

In August 2021, Ian Clarke held the position of Vice President of Global Banking Sales in New York City, USA. He was a driving force behind strategy, innovation, content, and solutions at HSBC Transaction Banking, contributing significantly to the success of six strategic sub-sectors over his illustrious 14-year career.

Two years after releasing his influential Project Speak Up report on the state of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) within financial services, Ian shares his insights on the dynamics of change within the banking world, business landscape, and beyond.

The Legacy of Project Speak Up “Project Speak Up” had a global impact by uniting people and reminding them that they are not alone in their experiences. The legacy of the project is embodied in the meaningful change it inspired. Ian expresses pride in achieving significant milestones, such as the appointment of the first black female board member in investment banking history. He credits the success to his dedicated colleagues who contributed to his research and made each day of his career brighter. However, he notes that it’s frustrating that it took centuries and a personal sacrifice to bring about such changes. Ian emphasises the importance of unique perspectives and ideas over nepotism and discrimination in leadership.

Addressing George Floyd’s Murder and Its Implications The tragic murder of George Floyd highlighted the urgent need for meaningful change in the world. Ian criticises the performative responses from lackluster leaders and their followers, urging for real action to tackle uncomfortable truths. He acknowledges that speaking up requires courage and can have financial implications, but he believes that money isn’t the only measure of success. Ian’s commitment to helping others galvanised his purpose in life, broadened his horizons, and led to personal growth.

Rating Business Leaders’ Efforts in Driving Change Ian acknowledges the positive changes driven by technology, particularly in the realm of digital banking that has revolutionised traditional branch banking. However, he critiques the lack of progress in diversity and inclusion efforts within major firms. He highlights the need for change across multiple traits facing oppression and calls for leadership that promotes unique ideas and perspectives rather than rigidity and homogenisation. Ian notes the progress made through his report, which encouraged others to speak up about their experiences of workplace discrimination.

Thoughts on Diversity & Inclusion Ian observes that while records show past elections as peaceful events, recent events like the Capitol Hill riots have created a new normal of turmoil. He stresses that hatred and oppression are unchallenged globally and need to be addressed urgently. Ian acknowledges the impact of Project Speak Up and believes that more initiatives like it are needed to effect positive change on a larger scale.

Current Endeavors Following his departure from corporate life, Ian founded the Deilightful Group, which is dedicated to promoting meaningful change using principles grounded in Quantum Mechanics. He has authored “The Sciences of Change,” a book that aims to empower readers with tools to address challenges and create positive impact. Ian’s book invites curious minds on a journey through space and time, offering real-life experiences, evidence-based insights, and practical solutions for change makers.

For those seeking empowerment against workplace challenges, those pondering humanity’s place in the universe, or anyone intrigued by a fresh perspective on life’s mysteries, Ian’s book is a resourceful guide to navigating change and fostering a brighter future.

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