Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia is the Founder and Executive Chair of the start-up Snoop and a senior adviser to Salesforce. Jayne-Anne was the CEO of Virgin Money from 2007 to 2018.
An advocate for gender diversity in business, in November 2016 Jayne-Anne was appointed as the UK Government’s Women in Finance Champion and in July 2017 she became a founder member of its Business Diversity and Inclusion Group.
In 2018 she was named Leader of the Year at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards. She was made a Dame in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list.
1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given
There’s no one single piece of advice but the advice from down the years that I always remember and return to is: Never take no for an answer. Don’t be deflected by criticism. Build networks and surround yourself with people who stand for something beyond business. Identify your purpose and try and make a difference in the world. On specifics I think one thing has always stood out to me and that’s to make sure you don’t have a ‘work’ persona and a ‘home’ persona. Find out who you are and be that person!
2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given
A common theme of my story is an unswerving belief in what I call EBO, an ambition to make everyone better off. I believe that a business has a duty to contribute to a better society, a duty to strive to make everyone better off and an imperative to stand up and make a difference. When I first introduced this way of thinking many years ago at Virgin Money there were a few detractors. Mostly senior men with experience but no vision. People who saw business as a simple numbers game (profit/loss) rather than changing people’s lives for the better. They couldn’t get their head around an idea which said we could develop an even more successful business if we stood for something beyond the bottom line. They’d say EBO is not the way to go – “how can we possible make money by looking out for everyone”? – and strongly advised me to think again. It was the worst possible advice and I’m glad I held firm and backed myself to build a business with purpose.
3. What would you tell your younger self?
I’d say to my younger self to always try to be confident, determined and believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask ‘stupid questions’ and challenge assumptions. Never let the bullies win and remember, you can achieve anything you set your mind too.
4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?
Genuinely marrying Fin and Tech together and using the power of data to drive much better outcomes for consumers. Data doesn’t belong to business it belongs to individuals. Snoop turns the tables and helps consumers make the most of their data to make them better off. Come to think of it, that’s not even an ‘industry’ yet – is it? And that’s the exciting part – In the years to come I genuinely believe that the best experience in banking will no longer be with a bank. The Snoop team are focused on making that a reality. And that’s super exciting.
5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My parents and family first and foremost. In a business sense I have been lucky enough to work with some very inspirational characters. From Sir Richard Branson, Sir Brian Pitman to more recently the indomitable Marc Benioff.
When I reflect on who has inspired me most I would say Sir Brian. He shared with me rich and colourful stories as we walked around London together during the financial crisis and really believed in me and EBO. He was a great man and always an inspiration.