Clara Siemans, St James’ School 1975 Leaver
As well as her Chairman role at HSBC UK Bank PLC, Clara is a non-executive Director of Vodafone and Amadeus IT. She is a Senior Advisor to Chatham House, a member of Bocconi University’s International Advisory Council and in 2012, she chaired the Lead Expert Group of the UK Government’s Office for Science Foresight Project on computer trading in financial markets. She was an External Member of the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) from 2013 to 2016 and CEO of The London Stock Exchange from 2001 to 2009.
“Citizen of Nowhere”
I grew up all over the world, courtesy of my father’s job working for a large Canadian multinational company.
By the time I landed at St James’, I was speaking three languages; Dutch was my first language, then English and Spanish. But my education at American International schools in far flung places was pretty chequered, to say the least! Despite this and the rather strange experience of wearing a smart navy blue suit, a boater and having to learn to play lacrosse (at which I was absolutely rubbish) on freezing cold and muddy fields in miniscule sport ‘skorts’, St James’ got me through numerous O Levels and three A Levels.
I was extremely fortunate to get into the London School of Economics, which enabled me to pursue my dream of a career at the heart of global finance. I married a wonderful Brit, and have made this country my own. The City of London is, in my experience, a wonderful place to work; a uniquely international and strategic UK asset, brimming with opportunity for bright and ambitious young women.
What does success look like?
Being part of a happy family; life’s most important “achievement”.
What is your best piece of advice?
“Take the road less travelled” (but know where you want to go!).