A Journey through Finance, Technology, and the LGBTQIA+ Advocacy!
Curiosity is a strong motivator. It drives people to venture into unfamiliar territories of knowledge challenge conventional thinking, and find fresh solutions to long-standing issues. In the world of finance, curiosity is the catalyst for transformation. Finance, by its very nature, is an intricate and ever-changing field. It operates on a global scale, involves complex systems, and is heavily regulated. The tiniest mistake or inefficiency can have significant repercussions hence the necessity of strict controls and governance. This complexity is what captivates inquisitive individuals.
Pips Bunce is undeniably one of them. Currently serving as Director and Head of Investment Banking Technology Strategic Platforms at Credit Suisse AG, part of the UBS Group company, Pips brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table.
But her impressive resume doesn’t stop there. Pips is also an appointed Leadership Fellow at St. George’s House Windsor Castle, a testament to her leadership skills and commitment to personal and professional growth. She holds certifications as an Enterprise Architect from the Open Group Architecture Framework and as a HENKA Institute coach.
Pips’s journey through the world of finance and technology has been nothing short of remarkable. Prior to her role at Credit Suisse AG, she served as an Executive Director at the prestigious Goldman Sachs. Her career traces back to the days when UBS was merging with SBC Warburg Dillon Reed, showcasing her adaptability and resilience in the face of industry transformations.
However, her roots in the tech world run deep. Pips began her career over 30 years ago at British Telecom Research, a testament to her enduring passion for technology. Even while working full-time at British Telecom Research, she managed to achieve the remarkable feat of obtaining a first-class BSc degree with honors—a tribute to her unrelenting dedication.
Throughout her career, Pips has primarily worked in the Financial Services and Telecoms sectors, but the common thread has always been technology. Her love for technology was cultivated at a young age, and it has been the driving force behind her many accomplishments.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Visionary: Embracing Identity and Technology
From the age of 4, Pips discovered her true gender identity, being a proud member of the trans, non-binary, gender-fluid, and broader LGBTQIA+ community. By the age of 10, she also developed a passion for technology and solving complex problems, even though at that young age she hadn’t yet encountered critical global enterprise systems, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and fintech. Pips’ curiosity and eagerness to embrace new challenges led her to focus on the intricate technical issues present in the financial services sector and how technology can effectively address various problems. This drive has not only motivated and inspired her to pursue a career in technology but has also made her realize the essential interconnectedness of various skills, such as inclusive leadership, diversity equity, and inclusion, that shape who they are and how they collaborate. Although Pips is happy using either she, her, or they as her pronouns, she often defaults to and prefers she or her as her chosen pronouns.
Navigating a Dynamic Tech Landscape
Throughout her career, Pips has gained experience and held various roles in the financial services and telecoms industries. She has witnessed the ever-changing landscape of tools, technologies, approaches, and frameworks, constantly adapting and applying them. This diversity of tech applications is what intrigues Pips the most.
Her projects have ranged from managing large deep space communication systems to developing real-time risk systems and pricing models. She has also been involved in creating online trading platforms, implementing AI to assign sentiment to communication channels, and establishing trading networks in new markets and stock exchanges in the UAE.
When it comes to AI, she often collaborates with pioneers in their respective fields, engaging in discussions about making the world more open, accepting, and inclusive. Working alongside dear friends who are making remarkable progress in AI, machine learning, and quantum computing continues to inspire her. For instance, one of her colleagues serves on the parliamentary ethics committee in the AI committee, leading to fascinating conversations on the topic.
Another connection, facilitated by her membership as a Radcliffe Advisory member, allows her to witness the national quantum computing strategy being chaired. Through these interactions, she gained firsthand knowledge of real-life applications of theoretical concepts like string entanglement theory, which can have life-saving implications. The rapid progress being made in these fields is truly astounding.
Advocating Inclusive Leadership and Positive Change
Pips believes that to effectively drive change across organizations, it is crucial to involve people and make them feel included in the process. They emphasize the importance of authenticity and genuineness in all actions, as well as adopting an agile approach that aligns with the organization’s way of working. One successful example is adopting a coaching leadership style, which yields superior results compared to outdated and less effective methods. Pips works with various groups, including governmental bodies, multinational corporations from different industries (such as technology, finance, legal, and pharmaceutical), as well as smaller charities and SMEs. The way these groups operate varies greatly, with some being slow to change and others being agile, lean, and open to transformation.
Regardless of the size of the organization or the seniority of its leaders, Pips appreciates their shared desire to continuously improve, promote inclusive leadership, and foster empowered allyship. The goal is to go beyond being allies and become advocates for positive change. Whether they need support, guidance, or advice on the next steps, what will work and what won’t, and how to transform their organization’s culture based on their unique context, Pips is there to assist as a catalyst for positive change.
Pips has gained valuable experience and personal growth through her various affiliations. As a Leadership Fellow at Windsor Castle, she has the opportunity to engage with high-level executives who share common values. The House prioritizes openness, honesty, trust, and respect, attracting individuals from diverse backgrounds with varying views, opinions, and beliefs for meaningful discussions. The practice of consultation aims to cultivate wisdom and explore the potential for a better world. The pursuit of wisdom, as a collective endeavor, promotes affirmation, curiosity, and unpredictability. It encourages us to question the status quo and aspire to the well-being of all individuals and our planet. Wisdom is progressive and unburdened by societal trends. It fosters personal and communal transformation. Trust, equality, and peace are tangible outcomes of such wisdom, values that she personally endorses.
Embracing Authenticity in the Corporate World
Pips faced her biggest challenge when she made the decision to come out as a non-binary and gender-fluid person in the workplace. Although she had always been open about her true identity with her family and friends, she had never fully embraced it at work. Several years ago, she realized that it was important to live authentically in all aspects of her life, including her professional life, so she decided to come out in the corporate workplace. Coming out of the workplace was a mix of emotions and required a lot of courage. However, Pips was deeply touched by the amazing support and compassion she received from colleagues across different firms and sectors. It was truly remarkable to experience such acceptance and diversity in the workplace. Embracing her true self had a positive impact on her personal abilities, confidence, commitment, engagement, and overall happiness.
While there are always individuals who struggle to accept a more inclusive and open world, Pips chooses to focus on the majority who share her values of humility, love, acceptance, and empathy. Throughout history, there have been instances of resistance to progress in areas like transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, sexism, racism, and others. However, Pips believes that love will always triumph over hate.
Being the first to come out as both gender fluid and non-binary in her environment was challenging, but Pips feels humbled knowing that she has inspired others to embrace their true identities. Seeing the positive impact of authenticity has encouraged many individuals to follow the same path.
The work done in corporate workplaces extends beyond the boundaries of the corporate world itself, which is incredibly rewarding. Pips has encountered numerous young adults who have gone through difficult experiences, including bullying and unhappiness in school. They find hope in seeing corporate workplaces fostering an environment of openness and acceptance, free from prejudice, harassment, and bullying. This serves as a beacon of light in their lives.
Over the years, Pips has received numerous awards and accolades for her work and LGBTQI+ advocacy. Each recognition holds significant meaning for her, as she understands the importance of visible role models and representation within the community. Pips distinctly remembers the moment when she contemplated coming out into the corporate world. She felt isolated, as there were no other individuals in the sector who shared her identity. It was a daunting experience.
Therefore, receiving recognition and showcasing the importance of pride and visibility is crucial for Pips. Being featured in the Top 100 LGBTQI+ Executives list (previously hosted by the Financial Times and now by Yahoo Finance) has been a source of immense pride. Additionally, receiving the Inspirational Role Model Award at the British Diversity Awards and being featured in the Business Insider LGBT+ Finance Top 7 Power list and the BAM/LLYC Top LGBT+ execs in Tech and Venture have been significant achievements for Pips.
Pips, alongside Steve Cook and Sam Altman, is a notable figure on the capital list. From being honored with the Inspirational Role Model Award at the British Diversity Awards to being a finalist for the 2023 Bank of London Rainbow Honors Inspirational Role Model Award and the 2023 European Diversity Awards in the Inspiration Leader Category, She takes great pride in the recognition she has received on various platforms, including WeAreTheCity inspirational profiles, PWC Inspirational 50, Mindr Top 50, the Top 100 most successful LGBT+ executives worldwide, and the People Management D&I Power List.
However, she always emphasizes that it is the allies of the LGBTQI+ community who are the true superheroes. They are the ones who drive significant cultural change, creating inclusive and safe spaces in the workplace and society. With gratitude, Pips expresses her appreciation to every LGBTQI+ ally, acknowledging their superpower and support.
Equally, she expresses immense pride in being part of the LGBTQI+ movement, working towards a world where love triumphs over hate and where diversity, in all its remarkable forms, is celebrated rather than merely tolerated.
Lastly, she shares one of her favorite quotes from Oscar Wilde, which has always been a source of inspiration for her.
“Be yourself as everyone else is already taken.”