EXCLUSIVE: ‘If you’ve got it…’use it!’ – Claire Green, Railsbank in ‘The Fintech Magazine’
Claire Green is Head of People at Railsbank, the London-headquartered banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform. As a former member of the England women’s rugby squad, Green shares her tips on embedding a culture of high performance – both on the pitch and when it comes to upping your game in the ultra-competitive fintech space
I have mixed feelings when looking back at 2020. It was a tough year for us all with COVID-19 and the challenges it presented, but also a landmark year for Railsbank.
After acquiring Wirecard’s UK assets and raising $37million in new growth funding, we’re now busy expanding the company’s global footprint and further developing our products and services.
Continuing to grow Railsbank is reliant on having the right team in place. That’s the core element for success. Joining Railsbank was an easy choice for me; it’s a pioneer within the growing fintech sector and indeed the wider financial services space, but it also believes strongly in nurturing a talented and diverse team that works together to become the very best.
I helped to define the company’s customer IT proposition from the beginning, before moving into working more closely with the company’s people to establish a forward-looking ‘people department’ to support the rapid growth of the business. I’m today responsible for all elements of Railsbank’s people strategy, including HR, recruitment, onboarding, training, performance and wellbeing.
My main focus is on helping people to settle in at Railsbank as naturally as I did; make the most of the opportunity Railsbank presents, and supporting career progression. For that, I draw on a lot of the lessons I learned throughout my rugby career. My hope is to have as much success with my teammates in business as I did with my teammates in sport.
I started my rugby career while at the University of Greenwich, making it into the starting lineup in each of my three years, in the England Students team. During my final year, I joined Saracens RFC and was selected for more national honours by playing for England A.
After graduating, I continued to pass through the England ranks and represented my country until 2005, gaining 35 caps, mostly in the second row, and playing at the 1998 World Cup finals. I also continued to play for Saracens, the team that Railsbank co-founders Nigel Verdon and Clive Mitchell support (though I’m sure this didn’t influence my hire!), and then Wasps, winning the National Cup and League at both clubs.
My passion now lies in embedding and supporting a similar high-performance culture at Railsbank, one that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness as we look to succeed on the fast-moving fintech field.
So, where can rapidly-scaling businesses like Railsbank learn from rugby?
It’s all about teamwork. Rugby is a team sport where success depends on the sum of each team’s parts. The same applies in the often volatile, yet exciting, world of fintech. You need to be ready to step in to support a colleague at a moment’s notice. And teamwork means they’ll do the same for you.
Know your basics. In rugby, the basics are scrums and lineout – why do you think we practise them so much! They’re the building blocks for success. Conquer them, and you’re on the path to victory. What are the basics in your fintech job? Practise these to get them absolutely right, so you can do the fundamentals of your job really well, time and time again.
Embrace the rapidly-changing environment. As in rugby, the business environment – especially at fast-growth businesses – evolves and changes rapidly. As the play changes, your original game plan can go out of the window. Make sure that you’re ready to respond and adapt. Not adapting is a wasted opportunity and it might cost you the game.
Get comfortable with the pace. Much of my rugby has been played in particularly fast-paced games – certainly at national and international level. If you’re working in fintech, I don’t have to tell you what pressure is like! High performance comes with being able to operate at this pace. Embrace it, get comfortable with it. It’s important to stay calm, stay in control and trust in yourself.
Be on your best behaviour! Your personal behaviour is as important in the business world as it is on the rugby pitch. To be part of a high-performance team, you need to be a genuine team player, sacrificing personal gain for the team’s achievements.
Consider how you operate. In both rugby and business, you must operate with humility and respect – and that applies to teammates and competitors alike. You need to show determination, dedication and support those around you to help them be the best they can.