March 8, 2024 Celebrating International Women's Day with Cheryl Holl

By Cheryl Holl

In honour of International Women's Day on Friday 8th March, we have invited women from our leadership team to share their inspiring stories and journeys.

Celebrating International Women's Day with Cheryl Holl

Each year, International Women's Day is celebrated globally to reflect on progress made, to raise awareness on change needed and to celebrate the women around us. This year's theme is #InspireInclusion.

Profiling women from our leadership team, we will be learning about their career journey, their proudest achievement since joining Oak, what women inspire them and how they are committed to inspire inclusion.

Over the past week, we have heard from Kate Clouston, Jo Gorrod, Kim Sgarlata, and today we hear from Cheryl Holl, Director in our Mauritius office on International Women's Day itself. 

Can you tell us about yourself and your career journey so far?

I am proud to call myself a ‘Compliance Professional’, as a few years ago there were no qualifications available to recognise this modern discipline, which I believe is really at the heart of business! 

I began my career at a UK law firm while reading law at the University of Sussex. I then landed an exceptional opportunity to work in regulatory affairs at Barclays in Mauritius and returned to this paradise island where I was lucky to be born! As I expanded my network and furthered my professional studies in law and GRC to deepen my knowledge and technically equip myself, my career advanced and I gained invaluable experience across different organisations within both the legal and AML field.

I joined Oak in 2017, initially as a Manager within the Trust & Corporate team before being appointed as the Compliance Officer, MLRO and Data Protection Officer. My contribution to the organisation was humbly recognised and I was appointed as a director on the Oak Mauritius board in March 2022.

What has been your proudest achievement so far since joining Oak?

I am very proud to lead a strong compliance team which provides proactive insights and supplies the board with actionable information. The team are excellent change managers, guardians of compliance and ethics and add huge value to corporate strategy and its execution. 

On an individual level, it’s a privilege to be appointed as the first female director on the board with a legal and compliance background. Having a seat at the table helps to protect the business by ensuring that legal and regulatory considerations are raised early in the decision-making process.

What is the greatest advice you have been given?

My mother reminds me to always keep things in perspective and see every situation as a learning opportunity!

Which women inspired you the most and why?

I am inspired by Catherine Pigeon, who has been my reporting line at Oak for several years. She has been my mentor and sponsor and a key enabler to my ability to lead with confidence and integrity. She encourages me to voice my views, even where I am a minority and taught me to believe that decision making is more effective when everyone’s best thinking is heard. I am grateful for her willingness to share the wisdom she has acquired over the years within the industry and how she has advocated for my promotion.

I hope that I will also be able to mentor other women to become influential leaders.

What ways are you committed to inspire inclusion?

I actively try to create space during meetings to ensure marginalised voices are amplified. I believe inclusion requires a conscious effort not to be bias.

Being a woman in a leadership position, I aim to model inclusive behaviour for others to follow. This is not by perfection, but passion, to see equal treatment of all.

Do you have any advice you would give to other women starting out in the industry?

Find a mentor to champion your advancement, someone who will help you to empower yourself by understanding your strengths and using them to overcome your weaknesses. Be the change you want to see, and it will start to happen.

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