March 7, 2024 Celebrating International Women's Day with Kim Sgarlata

By Kim Sgarlata

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 Kim Sgarlata

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.

Yesterday, Jo shared her story, Kate also shared her story at beginning of the week, and today Kim Sgarlata, CEO in our Guernsey office shares hers.

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

When you dig into it, I am a people leader and a relationship manager. Alongside driving business transformation, these two things have been consistent throughout my career. With teams, I start with why, ensuring teammates understand how their work fits into the bigger picture.

I have a proven track record for execution of strategic plans across firms in financial services. I've worked across the US, UK, Asia and now Channel Islands and Isle of Man at a variety of financial services institutions, mostly at the intersection of business strategy, technology and innovation. I've worked directly for State Street, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and HSBC as well as countless global banks during the time I spent at Accenture and Capco.

I am now the CEO of Oak Group, which is a really "big small" company - 200 people across 4 jurisdictions and £19bn AUA - with a strong global ambition and a strategy to underpin it. I am proud of my Tennessee roots, the family my wife and I have created, and the relationships and friendships I've forged over the years. 

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

One of my proudest moments at Oak, is when I'm approached with a personal challenge or issue and asked for advice or to just listen. I see this as a great sign of trust, which is so critically important to me as CEO.

What is the greatest advice you have been given?

Early in my career, a mentor of mine said to me that it was important to know how to interview well, how to tell your personal story. It was a muscle to develop. She didn't just mean the formal interviews. She reminded me that we are "interviewed' all the time. People are assessing us in meetings, observing how we interact with our teams, etc. All of the time. And, of course, there will be times in your career when you formally interview as well. Whatever the situation is, you must be able to answer those sort of "interview questions".

You have to be able to tell your story, and in an interesting way! This skill is not only beneficial for those around you but also for yourself - it helps to define and remind you of what's important to you, i.e. why you do what you do, how you want to engage with others, how you want to be seen by others, how you want to lead, what kind of work you do. I've always kept a bank of "interview questions", and I revisit them quarterly to ensure I know how to answer them in an authentic way. My "answers" have certainly evolved over time. 

What ways are you committed to inspire inclusion?

I am committed to inspire inclusion by launching a new Employee Resource Group at Oak. The purpose of this group is to give a voice to underrepresented groups within Oak, offering a safe space for members to share experiences, support each other, and advise Oak on how to improve inclusivity. As we are a "big small" company, I think we should launch one at the start, encompassing many angles of inclusions and diversity under the banner of #BEYOURSELFATWORK.


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