Before joining Barclays, Jo Aitken ran a sports organisation developing ambitious legacy initiatives in east London connected to the 2012 Olympics. In 2015, she took a year out to have a baby. One year turned into three, but Barclays’ Encore! programme – which helps people who have taken a career break to re-enter the workforce – allowed Jo to transition into a dynamic new role, as a Corporate Banking Relationship Director in Technology, Media and Telecoms. She tells us why the programme works.
In many ways, Jo Aitken’s current position at Barclays is a world away from anything she has done before. But it’s clear that her talent for relationship development – which became apparent 12 years ago when she first nurtured client relationships at public body Sport England – is stronger than ever.
During Jo’s three-year career break, she raised her young son, project managed a house renovation and coached friends on their own careers. Jo also maintained a non-executive role as an independent trustee to the London Youth Games Foundation, keeping her experiences fresh and her contacts relevant.
Aware that her perspective on life had shifted during her time away, Jo identified the aspects of her previous jobs she had most relished – strategy, carving out business development opportunities, relationship building and management – and began to think about how she could transfer those skills to another sector.