Disability Employment Awareness Month 2021

Meet our employees

Disability Employment Awareness Month 2021

Meet our employees

October 2021

Natalie Wallder

Head of Collateral & Clearance Management, APAC
Hong Kong, China

Meet Natalie

 

I was originally brought up in Kent, South of England, by parents moving homes every two years, working hard to provide for their family. At a young and impressionable age, I clearly took  to these aspects, which are visible now in my life and shaped who I am today, with regular travel/moving around and a t continued desire to strive hard to achieve my future goals.

 

I left college with three job offers in three very different industries. The first was a role in a Bank (Bank of Scotland, as it was known at the time), another was from the Inland Revenue (tax authorities) and finally, the last was a retail management role for Debenhams department store. I accepted the offer to join the financial industry and it certainly proved to be the right choice! I discovered there are so many different aspects to it, for example you can work in a client facing role or the operational side, or finance, or product or risk… and so on. The opportunities are endless to identify a role that perfectly fits your skillset, which is by far one of the biggest attractions for me.

 

Throughout my banking career. I worked at many institutions and even considered a career change to teaching at one point, then I joined BNY Mellon in 2007. Initially I worked in a Global Client Management role for our Broker Dealer Services team in London. In 2008, I had the opportunity to travel on holiday to Hong Kong and my manager in London suggested I "pop in and see the local BNY Mellon office and just say hi!." So that's exactly what I did and when I returned six months later and  reconnected with colleagues in the Hong Kong office, I was offered a job then and there! The rest is history and I moved to Hong Kong in 2009 

 

I’m now Head of Clearance and Collateral Management for Asia Pacific. It has been quite a steep career ladder, including a change of continent, but a really interesting and exciting journey.

 

At BNY Mellon, I’ve been involved in several E/BRGs. I have spent  many years helping to develop the Women's Initiative Network (WIN) in Hong Kong, and more recently, supported GenEdge’s chapter in Asia Most recently though, I had the privilege to become the Executive Sponsor for HEART in APAC. HEART's mission is to engage members to raise awareness around disabilities in the workplace and sponsor interesting and meaningful events. HEART has become even more important during the pandemic, as wellbeing and work-life balance are among the challenges many of us are facing.

 

I have also become very passionate about HEART’s mission because of my own experience. About three years ago, I was walking down my rooftop steps at home and I fell to the bottom of the staircase, breaking both my tibia and fibula. For several months, I went from being wheelchair- bound to walking on crutches. This experience really opened my eyes to what it is like living with a disability. Navigating the simple things we all take for granted, such as  crossing the road or getting in and out of a taxi becomes a challenge. Being alone at home without my family, I had to think about smart ways to do things, such as attaching cups to my belt so that I could walk on crutches while carrying objects. What I learned, though, is that the consideration and kindness of others goes a long way.

 

Hong Kong is a very vibrant and energetic city and it doesn't wait for people. It is challenging to get around, even for an able-bodied person. Trying to maneuver with a disability, even during that short period, was a time of reflection and very humbling experience for me, especially during the rehabilitation process back to walking. Being able-minded when your body is less able requires you to become much more patient with yourself and thoughtful and kind towards others.

I have a new appreciation for people that live with a disability, whether it is physical or mental, apparent or invisible. Disability Employment Awareness Month highlights these experiences. We have no idea what others may be facing in their everyday personal lives.

Having a compassionate and a thoughtful working environment that is accepting and helpful means a lot to me. My colleagues are amazing and so supportive. I believe the reason for my success is because I have such an wonderful, kind and supportive team around me. This doesn't happen by accident, it happens by spending time talking, educating and supporting one another. We are all looking out for one another, and we are all striving for the same goals… but it's the people that truly makes the difference in our working environment.