Trade Legend Spotlight with Laura Smith

3 min read
"We have a clear alignment across the business, a high-performing, talented team and a strong culture."

- Laura Smith, Chief People Officer

This latest instalment of Trade Legend Spotlight, a blog series sharing the stories of the people behind Trade Ledger, introduces you to our Chief People Officer, Laura Smith. Read on to find out why Laura became a Trade Legend and what some of her favourite culture and people initiatives have been.

How long have you been at Trade Ledger? What was it that drew you to working here?

I’ve been at Trade Ledger for 3 years now. I joined when we were just 15 people globally. I have seen quite a lot of growth and change throughout the years. Roger Vincent, our Global VP of Sales, who I used to work with previously, introduced me to Trade Ledger.

The biggest thing that attracted me to the company is the freedom and autonomy to make an impact. Previously, I was at a larger, corporate organisation where you have very established processes and practices that have been run for a long time. I was definitely excited to commit to an environment with a blank sheet of paper. Where I can make my mark, make an impact and just be creative. Its an environment where you can think outside of the box and build an organisation that you always dreamed of working at.

If I am to sum the reasons for me to join Trade Ledger up in 3 words, I’d say: freedom, creativity and autonomy.

That’s really interesting, thank you, Laura. How would you describe the environment at Trade Ledger, and why?

Fast, challenging and rewarding. This is how I feel day-to-day.

The pace in the start-up world is night and day compared to what I’ve seen previously at larger businesses. You make a decision today and you then execute and deliver on it tomorrow. There is no red tape that slows you down. The amount of projects we get to deliver in a month is really impressive. You can never dream of it in some of the larger organisations I’ve been at.

It’s definitely challenging. People really get pushed out of their comfort zones. Sometimes, you have to work long hours. Your skillset and capabilities are put to test, you get stretched.

But because of this you grow really fast, learn new things and work with smart and inspiring people. You could have a tough day but, at the end of it, you will feel like you’ve accomplished something. That rewarding feeling makes the hard work worthwhile.

Could you tell us about Trade Ledger’s internal diversity and inclusion group? Why does it exist?

This group is focused on proactively shaping the right inclusive culture that we need at Trade Ledger. Employees from across the business come together to collectively work on a shared goal. We work together to make Trade Ledger the best place to work and to make sure we are living and breathing our values across the organisation.

We recently launched a new Women’s network called “Gals Going Places”. Check out our video-announcement of this initiative. This network is open to everyone that collectively works to empower and support women, in and outside of Trade Ledger. We discuss complex topics, share vulnerable stories to help us grow as individuals, and, most importantly, have some fun. We’ve created a space where we can connect with like-minded individuals to help us continuously grow and support each other.

What’s your favourite initiative that the group delivered?

Great question! There are so many to choose from, I will share my top 3 initiatives.

One that we delivered earlier in the year is a series of mental health awareness workshops with the West Kent Mind charity. I love that charity and what they do. Their purpose is to make sure anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support. This is a very important topic to us. 3 of our team members are trained as Mental Health First Aiders. The mental health first aid course allowed us to make sure that some deeper level expertise and knowledge around this topic are being spread around the team.

To support people's wellbeing at Trade Ledger, we also offer wellbeing days throughout the year (we call them “Legend Days”). These are fully paid days off for people to recharge; whether that is a duvet day, spending time with loved ones or going on a long dog walk - health means different things to different people and we want to make sure people have time to focus on themselves.

To make sure we keep a pulse on how people are feeling and their wellbeing, we recently rolled out a new feedback tool that asks the team 4 different questions on a weekly basis. I’m excited to use this new tool so we can keep a continuous pulse on how people are feeling, engagement levels and where we can improve.

What do you feel puts Trade Ledger into a strong position going forward? What excites you about the next 12 months?

We have a clear alignment across the business, a high-performing, talented team and a strong culture. We’ve had to work hard at getting us to this point, and it hasn’t been easy.  I’m proud of what the team has achieved. With the right people, culture and direction I truly believe we can achieve anything. In terms of the top highlights, we’ve recently announced our partnership with HSBC, the world's largest trade bank, as well as NordLB, one of Germany’s largest commercial banks. These achievements are a reflection of Trade Ledger’s strong position in the market. And we are just getting started! 

Want to find out more about working with us at Trade Ledger? Check out our Careers page.

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