High Flyers: People person Susan still loves to embrace new challenges

In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Susan McKane is senior manager, Northern Ireland at the British Business Bank.

Susan McKane is senior manager, Northern Ireland at the British Business Bank.
Susan McKane is senior manager, Northern Ireland at the British Business Bank.

What was your first job?

Before joining the British Business Bank, I started my career with Northern Bank as a graduate. Over my 23 years working there, which subsequently became Danske Bank, I endeavoured to develop skills across multiple disciplines largely aligned to supporting business banking.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a degree in Business Studies along with a few banking qualifications that I have achieved throughout my years working within the industry.

What do you attribute your success to?

Growing up, my dad was forever telling me ‘it’s a sad day when you don’t learn something new Susan’, and so this drive to embrace new challenges was instilled in me. I love to learn and during my time in Danske’s Fintech Hub, I was introduced to the idea of the ‘rookie mindset’ by Seamus Cushley. Rookies don’t have all the answers and so they’ll ask more questions, really listen and often gain a much more diverse view.

How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

I’d say I am approachable, inquisitive and empathetic. Having been described in the past as ‘chief dot joiner’ and ‘cross pollinator’, I’m a people person who loves building relationships and is passionate about supporting smaller businesses.

Who do you look up to in business?

In Northern Ireland we are blessed to have such inspirational females in business like Judith Totten and Mary McKenna.

How do you get the best out of people who work for you?

Firstly I’d say it’s when people work with me rather than for me. Trust and integrity are two vital qualities. We all have different skillsets so I want to recognise, embrace and maximise people’s talents and build an inclusive culture where everyone plays a part.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

I’m passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and smaller businesses. But I think more needs to be done to raise the awareness about the support available to them and to remove the obstacles preventing growth. This is something I will be committed to doing in my new role with the Bank.

What website or app could you not do without?

There’s nothing I like better than getting out to meet people face-to-face but I also couldn’t do without Microsoft Teams and LinkedIn.

What was the last book you read?

'How To Change Absolutely Everything' by Damian Hughes. It’s a book I must have read 10 times and have also bought for friends.

What car do you drive?

Volkswagen Tiguan.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I have two ambitions when I get to retirement. Firstly to study psychology and secondly is my dream to open a dog sanctuary.

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

I am passionate about supporting social enterprise and have the privilege of sitting on the board of Made in Mourne. Driving positive change and social impact, these organisations support some of the most vulnerable groups within our local communities whilst also making a significant economic contribution here in NI. I’m a big advocate for #buysocial.