Forget 'Suits', Lesley Wan is the real deal. Voted one of the Guardian's '10 Women Who are Changing the Face of the City' and Legal Counsel of the Year at the British Legal Awards in December 2012, Lesley was Lloyds Banking Group first in-house real estate finance counsel ten years ago in a position where she changed the definition for in-house lawyers.
She is now General Counsel at FBN Bank and for anyone lucky enough to meet her, her stellar career is only matched by her megawatt smile, endless energy, creativity and resourcefulness. Cucumber (just about!) managed to catch up with her to ask her some questions.
Cucumber Clothing Questions,
Lesley Wan Answers
CC - What is your favourite childhood memory?
LW - Playing ring-a-ring a rosie with my four siblings around a rose bush and chasing bumblebees in the garden!
CC - What was your first job?
LW - I worked in my parents’ fruit & vegetable shop in NZ every Saturday from 9am to 5pm since I was 8 years old. Everyday after school, my siblings and I had to go to the shop and help our parents serve customers, put the fruit and vegetables on display and restock the groceries. Notwithstanding I really hated working there, this was a great opportunity for me to learn about sales and the customer experience. I have been able to apply these life experiences in everyday life.
CC - What is the best gift you’ve been given and why?
LW - Unconditional & incredible love from my wonderful, KIND, warm, charismatic and highly emotionally intelligent Mum. She is a rare diamond and I love her to bits. I am so lucky to be so loved.
CC - Where next on your travel bucket list?
LW - I’m heading to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum 2019.
CC - Who is your dream dinner date and why?
LW - Nelson Mandela - he was a cool dude, charismatic, kind and with a conviction to do the right thing that I find so inspiring. I missed the opportunity to meet him in person as he was visiting when I was in Brunei interviewing for a property role to work for the Royal Family, many moons ago.
CC - What are you most proud of?
LW - I’m really proud of having set up my charity, Through the Looking Glass which has seen so many incredibly talented young students from low income backgrounds successfully go onto realise their potential.
CC - What do you never leave home without?
LW - Orange Lipstick.
CC - What is your signature style piece?
LW - A beautiful flower in my hair
CC - What was the last thing you bought and loved?
LW - My blue push scooter - it’s great exercise and a lot of fun whirling down the pavement (avoiding pedestrians of course) and is a great way to firm your buttocks! Well, I'm working on it…
CC - What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
LW - Have more patience and listen.
CC - If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would she think?
LW - I would be completely surprised about the journey where life has taken me but immensely proud of the fantastic opportunities that have come my way. I am delighted that I got to go to drama school in West Hollywood and also learn the piano - these are things I was desperate to do as a child but we couldn't afford to do and in any event, I was told I had to be either a doctor or a lawyer.
CC - Where next for Lesley Wan?
LW - I really want to focus on expanding my charity in the UK and bringing in different elements to cater for the dreams of the future generation e.g. to include the creative arts. I also want to spend more time developing personal initiatives to benefit the youth in our society and inspire them to go on to do great things and truly realise their potential.