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In this episode of The Speaker Show, Sean Pillot de Chenecey interviews Julia Streets.
Julis is a champion of fintech and female entrepreneurship, innovation, equality, diversity and inclusion.
Via her company Streets Consulting, she and her team advise a wide range of international firms in the field of fintech, AI, cyber and more. In her ‘DiverCity Podcast’ she interviews industry luminaries to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas requiring further focus and offer insights and best practice to help listeners drive change.
She’s also an auctioneer and stand-up comedian, and via her communications confidence-building programme ‘Executive Shine’ she coaches professionals from across the industry in how to be heard and command presence in meeting rooms, on conference calls, stages, panels, etc. She’s also the author of ‘The Lingua Franca of the Corporate Banker’.
In this entertaining and informative episode, we discuss a range of her viewpoints on issues including:
- Trend and Innovation in Fintech
- Leadership skills and styles
- The Future of Work
- Building a Progressive Corporate Culture
- Planning and Managing Dynamic Online Events
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (00:11): Hello, this podcast is care of Speakers Associates, the global speaker bureau representing a select group of the business world’s finest thinkers and thought leaders founded in 1999. Today Speakers Associates operate out of nine offices across seven countries covering the UK, Europe and Middle East. I’m Sean Pillot de Chenecey author of The Post-Truth Business and Influencers & Revolutionaries, which are being followed by The New Abnormal. In this series, I interview a range of fascinating individuals, proudly represented by the bureau. These change agents and industry experts give an update on their specialist areas of knowledge, and also on their motivations and viewpoints regarding the future of business.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (01:09): So today I’m really pleased to be joined by an incredibly dynamic individual Julia Streets. She’s a champion of FinTech and female entrepreneurship, innovation, equality, diversity, and inclusion in 2007, she incorporated her business streets consulting the business development, marketing and communication consultancy. Since then she and her team have advised a wide range of international firms in the field of FinTech, capital markets and a payments innovation and offering specialist technology, including block artificial intelligence, cyber, and more. Julia is a mentor for Accenture’s FinTech innovation lab and the investment Association’s velocity program, and has also mentored for swift in a tribe scheme, startup boot camps, FinTech and cyber security cohorts silo, the cyber security innovation program and, and the VCs innovation scheme prior to founding Streets Consulting. Julia was global head of communications, the New York stock exchange technologies serving on the executive committee in European head of marketing and sales development at internet in 27, she launched a podcast series diversity podcast, which is about to go into series 10.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (02:28): On each episode, she interviews an industry luminaries to shine a light on positive progress, call out areas of cry, further focus and offer insights and best practice to help listeners drive change in 2019, Julia and her team launched communications confidence, building program, executive shine coaching professionals from across the industry in how to be heard and command presence in meeting room on conference calls on stages panels, and as a compelling speaker, finally, Julia is proud to serve as a trustee of the charity street child and as a fellow of the British American project, the trans-Atlantic leadership fellowship. So Julia, after that glittering, CV. Hello. And how are you?
Julia Streets (03:16): I very well thinking I’m a bit exhausted after that actually. And there’s quite a few sort of strings to the bow, either all come together, but yeah, thank you. I’m delighted to be here.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (03:25): Well, it’s great to be with you. I know. It just to jump straight into it. We are talking earlier on, I know you’ve had as is usual for you an incredibly busy day. So go just before we go for any further talk us through the typical day that it is and the, a life of Julia Streets.
Julia Streets (03:40): Well, so in addition to, to running my business, as you mentioned, you know, we spent a lot of our time devising organizations from some of the smallest startup businesses to some of the world’s largest financial institutions around the world, which automatically makes for a very busy day. And I have a have an amazing team but I doing a lot of hosting and, and of course what’s fascinating is this blend of doing some material that’s prerecorded, you know, a keynote speech. I gave a keynote speech this morning to conference in Paris that was prerecorded followed by a co a fireside chat on a panel. And at the same time as that was going out in the conference, that should have been in Paris, but of course is now digital. I was also at law hosting a conference in Singapore or to Southeast Asian market or from my office here in London. So it’s quite odd when you, and particularly when you start posting things on Twitter and you start going, well, actually I’ve just given this speech and now I’m in Singapore. So yeah, it’s quite quite a busy day.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (04:38): It’s quite extraordinary day. And so just in, so in terms of, as we were saying earlier on your extraordinary background yeah, perhaps just to, to put some to put some, some, some color and, and, and more detail into that. Yeah. Just talk us through yeah. How you got to where you are now.
Julia Streets (04:54): Oh, happily. Yeah. So it’s been sort of quite an interesting route. Really. I, so I started sort working when I was 19 wasn’t, particularly academically brilliance, but came into the, the, the, the world of communications and the world of financial services working at a, one of the biggest PR firms in the world, and basically sort of cut my teeth and earned my pin stripes, as I always describe it working in the city in coms, then I went into a smaller consult join the do boom. So I was head of e-commerce during the dotcom boom, which is fantastic. Cause I loved working with entrepreneurs and the journey for an entrepreneur is everything you do matters. You know, you’re not, there’s no room for excess, there’s no room for politics and decision making and strats of things, you know, to decisions are made very quickly, impact is felt keenly.
Julia Streets (05:45): And, and I absolutely love that. And I love the fact that I worked with people who woke up one day and said, I’ve got a great idea. There’s an opportunity in the market. I’m going to go and build something, which, which I absolutely AOR. But then I decided to go in house. And in fact, one of my clients then called me up and said, you know, you fancy coming to work for us, which was the business called internet. And that was an electronic broker pioneers and electronic trading. So think of the open out cry days of trading on the stock exchange floor, you know, there’s been an enormous amount of change around that. So that was a fascinating time to work for them. And then I was headhunted to become global head of coms for the technology business of the New York stock exchange.
Julia Streets (06:25): So then I did it on an lactic scale. And when I came outta the stock exchange, I, I was in a, in a small cab venue watching a friend of mine sing bizarre. And I had this fault of lightning moment, which was, I need to do standup comedy and I have to do it now. And I, I basically, you know, I, it was just the time was right. I, I didn’t have a job at the time. I’d, I’d come outta the stock exchange. I was thinking about what to do next, but I, I was quite exhausted if I’m honest, I’d been in this fast track of career for, I was about 35 at the time. So if you think that was pretty fast, quite senior, quite young. Yeah. And I decided the next morning to, if I was gonna do it, I was gonna go big and it had to matter.
Julia Streets (07:08): So I booked a show at the Edinburgh fringe, the largest comedy festival in Europe, and having never done standup before I took a show to Edinburgh. And it wasn’t brilliant. What was fascinating was you know, comedy is a craft, public speaking is a craft. You have to also go and do your own marketing. You have to produce your own show. And so I, so I learned an enormous about that came back from Edinburg. And then by coincidence, somebody phoned me and said, look, I’ve got a bit of freelance work, too fancy doing that. And I started working with a startup, which is where my business took off. And I kept the comedy really quite separate from the business for a long time, until I started to be invited, to host all sorts of events. And then people said, actually, I, you know, I run a comedy festival or a, or a regional festival litera literary festival, would you come and perform?
Julia Streets (07:57): So then I started to, but actually I could do both. And then the business took off. And when I began to realize that when you bring those two together, so bringing some life and some energy onto the stages of, you know, arguably quite dry industry conferences, particularly if you’re talking about regulation, you’re talking about, you know, the complexities of data and analytics and, and technology and, and change yep. To bring some life and love to these events. And I’ve just been, I just get booked and more and more and more. And I think it’s because it’s the, it’s the blend of energy. And and, and knowing how to hold a crowd and I’ve done, you know, massive, massive events with, you know, thousands of people, you know, the opening of the innovation center at the Olympic park is one sort interesting example. Mm actually then creating very intimate formats as well, so much smaller, you know, round tables and think tanks. So really getting to be in a room with, with very, very senior people on a very confidential basis to be the independent so that you can have good rigorous conversation. And that’s, that’s kind of that’s, that’s the, the route that it has taken me down. And, and I love it cuz it’s, you know, business, I wouldn’t say at the moment, it’s not business and comedy cause I do less standup, but it’s certainly, you know, business and and, and debate and, and conversation I think is probably the best way of putting it.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (09:19): And in terms of that, in terms of debate and conversation, I mean to say at that point forward, perhaps just talk us through some of the, if you say the sort of big talking points that have been linked to the world of the capital markets, et cetera this year and, and what has been going on with regards to all things city related,
Julia Streets (09:41): Big question, big question.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (09:43): Yeah, exactly. How long have you gone?
Julia Streets (09:45): Well, let me, let me boil it down. So, so for me, it comes down to sort a number of key key points. One of them is, you know, getting through, COVID getting through macroeconomic change on a and geopolitical change on a, on a global international, regional and domestic scale. Mm. You know, ranging from Brexit here in the UK to, you know, obviously presidential elections around the world and what impact that has. The second thing is then how that drives through financial services. So where that’s in the capital markets, whether that’s in payments. So, you know, looking at the trends around eCommerce, particularly you know, during lockdown and throughout COVID, or look at the amount of, you know non cash payments that now are driving through and thinking about how therefore industry structures have to respond, capital markets has to be rock steady because the markets have been very volatile.
Julia Streets (10:40): You know, whether you trading equities, fixed income, commodities, derivatives, or whatever that is. And then in the world of payments is actually having good payments in infrastructure so that people can basically buy goods and services and pay for them in a very secure way. And security. I, I use that word very deliberately because there are obviously side topics around that are thinking through fraud and financial crime and making sure cybersecurity, et cetera, et cetera. The, the other then is also about talent and skills thinking through not only what do employees need from their leaders and therefore how leadership models have been really tested this year, but then thinking also about, you know, what skills and what talent do we have and do we need in, in the city? And I say the city in a London centric point of view, but I also think about this across the UK, across Europe and, and internationally as well.
Julia Streets (11:35): And thinking through, you know, the, of skills, the the fact that now in the financial services, we have five generations, you know, working together. And so therefore yeah, very, very digital, new entrants versus, you know, those with experience who have written through many, you know, many economic cycles. So talented skills is very important. And of course, you know, you mentioned about my podcast, diverse city podcast, talking about diverse inclusion, and then thinking about actually the, the, the trends and changes, and also the sticking points about why we don’t have more diverse employees in organizations when there’s an enormous amount of rhetoric. There’s a lot of brochure being produced by financial services organizations, but in fact, many, many sectors. So telling the world how committed to D and I, they truly are when you can walk in the front door and go, well, it doesn’t feel it, which is, which is complex. It is complex. It’s very nuanced. And so those are, those are just some of the big themes that we’re sort of thinking about at the moment.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (12:42): Mm, okay. Then in fact, to, to take some of those in detail, so starting with the issues around innovation, so some of the exciting things that are happening in financial services talk us through there. Some of the things that, that are interesting you at the moment you are thinking, wow, here’s a great new service or product line ad that’s gonna really impact and help people or, or whatever that particular innovation is. So yeah, just talk us through that. Some of the things that are really grabbing your attention
Julia Streets (13:15): Let me, let me pick just two or three because I could, I could actually talk to you for hours.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (13:20): Yeah,
Julia Streets (13:20): Yeah. Let me pick one from capital markets, capital markets is fascinating. You know, it is all about why capital markets matter is because of your, and my pension fund. It is about where our investments go and, and how that money and that liquidity, those investment decisions are made and executed. Yeah. And how do we make sure that we return investment performance and, or limit downside? And so therefore, how organizations are thinking about how do you mitigate and manage risk. And that’s also about how do you decide which investments to make, how you’re going to trade them. And then also how the post-trade clearing and settlement is executed as well. And when we talk about that, we tend to think about stocks and shares and bonds and derivatives and commodities, but there’s a really fascinating dynamic at the moment, which is about digital currencies, digital assets tokenization.
Julia Streets (14:22): And this is all set to completely transform the industry because, whereas it might arguably you might be thinking when I talk about digital currencies, you know, cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, that may well be where mind might take you, you know, there have been so many new digital currencies have been brought to market. So therefore there are now stock exchanges. And also there are enabling technologies such as blockchain that are enabling this, but it has to grow up, you know, it has to be institutional ready and fit for purpose. And therefore the regulators are looking very, very keenly at it. And what we’re seeing at the moment is, is a wave of support from central banks, from policy makers, regulators, governments, to say, actually this is to future and let’s work together to, to see how we can really make this work. So that that’s a fascinating area in, in capital markets in the world of kinda wholesale.
Julia Streets (15:20): So I would think about how banks and financial institutions are serving some more to medium sized enterprises right now, and also a bit of a gap in the market actually, which is around the medium sized enterprises. So those businesses in the UK and fact around the world, but particularly in the UK at the moment. And I say, particularly in the UK, because, you know, post Brexit, this is where we, I believe will unlock economic potential. You know, those organizations would turn of between one and say 10 million. And they, they re they they make a massive economic contribution and yet actually are very underserved by banks and financial institutions, but need to have tools that their fingertips so that they can see not only their cash flow can think about their treasury decisions, as in where they, they invest their cash excess cap, you don’t want to sitting in the bank, therefore, you know, the decisions that they make are impacted by foreign exchange transactions and thinking about other aspects of finance and actually doing business that will have an impact and, and data and analytics is a huge part of that and be able to align all of your data feeds both in the world of financial management and outside the world of financial management as well, such as purchasing.
Julia Streets (16:44): And this is a whole sort of concept around open banking and open finance where we’re now not just closed siloed services from individual institutions, but actually the regulation is mandating that we should be able to get those to work together. And there are various enabling technologies like it’s called APIs, which is applicational program or interfaces, which means that data can flow inside the organization and also outside your organization. But there are big quite questions about privacy, identity, governance and security. So that’s really interesting. And then if I think about actually on a retail basis is, you know, the huge trends which I touched on before. So I won’t go into for, for terribly long, but thinking about you know, what we as consumers need not only eight to day payments, but also access to cryptocurrencies and the role of cryptocurrencies and thinking about how do we actually make better value or extract greater value and insight and transparency in the decisions we make as investors as, as consumers, and also as hopefully people who are thinking about their pension and their longer term investments as well, and, and for a, for a secure future, really.
Julia Streets (18:04): So, so that, that would be my, my third point really is, is thinking about the trends in consumer.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (18:08): Yeah. Yeah. And on that final point, you mentioned there about looking to a secure future. What about sort of looking at things from the other perspective, in terms of things that you warn your clients about and warn audiences about in terms of things that may be coming down the line, or that perhaps aren’t already emerging and are around us, they should be worried about. So, yeah. Perhaps talk about some of the things that concern you.
Julia Streets (18:34): That’s a really good question. I think for me, the one thing that I, one or two things that I sort of bleed on about quite a lot. Yeah. One of it’s when I’m talking to young audiences, I do lots of co lots of public speaking and also hosting of events, you know, for example, women in stem, girls in stem, but also, you know, all, all stem and technology conferences. So when I go to quite young audiences, it is about the importance of being financially educated.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (19:07): Yeah.
Julia Streets (19:07): And I think particularly about or health of employees right now, I was hosting an event all about the future of the workspace actually, and future leadership conversations and corporate structure conversations. Now, if you’ve got different employee ages in your organization, which of course we will. Yep. The, the group that is most at risk, according to many is the first few years outta university.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (19:39): Yeah.
Julia Streets (19:40): Pro likely isolated inexperienced probably working in, in circumstances. They’re not ideal for concentration and also they’re missing out on the social interaction. And, and as I always describe it, the, the learning by osmosis of being in the office. Yeah. They’re also we all are actually, we’re all susceptible to mental health concerns and anxiety moments and and various kind of because we’re all being tipped at the moment. Every single individual is being tipped in, in its ability to you know, if you, if you like routine, you probably don’t have routine. If you like you know, being in circle in, in the same desk every day, you know, EV everything’s being tipped completely. Yeah. And if you think about that, those younger employees is also thinking about their financial concerns and everybody at every stage of their career, financial consideration is, is one key components to happiness.
Julia Streets (20:43): Mm. It can’t be the only one, but it is a very important one. So, so therefore, I’m talking a lot to young employees about taking cons, taking an active role in your financial planning Hmm. To set you up well for the future. And also to be thinking, to talking to organizations actually about their role in terms of, you know, you don’t just give a paycheck, you should be actively engaged with your employees about providing some form of trusted education. Mm. And I think that will have a huge, we’re investing very heavily in mental health awareness, a and support models. And I think that we should be doing more around financial education models as well.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (21:33): Well, on that exact point. Cause again, I know that and again, as obviously we are just alluding to it although you are absolutely renowned is being an absolute expert in it with regards to all things financial you’ve also naturally got a great reputation about talking in about other areas like leadership and, and future of work. So perhaps just broaden out that point, you were talking about just now. So with regards to things like leadership models, how leadership has changed, I mean, you, as you, as I know you’ve written about, I mean Deb, you’ve seen a lot of change in terms of what leader is and how is it and how it’s understood since you came into the industry. So perhaps just talk a bit about that, about the sort of skills that the leaders of tomorrow, or indeed actually today need and how they differ perhaps to the way that leadership was seen you know way back in a decade or, okay.
Julia Streets (22:30): Yeah, buddy. And I, and I think that’s why I was so delighted to be involved with the recovery summit actually, cause not only you know, don’t have my own opinions about the, the way in which models are changing, but to hear from such amazing speakers thinking about, you know, really the, the, the future of leadership as well, the future of work. I mean the big thing for me really is that came outta all those discussions and others that I’ve been having as well, is that the softer skills of empathy, communication really, really matter now more than they ever have done before.
Julia Streets (23:04): Yep. And particularly when we’re navigating the realities of COVID and thinking about different working models, as we turn, when we’re thinking about what different strata of employees need, and also thinking about the considerations of, of, of mental health and personal circumstances that that’s why those skills really really matter. And, and I talk a lot about enlightened leadership is, and, and also I talk about, you know, diversity and inclusion and on the podcast, we only ever talk about this in the frame of the commercial opportunity that can be gained from financial from, from, from greater diversity and inclusion. The reason why we do that is because the city is very much focused on delivering returns and is the nature of the city. And it’s also highly competitive. Yeah. But it’s very interesting, which is, so when you think about leaders at the very, very top of the organization, they are taking the around diversity and inclusion and inclusion is all inclusion.
Julia Streets (24:09): We’re taking that very, very seriously employees and talents coming into the industry are, are taking it and talking about it very seriously. So there are now, you know, there are websites you can post on to talk about what all your, what your experience of a company has been like with the particular category that says, how would you rate them in terms of their diversity in their inclusion? So they’re very, very kinda grassroots kinda point of view. The middle management is, is the really fascinating place to focus. In some cases, it is the biggest obstacle I’ve heard it described as the sticky middle, the permafrost layer at the male pale and stale strata. Mm. And actually my point of view on that is, is quite different, which is, I, I think that it is very easy to to kind of throw stones at that level of management, but it, you know, we’ve all been educated and trained and coached and in a certain way, which is very much all about return return, return, return.
Julia Streets (25:12): Yeah. So therefore, if that is your reality to actually take yourself out of yourself and hire people that are not like you is a massive step, and it takes some courage organizations and the leaders of those leaders need to put into structures that are designed to support people, to take that risk. And, and as we know, not everybody’s a natural risk taker. And particularly now, when we’re going into a very hard economic cycle, is that it’s very important that those leaders are supported to, in order to continue to hire I people who are not like them and they have to, because they need skills and talents that they never needed before in taking the skills in terms of and in terms of, excuse me, different personality types, different experiences, because we’re serving a market that’s very diverse. But also in terms of thinking through know, as, as I, as I keep saying, you know, the, the commercial opportunity that is there, that you could grasp, if you think about diversity inclusion and bake that into your corporate strategy is extraordinary.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (26:23): Yeah.
Julia Streets (26:23): But it takes some courage. And that’s the point, which is to really think about how you’ve build leadership structures that are designed to help leaders become more enlightened and to build corporate structures that are designed to support them in taking that risk.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (26:37): Yeah. So with regards to that, and again it links to one of the points you made earlier on with regards to diversity and inclusion, the point you’re making there about rhetoric, you know, a lot of, I think as you termed it sort of brochure where, where, and we see this scene across categories, across sectors, we hear a similar, a comment on a, on a regular basis report throughout the, sort of the, the leading edge, edge media, for instance, that a lot of companies are saying the right thing, but not backing it up. So when you are talking about this giving advice to clients consulting on it, or, or so, or, or giving speeches about it, are there any companies or organizations out there that you would point to and say, now there’s an example of say a company or a brand or a organization on a, on a sort of government level that are really doing it as they should, if you like that are sort of walking the walk as well as talking to talk. So yeah. Any examples out there of those who you think bang, there is a, an outfit that’s really got this sorted.
Julia Streets (27:51): Great question. Great question for me. So I’ve interviewed hundreds and hundreds of leaders now. Yep. And for me, it is those organizations and, and we by the way, I don’t tend to interview heads of diversity inclusion. I interview people who run a P and L or run a network or initiative to drive change. So, so very much kind of, you know, business leaders within their organizations as much as possible. Yeah. And those for, for me, those who are getting it right, are the ones who recognize that they’ve got a way to go, but they’re taking it very seriously that there is a, from the top and there is a behavioral change that is being measured and measured and baked into scorecards KPIs, appraisals. And they, they’re looking at this both in terms of attracting talent, but also retaining and supporting the Ascension of talent.
Julia Streets (28:46): And all of that is framed around a conversation of culture. So taking the culture of the organization very seriously as well. And what’s fascinating to give you a couple of examples. So I I’ve, in fact, it’s coming out the week that we’re recording, this is an interview I had with the governor of the bank of, you know, where he talks very, very candidly about their commitment to diversity and inclusion, because he recognizes that actually, even though it’s one of the oldest financial institutions in the city, if not the oldest financial institution in the city, that the bank of England understands that it has to have, you know, diverse people at a table and is very committed to making that happen.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (29:30): Mm.
Julia Streets (29:31): And it’s held to account, the leaders are held to account by the employees as well, for whom a number one question is, well, isn’t this just easy to talk about, but actually what’s really changing equally the financial services the FCA, the financial conduct authority, you know, they have a, again, you wouldn’t imagine that a regulator in financial services would take this so seriously, but they take a very similar view. I don’t think it’s any coincidence actually, because Andrew Bailey was, was CEO of the FC prior to his appointments as governor bank of England all the way through the organization, they are, they’re looking at you know, how, how that diversity is actually managed and measured at, at every level and, and complete clarity. You know, when we talk about diversity inclusion, we’re talking about gender ethnic minority representation, LGBTQ plus disability, visible and invisible age, mental health, cognitive diversity, and so much more.
Julia Streets (30:28): And for myself having been you, I still am a gay woman in the city. I’ve had my personal journey through all of this, you know, sitting on trading floors, where I spent most of my time, you know, trying to avoid being asked the question, what did you do at the weekend and how, and how that actually feels from an employee of a minority group coming through that, and then ascending to very senior levels as well. So answer your question and return to your question. It’s really those who recognize they have a way to go, but are working very hard on the measurement and the metrics of it as well.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (31:02): Mm mm. And then linking to a, another area. I mean, it’s not through say the most usual thing, the same person could be talking with the governor of the bank of England and then a few hours later jumping on stage at a comedy festival, but go on then Julia. So talk to us about that. Cause it is, I think it’s really, really interesting this issue about, I think you talking about earlier about, you know, the, the confidence that it gives you the, the skills that go both ways. So talk us through that about what the the life of comedy also has, has, has given you as a speaker.
Julia Streets (31:41): Well, you know, I, it’s really interesting, so on, I, I always thought that comedy was the preserver of comedians and, and it sounds a bit crazy not to come to say that really, cuz you sort of think, well of course you have to be funny. I think everybody’s funny. I think everybody in their soul has a sense of humor and and therefore has a capacity to become a comedian, but it is a craft. It’s a craft to get a up there, you know, and give a, deliver a good, you know, solid 10 as they call it RDS to hold an entire award ceremony for four hours. It is a craft and it does need to work, but, but it’s like every, every skill we ever learn and the things that I have learned from doing stem at comedy, which everything from how to prepare, how to walk up, how to breathe, how to read a room, how to pull yourself out of yourself and really suspend your own ego in order to gauge what the audience need, which a lot of people don’t always get that.
Julia Streets (32:42): Right. those are incredibly important skills when it comes to well we’re first of all, we’re all broadcasters now, you know, we’re all literally staring down the lens of a, of a laptop or a webcam, but also in negotiations, in on platforms, hosting panels, being a panelist, being a keynote speaker, being a podcaster guest, or indeed host, those are all incredibly valuable skills that that service very, very well in business. And you were kind to mention the executive shine program that I started. And, and I was so committed to this and particularly cuz I, I look at diverse groups of employees and minority groups of employees and one of the things that holds them back the most. Well there, there are many, there are many it’s a whole nother conversation, but there are many, one, one of the key things is did we see enough role models and therefore do enough role models feel confident to step forward? Mm. Second is also how confident do you feel to speak up? So that’s why I started the program was because actually to go out to groups and to coach people with an award winning standup comedian to teach people some of these skills as well. And that’s from improv, right. The way through to literally kind of, you know presentation coach so presentation skills coaching.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (34:01): Yep. Yep. And do you find that the, your audience for that goes throughout the organization or do you find I mean, as in do the heads of departments by which I’m really going to sort of, you know, the, the the the image that one has one’s mind of the head of a financial services business of yesterday, do they, and are they as open to learning from your comedy skills as those who are perhaps the more recent personnel who have joined companies are?
Julia Streets (34:39): Yeah, it’s an interesting question. So we some, well, it’s a, it’s a real mix actually. We’ve, we’ve had CEOs of startups. Who’ve said, look, you know, I’m a, I’m a, I’m an incredibly, you know, I’ve got a PhD. I’m absolutely brilliant when it comes to technology, but I struggle to make a pitch. I need to make pitches cause I need to attract investment and, and customers. So I, I, I like to, to, to be coach how to become a better community communicator for that reason through to CEOs who realize that they are having to communicate with audiences that are very different from them in terms of age and also personality type identity and and, and, and sort of, you know, well, in so many different ways, whether that’s gender LGBT, you know, and in the diversity groups communities. So it’s a real blend.
Julia Streets (35:30): Also sometimes we, they don’t even know what we’re doing. Sometimes we get books to come in and run workshops around. In fact, now we’re doing them more digitally. We’ve been do all the coaching on online, but for example, you know, for a trade body industry trade body and for all their employees at the end of an offsite, we came in and did an hour and hour and a half workshop. And that’s absolutely every, and the people you imagine would be perhaps most or more resistant were actually the ones who seem to enjoy it the most. Cause it just changes people to think very, very differently. And what I love is the feedback we get afterwards is the very next morning I began to communicate differently.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (36:13): Mm mm. Very good. And then it terms of communicating you are also obviously an author and a sort of a, a high respected author of the epicly named lingua Franco of the corporate banker. So go Julia talk, talk us through that.
Julia Streets (36:32): I did, but as, as with, with most things, I come start them from a point of frustration, really the podcast actually began cuz I was standing at the house. All, all good stories should start like this, by the way, I was standing at the house of commons,
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (36:45): Pretty good
Julia Streets (36:46): Listening to corporates bleed on about how committed to diversity and inclusion they were and wondering why the world is not changing faster. So I thought I’ll podcast, I’ve got too many questions. I’ll I’ll start. This book came from sitting in a in a deal. I was basically negotiated contract with a client and we got to a particular point in the negotiation and the client said to me, this is the moment when you open your kimono. And I just thought that’s not gonna happen.
Julia Streets (37:21): And, and I’ve been fascinated and frustrated by corporate idioms for my entire working career. Literally going back to so very much I started in the PR industry in the 1990s, you know, imagine ABAB, but that was my world. Not quite, not quite as consumer focused, but I was in the B2B side. And you know, so, so the amount of, of corporate jargon that I’ve heard plus also, you know, the world, the world of management consulting speak, and it goes on and it goes on, I was sitting in an office the other day and somebody said, oh, well this is the moment where we shoot the crocodile closest to the canoe. Fantastic. Of course. Yeah. And I stopped the meeting. I said, you do know we’re in Canaro whaf. And, and, and, and, and so I, I was approached by an, a publisher. Actually I was giving a, a, I was doing a comedy gig at the Institute of directors and, and the, and the publisher me, would you like to write a book?
Julia Streets (38:15): I’d I think it would be great. Would you like to write a book? And I said, well, look, you know, what sort of books do you publish? And he went, oh, well, you know, we normally have economists and financeers talking about the future of banking. And I said, look, you know, I, I, I couldn’t possibly, I couldn’t possibly write a book like that. I’m just not qualified. However, there is one thing that I would write about, and it was on the day that I’d had this really frustrating, open to kimono conversation. And I said, well, I can write one about my frustration with corporate jargon. He said, write it, do it. And that’s where the franker of the corporate banker was born. And at the back of the book it actually has a glossary of of all these different expressions with my interpretation of where they originate from. And it’s funny. Cause when we started, we were going, oh, well, you know, maybe we’ll do 200. And then they ended up being 300. I think it’s, I mean, it’s, it’s 2012 when the book was published, but I think it’s about 500. And when I, when I’ve, when I’ve been to various book signings of book, book launches, people actually took me aside and said, oh, you know, you’ve missed one,
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (39:14): But
Julia Streets (39:14): That’s language, you know, it’s evolving all the time, but I do think, yeah. Particularly Angie, there’s a very serious business point, which is when you are doing business on an international platform or an international scale, you know, using expressions like this is just so not helpful. And, and I, my team who’s from Romania and I, and I said, you know, this is to where we pushed the envelope and she just turned around and said, well, we offering bribes.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (39:40): Oh wow. And
Julia Streets (39:41): It’s like, yeah, yeah. You know, these expressions do not help, help yeah. On an international scale.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (39:48): Wow. Extraordinary. Well, actually on that point about of books, cetera. So yeah. In terms of inspiration then Julia. So where do you get your inspiration from and are you a great reader, viewer listener, et cetera.
Julia Streets (40:01): So I try to read as much as I can. I try and read you know, corporate updates, business, financial journals. We do a lot with the, the trade media. So I try and read that as much as possible podcast wise. I’ve got a couple of favorites. They, they have to be quite short. And I think this is the interesting dynamic, which is, you know, what, what is the ideal length of of material. And but actually, you know, I get most of my information. That’s why I love hosting. I absolutely love hosting because I get to, to hear people, you know, tell the stories and, and impart the information. And I’m a massive believer in, you need to get your information, not only from your own lane, your own industry, your own sector, but it’s also incredibly important to make sure you get insights and, and seek perspectives from outside your sector.
Julia Streets (40:59): Mm. An example of that is, you know, in the world of cybersecurity, cybersecurity and financial services around financial fraud and also you know, obviously defenses, yeah, incredibly important. If you want to look at the world of aviation, there is zero tolerance for risk. So there will be practices that you can learn in other sectors. And particularly right now, when we’re thinking about the future work and, and how people were so, so listen elsewhere, you know, whether that is a podcast or a journal or indeed. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s also why, you know, I know this sounds probably sounds a bit self-serving particularly, you know, given this podcast, but that’s why conferences matter. That’s absolutely why, you know, people need to tune in, however you do it, you come physically into space or you, or you do it over a digital platform is, is to listen to those insights. And, but it’s also why it matters that we become good storytellers mm. And good communicators, because, you know, you have to be able to tell this in a very compelling way.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (41:58): Mm. And actually, and on that point about about events either online or offline, perhaps just give us a, a, a couple of examples of so over the years that you’ve been doing standup giving speeches, hosting things, et cetera perhaps give us an example of an event that you thought was just really, really well put together, either in terms of the, you know, the venue where it was held, we’re talking about physical events here or the types of people that were, were involved, et cetera. So, but yeah, give us an example of a really good event that was held in real life as it were. And then an example of event that you’ve been involved in that has been held purely online. You mentioned to find out if you like, sort of, you know, best case examples.
Julia Streets (42:47): Sure. So be best, best prices, best case. So I let’s how I think now, so one that I was speak impressed by was the opening of the innovation center at the Olympic park. Let make sure this earlier. Yeah. And that’s a space that was really emerging as a conference venue and the organizers not only took great, he of the, the style and the structure of the building, the size of the audience there about a thousand people came to that, but also the variety of the content and the differing formats of content.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (43:28): Mm.
Julia Streets (43:29): And I think this is a really exciting time when we can be producing and imparting in for across multiple different streams. So the, the, the keynote absolutely panels yes, very valuable. But thinking through the multimedia approaches the way in which you engage audiences and and also the fact that now people won’t necessarily be in one physical space. So I’m talking more and more to conference producers and, you know, whether that’s corporate or whether that’s industry about, is there a blended model, is there a blended model where you have either, you know, part of your audience physically there, the rest of streaming
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (44:13): Yeah.
Julia Streets (44:13): Or you are inner a studio with some live guests streams, content, prerecord live. Yeah. You know, and then it makes it feel very interactive and very different when you’re feeding an audience that you can’t see. Yeah. So I think that’s really exciting. So I don’t think I’ve answered your question directly, but I, but I think sure.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (44:32): But no,
Julia Streets (44:32): Yeah. All of the different dynamics that have come together and also how we think about this on a, in an online format as well, which is which actually, I also find very exciting because I think, you know, it’s all playful, you know? Yeah. And I’ve watched the platforms evolve, you know, if, I think back to the beginning of lockdown, you know, the event I was doing there, and then how also the technology has evolved to be a lot steadier. And, and also to be replicating if conference like content, both in terms of exhibitors and also speakers and audience on, on platforms that, that try to replicate the experience in many ways.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (45:14): Mm mm. Very interesting. OK. Last couple of questions. Cause I know that you are a busy person, Julia, and about to zoom off, but just in terms of next big things for you. So in terms of yeah. Events or, or, or things that are coming up over the next couple of months,
Julia Streets (45:30): Well, I’ve just got a very, I’ve just come out of a very busy conference season and I’ve got I think almost every week for the next kind two or three weeks, I have something going on. What I’m most excited about is January next year will be season 10 of diversity podcast.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (45:47): Yeah. Fantastic.
Julia Streets (45:49): So thinking through not only obviously what series is going to or that season is going to incorporate in terms of content, but also then thinking about how do we, how do we get yeah. How do we get onto, out onto a bigger stage and think about what has changed and what is not, and why? So I’m looking really looking to that, I think would be fantastic and, and, and delighted to say, people are, seem to want to contact me, which is lovely to do all manner of different things for them. So I’m looking forward to what 20, 21 might hold.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (46:21): Well, well, actually on that exact point, just in case any of the listeners haven’t already tracked you down. Just so they are crystal clear. So where can they find you on social media and also obviously by your own site?
Julia Streets (46:34): Well the if on the business side, it’s streetsconsulting.com on the personal side, as in my personal speaking profile, it’s juliastreets.com all social media, I’ve got LinkedIn profile and also, or LinkedIn page and on Instagram, and I’ve found on Twitter @streets_julia is probably the easiest way to get in touch, but, you know, there is one way to get in touch with, through the Speaker Associates.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (47:02): Yeah, sure. Fantastic. OK. I guess last question. Julia, and that is so, yeah, key takeaway points, just to summarize some of the points you’ve been making with regards to, you know, topics that you particularly like focusing on your events and yeah. And where things are going next.
Julia Streets (47:22): Well, for me, it’s anything and everything to do with innovation and technology around that is entrepreneurship data, artificial intelligence platform, enterprisewide applications, you know, you name it, it had fascination with, with technology even into the world of artificial intelligence virtual reality, augmented reality, drones, you, you name it fascinated by all of that talent and skills clear with the conversation about diversity and inclusion. And then also thinking about the future of work future of leadership and corporate structures and how they are changing. Tho those will be really kind of my three main pillars. That’s I’d love to be involved with.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (48:05): Fantastic. Well, I thought that’s really, really interesting. Thank you so much for your time. So Julia Streets, the CEO of Streets Consulting, the diversity podcast host, mentor, emcee, speaker and fantastic Stand-up comedian. Thank you very much, indeed.
Julia Streets (48:23): It’s a pleasure. Thanks so much, Sean.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (48:35): Thank you for listening to The Speakers show podcast. Please leave a rating on iTunes. We’d really appreciate it. And also it’d be great. If you could subscribe to the podcast itself, you’ll find it also on Google podcasts, SoundCloud, or your favorite podcast app. Thank you.
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Sean Pillot de Chenecey
Foresight strategist, author and podcast host Sean Pillot de Chenecey is an inspirational speaker, who’s also consulted for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Sean has a very deep level of knowledge regarding the genuine issues impacting brands from a cultural, social and business perspective.