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Women’s March

08 March 2018

Women’s March

Ellie Fixter,
Senior PR & Content Manager,

On the couch with Angela Dees...

“Angela Dees is Head of Business Continuity & Crisis Management for Vocalink, a Mastercard company. Over the past three years, she has transformed the business continuity programme, from one that is a compliance-led, to capability-led, where compliance is the outcome. Prior to this, Angela successfully managed her own independent consultancy for 18 years, providing business continuity programmes clients around the world.”


What role do you play at Vocalink?

I’m responsible for Resilience Planning: planning, exercising and responding to major incidents and providing reassurance that we at the top of our game to our stakeholders.

What’s a typical day for you?

Morning routine of herding cats (aka known as getting a teenage son out of the door and prepared for his day).

Walk to the station and get the train to London (or train and tubes to Ricky. Or train, tube, train, train to Harrogate) or jump in my very old but well-loved (and frankly rather funky) car to go to Dunstable.

Reply to the emails, respond to Auditors (a lot!), set and move forward our business continuity programme strategy, plan our scenario exercises, meet with Stakeholders to discuss resilience.

Realise I haven’t planned the evening meal and grab something from M&S / meet friends / skip a Pilates class (occasionally turn up to one by mistake)

How did you end up in this role? And in the payments industry?

Started in IT, happened to be working over the weekend of an IRA Bomb at St Mary Axe, helped in a miniscule way to support my company to recover from that and decided that I’d quite like to do something similar in the future. Set up a Business Continuity department for RBS, then worked as a self-employed consultant for years, with a brief foray into teaching. The brief foray left me with an lasting admiration for Teachers and a conviction that it was too difficult for me. After being a Consultant, I decided it was time that I went full time. Ten days after having a coffee with the then Director of Security at Vocalink, I was sitting at a desk in Ricky wondering what had just happened … and almost 3 years later I’m very glad that I bought him that cappuccino.  

What do you do to maintain a balanced life?

  • Lists
  • More lists
  • Work To Do Lists
  • Personal To Do Lists
  • Aspirations and places to go lists


This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. What are some of the things you think we can do to create a more inclusive world for everyone and close the gap?

I try not to be too prescriptive about what ‘we’ can do, and would prefer to concentrate on what I can do: raising Feminist socially aware sons, being responsible for myself and my actions, advocating kindness whilst trying to be bold. 

What do you see as the greatest challenge for women in 2018?

Apart from the well-publicised challenges, which people much more articulate than me have highlighted, I’d say “themselves”. We are generally much more negative and dismissive about ourselves than anyone else. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend.

What advice would you give your 25 year old self?

“Power dressing” shoulder pads are not a fashion classic that will be around forever. And: Don’t try and emulate the behaviours of the people who are senior to you (at the time, all older men), it’s ok to have your own style and approach.

What was the best advice a manager or mentor gave you?

Do it once, and do it right.

When was time you felt completely discouraged and how did you push through it?

Without sounding too Polly-Anna-ish, I don’t think that I’ve ever felt completely discouraged. If I’ve been feeling frustrated or dejected about something in the workplace, I’ve always discussed it with someone I respected then decided to wait it out, suck it up or change it.

What, in your opinion, are realistic goals that we should be setting for ourselves to support #PressforProgress?

I think that all companies should voluntarily (before they can hide behind the wave of enforced publication) disclose their BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethic) and gender pay gaps.

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