Ali Berryman

Ali Berryman

Exeter Alumna Ali Berryman is Chief Operating Officer of Barclaycard's UK Consumer business. She lives in London with her partner Zoe and their two young children. Graduating in 1996 with a degree in Ancient History, she has worked in senior roles in the financial sector ever since. Ali was recently recognised in the Out at Work Top 50 LGBT Executives in the Daily Telegraph for creating an openly diverse working environment.

‘In such a high profile leadership position I believe it's important to be a role model for others and I was delighted to be recognised in the Out at Work Top 50.’ She says.

Ali believes passionately that equality is integral to successful workplaces:

‘From a business standpoint, companies with gender diversity both within their workforce and at a board level are undoubtedly more successful. Previously male dominated environments now benefit from the experience, insights, skills and contributions which women bring.’ She explains.

She is heartened that there’s a spirit of collaboration in today’s workplace ‘In the past, we used to see women competing with each other to be successful. Momentum is now being driven by women supporting each other, resulting in many more reaching their goals.’

Ali is inspired by many women who’ve blazed a trail in fields from politics to sport to business - citing Helena Morrissey, Hilary Clinton, Emmeline Pankhurst and Steffi Graf as examples - but the role model with the biggest influence on her life continues to be her mother.

‘She sadly passed away 5 years ago, but in her 5 year battle with cancer she showed me what strength and courage looks like in the face of adversity. She taught me to have confidence in myself and to be who I am, as well as to respect others for their individuality too. I learned a great deal from her and I still think of her every day.’

Ali enjoys taking on new challenges and testing herself, and her mum has inspired her to do this too. ‘I grew up with a sports background like my parents, but had always told myself I wasn't a runner as I had always participated in short sprint sports like hockey and tennis. When mum died, I decided to change the way I thought about things - telling myself ‘I could’ rather than ‘I couldn't’. I entered a half marathon and I ran - this year will be my third. A positive mental attitude and determination counts for a great deal - mum had that in bucket-loads.’

Spending time with her partner Zoe, and their two boys, Ben (7) and Adam (4) brings Ali great joy ‘They're fabulous company and I love watching the boys grow, learn and laugh.’ She says.