Jennie McLean

Current Role: Engineering Lead for Mobile Services


Meet Jennie, Engineering Lead for Mobile Services at Tesco Bank.


I joined Tesco Bank nearly 18 months ago, having worked in IT and Financial Services for over 20 years. I lead a team of 7 engineers, who develop and support the APIs used by Tesco Bank’s Mobile Apps. The team has been really welcoming, supportive and share my desire to modernise and improve the platform.

“…I’ve been impressed by the positive and collaborative culture at Tesco Bank.”

I love the challenges that come with working in IT and the continuous development opportunities it offers. However, going from being the ‘Go To’ person to a new leadership role was quite daunting and the imposter syndrome crept in during those initial months. My instinctive response was to push myself too hard, putting myself at risk of burnout.

“…Setting clear work-life boundaries, avoiding burnout, and finding time for wellbeing are so important and it’s not easy to get that balance right.”

The Women’s Development Programme was launched to support women who had been identified as having potential to take on a bigger or wider role, and to help improve representation of women at senior levels across Tesco Group. This year over 100 women from across Tesco Group are taking part.

“…when Glyn told me about the Women’s Development Programme I thought this could be just the boost that I need, a chance to make some positive changes.”

Initially I had a few reservations – how would I fit this around my existing workload, whether it was ‘the right time’ for me and what would colleague perceptions be of a programme specifically for women – but it prompted me to reflect on some of the challenges I have faced during my career.


As a mum to three wonderful boys (aged 14,12 and 6) I’m fortunate to have good family support - juggling a demanding full-time role with family life can be a challenge at times. Career-wise my journey has involved three periods of maternity leave and several years of part-time work. This has limited some of the training and development opportunities as well as project roles that were available to me.


One of the things that attracted me to Tesco Bank was the promise of at least 6 training days per year, it’s fantastic to have that embedded in company culture.


Hybrid working has been a game-changer for me personally - the flexibility makes it possible for me to balance a full-time role with family commitments, while still connecting with colleagues in the office on a regular basis. It’s easy to understand how barriers were created in the past.

“…the Women's Development Programme empowers women to fulfill their potential

The programme consists of four modules, covering topics such as ‘Building Your Network’ and ‘Developing Your Brand’. Shona and I were fortunate that Gary Balmer agreed to be our programme sponsor, he has shared valuable advice and insights from his own journey. Participants also benefit from a series of individual coaching sessions facilitated by EZRA.


A key takeaway for me from the ‘Knowing Yourself’ module was the distinction between being a ‘career passenger or a career driver’ – I’ve tended to go with the flow and it hasn’t always served my best interests. Now I’m changing my habits to set aside time to invest in myself and learning the value of regular reflection. I’ve also been thinking how precious time is, taking considered pauses and setting boundaries – when we say ‘Yes’ to one thing, it often means saying ‘No’ to something else.

“…it’s about actively taking an interest in your own development and driving in the direction that you want to go in.”

For the ‘Building Your Network’ and ‘Recognising Your Brilliance’ modules, I travelled to Welwyn Garden City with the Tesco Bank cohort – Shona Bryce, Sana Mobeen and Eilidh Mackenzie. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other better, to share experiences and made for an enjoyable trip. We visited during the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations at Welwyn, where we were treated to fantastic food and a traditional Chinese Dragon Dance.


As a natural introvert I was not exactly looking forward to the networking module, but I surprised myself – even the ‘speed networking’ challenge was fun (but exhausting!) and it was good to connect with colleagues from across the group and overseas.


The course content consistently challenges our self-limiting beliefs, pushes us outside our comfort zone and seeks to replace old habits with new. It’s really sparked my enthusiasm for learning and built up my confidence and resilience.


Through the programme we’ve had the opportunity to hear from a number of inspirational leaders about their career journeys and obstacles they’d overcome, some of which deeply resonated. Sometimes it just helps to hear ‘you’re not the only one’.


The EZRA coaching sessions were a real highlight for me. I felt completely able to open up to my coach Sarah-Jane, she helped me hone in on behaviours that were holding me back and framed it in such a way that put me in control, we worked on recognising the triggers and dialling the inner voice up or down. It was quite intense but felt like an awakening and had a really powerful impact on me.

“It was a really valuable opportunity to really open up and understand myself better.”

To wrap up, I’d like to thank all those who were involved in making the programme happen, it has been a great opportunity and has really helped me to develop the right skills I need to be successful in my role.


Thank you for taking the time to read and I wish you a wonderful day!

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