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Abnash Sagoo

A journey of resilience and advocacy

“Diversity isn't just about what we see on the surface; it's about embracing the richness of human experience in all its forms."
- Abnash Sagoo, Deputy Head, EMEA Financial Crimes Risk Management

Can you tell us about your journey to where you are now?

I can’t separate the personal from the professional, which is why it's important for me to be included and to ensure others feel the same. I grew up in a working-class family in the East End of London. As the first in my family to pursue higher education, I struggled with imposter syndrome, which remained a constant companion on my journey. Yet, with each obstacle, I discovered a solid resolve rooted in the belief that hard work knows no bounds.

DE&I is a huge focus and driver for our bank, and in joining, I found a space where challenges are embraced, not avoided. Here, senior leadership champions DE&I initiatives, paving the way for a culture of openness and acceptance—something unique about Wells Fargo. In my own experience, Wells Fargo is a place where diverse individuals can thrive. The leadership here is very focused on fostering this environment, and in my case Angus Halton has played a significant role in Financial Crime.

I‘m often asked how I overcame certain barriers on my journey. It’s important to acknowledge challenges in the past, but I prefer to focus on how my background set me up for success. For example, something I consider to be a sort of superpower is my ability to connect on a deeper level. Growing up speaking a different language at home and sounding different to your friends than you do to your colleagues provides a foundation of understanding and adapting. This ability to navigate different social spheres isn't just about fitting in; it's about forging genuine connections with individuals from all walks of life. It's about understanding that diversity isn't just about what we see on the surface; it's about embracing the richness of human experience in all its forms.

In the words of a Kenyan proverb, "If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together." This sentiment encapsulates my philosophy on success—a journey not defined by individual achievements but by the collective progress made together. My particular focus is eliciting the best from people. I welcome the challenge of differing opinions because it creates a culture of good risk management, and we succeed and evolve together. It's about creating a future where diversity is more than acknowledged; it's celebrated as the lifeblood of our interconnected world.

Abnash Sagoo DEI EMEA APAC Family

How do you view role as Executive Sponsor for Race at Work?

Last year, I was appointed as Executive Sponsor of Race At Work, owing to my work on the DE&I Council. I view this as an immense privilege. My focus is to identify areas of improvement for us as we navigate an ever-changing landscape both from a regulatory and cultural perspective.

When I started in this industry and began attending senior meetings, I noticed there was no one who looked like me, highlighting the importance of representation. In my role now, I’ve experienced what it is like to truly be myself at work and to be part of a diverse leadership team. I want to pay that forward, to ensure that everyone can feel their true selves.

Abnash Sagoo DEI EMEA APAC Solo

What is your vision and hope for the future?

As I continue to navigate this ever-evolving landscape, one thing remains abundantly clear: the power of resilience, hard work, and unwavering commitment to fostering a more inclusive future for all. I’ve been on a journey with self-belief, from someone with exacting standards, who felt anxious about my place in this industry, to someone who kept my standards high and achieved a level of evidence-based self-belief. My advice to everyone is that there is no substitute for hard work and resilience. Keep moving forward and see your challenges through to the end. My journey is a testament to the transformative potential of diversity, and I am proud to be a part of it, shaping a world where everyone has a seat at the table.