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Alison Pain portrait

Alison Pain

Chief Technology Officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Alison Pain is the Chief Technology Officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). She is accountable for all technology in the region and responsible for 200 full-time technologists. When she joined the company in early 2020, she became the first female CTO at Northern Trust in what was to become an all-female CTO team across EMEA, Asia Pacific (APAC) and North America.

What unique viewpoints do you bring to your role?

I’ve worked in several different financial services organizations of various sizes. I've seen different ways of getting things done, communicating and building stakeholders. That experience helps to shake things up, make suggestions and challenge the way that we’re thinking. 

What are you most proud of in your career at Northern Trust so far?

I would say two things. I joined in January 2020 and had to almost immediately transition to working from home due to the pandemic. Most people I worked with for the next six months I’d never met.  For those in other locations (North America, Ireland, Luxembourg etc.) it would be more than a year. But I take pride in the fact that I’ve built strong relationships and a strong network and that enables me to get things done. The second thing is a global cyber program that I run.  The level of delivery on that program is second to none and I am incredibly proud of the team we have created and the change we are delivering.

How can we continue to foster a culture of inclusion at Northern Trust?

It’s a fine balance between making sure that we're applauding people for being different and making them feel part of a team. “That’s brilliant because you’re bringing a different viewpoint.” That diversity of thought can come from anything: educational background, financial situation, gender, ethnicity, religion, all those different things.  The culture of Northern Trust is very welcoming, people want you to be successful - we continue to build on that to be #intentionally inclusive.

Describe an unexpected outcome that helped make you a better leader.

Working at home, I had to establish myself as a leader with people within the organization who had never met me. I had to demonstrate that I knew what I was talking about, had good ideas and that I was open to listening.

The pandemic really underlined how imperative it is to try and make sure that people are engaged, excited and feel included.

How does Northern Trust support your community engagement?

Northern Trust offers two paid volunteer days a year. Amongst other engagements, over the last few years my team have done a fantastic event at the London Science Museum encouraging young people to go into STEM. We built Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on a Raspberry Pi, the idea being we took an essential piece of cyber security tech but did it in an accessible way. We used one of those days to go to the organized event at the science museum, set up the store and pitch to the students. It’s so cool to talk to young people and explain why technology is exciting.

What advice would you give to other people exploring a career at Northern Trust?

We have a different focus and a different culture from some of the other big banks. Once you’re here, there are loads of opportunities within technology to move around, to learn new technologies, challenge yourself and develop your career. 



Hometown: Kent, England
Current location: Sidcup (South East London), England
Time at Northern Trust: 4 years
Favorite food: I am pescatarian but like most food—especially Italian and Chinese.
Favorite Sport: Not a massive sports fan but enjoy tennis and have loved seeing some of the younger British talent coming through.
Currently reading: Trio by William Boyd. A very good friend of mine sent me that for my birthday and it was just excellent.
Cause you are passionate about: I support the food banks and school breakfast clubs because I believe that food insecurity has a negative lifelong impact.