Influential Leaders

Yvonne Greeves

Director of Women in Business at NatWest Group, NatWest Group
Recognition Year(s): 2023
Area of Impact: Mentorship or Leadership
School: Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow
Location: United Kingdom

Yvonne Greeves is a driven, accomplished leader and director of Women in Business (WIB) at NatWest Group. Respected worldwide, Greeves empowers women to access better financing, networking, learning, and growth, inspiring those in the business sector to support each other.

When she began her career in entrepreneurship, Greeves had a portfolio of large businesses and recognized early on that none were exclusively run by women. Spotting an opportunity, Greeves sought to get involved. She began with Enterprise Education in Scotland, engaging as a business advisor for Young Enterprise Scotland. There she worked in the areas of youth education, enterprise education, social enterprise, and women in business.

Greeves has successfully expanded the WIB strategy across NatWest Group. To accomplish this, Greeves strategically built a profile to promote “women in business” as a professional sector that adds value to the economy. Compiling her work into strategy packs, Greeves showed senior leaders at NatWest Group that this was an area of potential growth with tangible results. Her ambitions significantly raised the profile of WIB internally and externally, enhancing NatWest Group’s female entrepreneurship proposition and making it a standout employer for women.

According to research released by the British Business Bank in 2019, women receive 1 percent of venture capital funding. In an attempt to address these findings, Greeves heads NatWest Group’s initiative to make private equity financing more accessible to women and more attractive to angel Investors. Greeves founded and co-chairs the Women Angel Investment Taskforce, working with the government, British Business Bank, UK Finance, trade bodies, and angel syndicates throughout the United Kingdom to effect change and inspire more women to not only become investors but also invest in other women.

At the highest level within banks across the U.K., and institutions such as HM Treasury; UK Finance; and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Greeves is a go-to expert, leading, motivating, and inspiring others to adopt the Investing In Women Code that supports female business owners. A committed supporter of female entrepreneurs, Greeves contributed significantly to The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, a report for HM Treasury on the challenges facing this sector and interventions to support it.

Having earned an MBA from the University of Glasgow, Greeves draws on the knowledge and experience she gained to understand the mindsets of entrepreneurs. She thinks innovatively, learns through action, uses real-life feedback from customers, and works with colleagues across different disciplines to gain insights. Using the analytics tools she learned in the MBA program, Greeves pioneered a banking approach for U.K. female customers specifically, matching their data across different groups. Looking to external data points and research documents from around the world for a global context, Greeves brings the information together to identify where target sectors are and which size business they want to focus on, then builds a strategy and a growth proposition.

At NatWest Group, Greeves is currently working to understand the strategies the company needs to implement to give high-growth female business owners the support they need to scale and amplify their businesses. Applying her MBA knowledge of theoretical models to the real world, Greeves makes the business case for why NatWest Group should focus on this sector, where the opportunities are, and how to write a business case for the bank. Here, Greeves’ global networking has introduced her to learnings that can be adopted in the U.K., and vice versa. For example, a successful maternity break model created by Bank al Etihad in Jordan has now been introduced at NatWest Group. Greeves similarly uses her innovative spirit to ensure the needs of NatWest Group’s customers are met. She worked across different teams to build a new survey on the bank’s website, asking how female entrepreneurs would like to be supported by the company. The responses led Natwest Group to hold regular roundtable meetings with customers to ensure the company is providing necessary support.

Greeves’ passion for changing the business landscape for female entrepreneurs is breaking down barriers, and she invests her time accordingly with several senior Board positions with charities and social-sector businesses positions. She serves on the Scottish Government’s advisory committee on Women in Enterprise and also works with the Financial Alliance for Women supporting in efforts to run academies for finance professionals, and mentors various financial services institutions worldwide on their Women’s market strategies. She also worked as a consultant for the World Bank as a member of the Technical Expert Panel for We-Fi’s 4th round of funding. Greeves’ accomplishments included talks for the Financial Alliance for Women Conferences, the House of Lords events, and judging business industry awards. She has also supported on a recent publication for the International Finance Corporation. These experiences inspire Greeves’ continued work to support female business owners and colleagues at NatWest Group and beyond.