Stacey Alioto is the Deputy Group Chief Operating Officer of the international bank HSBC. She is responsible for the Bank’s corporate services, chief control office, transformation, and group transactions. She also has COO oversight of Latin America, Canada, and the Middle East, and leads HSBC’s transition to net zero across the Bank’s operations. Stacey has moved 15 times in her life, living everywhere from the US, Italy, Dubai, and Germany to London today. Stacey is passionate about being a mentor for women early on in their careers and building diverse teams. Outside of work, Stacey maintains an active lifestyle and enjoys walks with her family around local parks. Stacey has been a member of C200 since November 2023.


Eva Glassman: You are the Deputy Group Chief Operating Officer of HSBC. What does that mean?

Stacey Alioto: HSBC is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, operating in 62 countries and territories. HSBC is structured by businesses and functions, and I’m in the function called Digital Business Services (DBS) where the operations, technology, transformation, and corporate services teams of the bank sit. What’s exciting about DBS is that we develop innovative digital solutions and deliver excellent services for our customers and colleagues.

As the Deputy Group Chief Operating Officer, I am responsible for our corporate services, transformation, chief control office, and group transactions teams. I also look over our Chief Operating Officers in Latin America, Canada, and the Middle East.

EG: I read that you are also leading HSBC’s initiative to go net zero across the Bank’s operations. What does that look like?

SA: At HSBC, we are committed to net zero in our own operations and supply chain by 2030. That aim incorporates all our offices, data centers, travel, and supply chain. We’ve had a significant program of reducing emissions for quite some time and now we’re starting to look at where we can dial up on renewables. A lot of us personally, as well as professionally, are working to make a difference and move the dial a lot faster.

EG: I want to know more about your career journey. You joined HSBC when they acquired your former workplace, Household International. I also read that you went to University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)—what did you study? From there, where did you go?

SA: Let me take you back even further than college. My father was in the military and was stationed in Germany when I was 9 months old. My upbringing involved moving around the world quite a bit – so far, I’ve lived in 5 countries and moved 15 times, so I’m comfortable with change, love exploring new cultures, and learning new things. This has served me well working for HSBC as there are many opportunities to work internationally and with people from diverse backgrounds.

I began my career in financial services by pursuing an entry level role in operations at Household International in Nevada. At the time, I was studying business management at University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV); juggling university while being a 19-year-old single mother and working part time wasn’t easy.

My dream of getting into international business came true in 2001 when HSBC acquired Household International; suddenly, I became part of a big international firm. At this stage, I was progressing through supervisor and management roles and went back to UNLV for my MBA in 2004 while continuing working full time.

I then spent the next 10 years progressing through various roles and leadership positions across Transformation, Products, Transactions, and Operations, before moving to Dubai in 2017 to become the COO for HSBC in the Middle East where I was responsible for the COO function across 9 markets. In December 2019, I moved my family to London for my current role.

EG: What do you think were the biggest factors in your success, being able to get to the place in your career that you’re in now?

SA: Having a growth mindset is one of the biggest factors. I always encourage my colleagues to run towards tough projects and tackle problems head on.

Having strong mentorship and support is also super important. It doesn’t come naturally—you have to earn credibility and support as you deliver outcomes.

EG: As you’ve progressed through your career, have you had any female mentors yourself? Are there any other women you find inspiring?

SA: I had a very inspiring female manager who promoted me right before I went on maternity leave with my younger son, which really shocked me. She encouraged high performance and didn’t believe becoming a mother should get in the way of a successful career—that sticks in my mind all the time. Just like she did, I want to help my team get the resources and support they need to be successful both professionally and personally.

Another woman I find inspiring is my mom. Growing up, she was never a runner but in her late 40s she started jogging. She started with a mile or two and progressed to 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and marathons. She is now 72 years old and still loves running.

Running a marathon is a bit like facing challenges at work. It’s about breaking them down in such a way that you can deliver the necessary outcomes and achieve the end result, and make sure you’re not sprinting and running out of steam.

EG: What does being a “woman in business” mean to you and how do you apply that thinking to what you do?

SA: I’m passionate about building diverse and inclusive teams. Diverse teams reach outcomes at a much quicker pace and organizations achieve the results they need to achieve because they’re much more open-minded and creative.

I’m really proud of the diversity of my function. Since I inherited the team, we’ve made great progress in becoming more gender balanced and I will continue to push for more diversity and inclusion across the team.

I’m also passionate about being a steward for younger females and mentoring them in their careers. Many are getting married or having their first child but struggle to see how they can have a career, be a wife, and be a mother. I often walk them through my journey and remind them of the resources they have available so they don’t give up too early in their career—I want them to stay confident in their ability to develop their career path.

EG: What is some of the other advice that you give to women in your organization when they want to advance their careers? What are some of the concerns they bring to you?

SA: I’m often asked how confidence is built. For me, it’s about taking risks that give you butterflies in your stomach. When you stretch yourself, you come out on the other side uplifted and more confident.

Moving around also helped build my confidence. When we moved to Dubai, I had to leave before my husband and youngest son to start the visa process, and we left my eldest son back in the US at university; it felt like I was breaking up my family. The first month was difficult, but after a few months I started to get into my new groove and further developed my confidence.

It’s also important to own your career path; don’t wait for somebody to tap on your shoulder. Every year I make my aspirations known, find out what succession plans I’m on, and address my development gaps.

EG: As you said, you’ve moved around a lot of times and lived in a lot of different countries. What is your favorite place you’ve either lived or traveled to? What are some of the things you love to do outside of work?

SA: Everywhere I go, I walk away with something to treasure, a memory, or something to learn. My time in the Middle East taught me the importance of relationships and self-reflection. I can’t say I have a favorite place as they’re all amazing in their own way.

I love being outdoors. I live by one of the large parks in London and love going for a long walk or quick jog–it’s my time to re-energize, reflect, and clear my head. I also enjoy completing the yearly London Marathon Walk–it’s a great way to kick start the year. I think it’s really important that everyone protects some time for their wellbeing and hobbies.

EG: My final question: How and why did you get involved with C200? What are you most excited about as a new member?

A C200 member and fellow HSBC colleague, Lisa McGeough, nominated me. We crossed paths around two years ago and connected right away. We both have a growth mindset and have found some amazing opportunities to work together and improve alignment across the organization.

C200’s mission to support women in business really resonates with me. I’m passionate about how I can support the future generation of female leaders with C200’s Reachout Program for university-age women. I’m also excited about helping to extend C200’s reach across the globe; Lisa and I have already brainstormed some ways we can help grow C200 internationally!

I love the opportunity C200 gives me to expand my network and learn from the amazing women who are part of it.