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AFB Practice Roundtable: Creating a Speak up Culture in Financial Services Firms

AFB, in partnership with Wharton Business Consulting, are hosting an in-person practice roundtable on creating a ‘speak up’ culture and the impact of cultural differences on this process.

Today, most organisations actively promote and pursue a ‘speak up’ or ‘psychologically safe’ culture This is where employees can raise concerns, make constructive challenge, and be heard without fear of negative consequences.  An employee speaking up needs to be met with an organisation that is ready, willing, and able to respond and act appropriately.

Understanding the cultural norms and communication preferences of different countries is important for fostering effective speak up cultures in diverse workplace environments and those that operate across different jurisdictions. Organisations can promote speaking up by creating an inclusive culture that values diverse perspectives and provides opportunities for open dialogue, but it is also necessary to respect different communication styles, which are influenced by different country cultures.

We are grateful to AFB member firm Commerzbank for agreeing to host this roundtable.

Why attend?

Members will be invited to discuss the speak up culture in their organisation (as overseas headquartered banks) and to explore the impact of cultural differences in communication style. The team at Wharton Business Consulting will facilitate the discussion and share their thoughts on direct and indirect communication, alongside contextual cues.

The session will reference the work by Erin Meyer on the ‘Culture Map’, alongside the work of their research partner John Higgins on ‘Speak Out, Listen up’.

AFB will circulate an agenda and a series of questions to those registered to attend in advance which will be used to aid the discussion.

There will be refreshments and networking from 15:30, before the discussion starts at 16:00.

Note that capacity for the roundtable will be limited to 25 members, one person per member bank, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Who should attend?

This in-person seminar is aimed at the People and Business functions within AFB members.

What will members gain for use at their bank?

The roundtable will provide a platform to exchange insights, share experiences, and discuss strategies for promoting effective communication and fostering a speak up culture across diverse teams operating in a global context.


Sarah Jepson-Jones, Chartered Occupational and Coaching Psychologist

Sarah Jepson-Jones is a Chartered Occupational and Coaching Psychologist and leadership development expert with experience spanning financial and professional services up to C-suite/Partner level. She leads the Wharton Business Consulting Leadership practice, which includes working with Financial Services clients on building leadership capability on Speaking Up.

Tamsin Howells, Director – Culture & Leadership

Tamsin Howells is a Culture expert with 15+ years’ experience working with and for global matrix organisations going through complex change and transformations. She leads the Wharton Business Consulting Culture practice, which includes working with leaders and organisations to define, enable and embed their desired culture.


Cost:        Included in AFB membership (no fee)

Location:  Commerzbank, 30 Gresham St, London EC2V 7PG

Date:        Thursday 13 June 2024

Time:        15:30 – 17:30 (Arrivals and networking 15:30 – 16:00)

If you would like to submit a question before or have any specific questions or areas that you would like the session to address, please send them to the AFB at as soon as practicable. You will receive details on how to join the session a week before the event.