News & Events

Alumnae spotlight: Anita Panchmatia

Anita Panchmatia, Class of 2000

Anita is a Managing Director at Bank of America (BofA) with over twenty years experience working in global investment banks. She drives growth in trading businesses by delivering transformative technology solutions. Anita previously worked at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, in Global Markets and Private Wealth Management businesses. She has worked in London, New York, and Boston where she also tutored Finance at Harvard University. Anita’s expertise is in strategy, digital transformation, governance, and risk management. She is experienced in leading complex, large-scale, multi-stakeholder organisations, in highly regulated sectors.

Anita is a passionate advocate for diversity and leads a Europe-wide Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion network at BofA. She has been recognised in Nasdaq’s global campaign for Women in Technology twice. She has won two industry awards for her diversity work in financial services.

Anita’s board experience (non-executive director, NED) spans defence, healthcare, and ESG-focused organisations, in private, public, and charity sectors. She is a Senior Independent NED at the National Shipbuilding Office (Ministry of Defence). She is a NED at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Chair of the People Committee. Anita is a Board Advisor and Investment Committee member at the Growth Impact Fund, which backs diverse-led social enterprises. She is on the management team for EI SMART, a healthcare charity focused on high-risk infants.

In 2012, Anita was our Prize giving guest speaker. She entertained the audience with her informative and enthusiastic address, inspired them with her drive and ambition, and clearly delivered her message to the girls that with focus and determination, the world is indeed their oyster.

We caught up with Anita recently for a Q&A session:

What aspects of Croydon High School did you enjoy and find most rewarding?

My time at Croydon High was very happy. I loved the breadth of the curriculum, and the chance to pursue all my interests to a high level. I wore out the floor in the drama room and tested the soundproofing in the music studios! The nurturing and supportive staff in the senior school encouraged me to fulfil my potential, and I am grateful for them. And the girls: amongst my closest friends, there remains a strong Croydon High cohort!

What did you aspire to whilst at school?

I always aspired to join the world of big business, and fleetingly, wanted to be a journalist! I’m pleased to be able to combine both these interests in my executive and non-executive roles today.

How did Croydon High School empower you for your future?

Empowering its students is what Croydon High does best. Firstly, the robust academics instilled more than a love of the subjects: it instilled a love of learning. I acquired the analytical skills and academic flexibility that I lean on today, in all roles that I assume. I think this education in “how to learn” and not “what to learn” is critical in our ever-changing world. Secondly, the culture at Croydon High develops strong, confident women. Ambition was encouraged; personality was indulged! This is a trait that I carry into every room and has enabled me to take big decisions with conviction. Finally, beneath the bustle of school, and supported by my parents, Croydon High instilled in me a sense of purpose. Whether it was the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Guild Day, or the Craft Fair, the conversation at Croydon High was always about giving back. Those strong values persist in me today.

What has been your proudest moment?

I am a mother of three boys, and my middle son was born severely pre-term. My proudest moment was bringing him home from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The NICU journey was very challenging. Those Croydon High values of resilience, focus, and strength were all practised, every day. He is my pride and joy, and I try and pay it forward through my charity work with EI SMART.

What are your hopes for the future?

If you had asked me this ten years ago, I would have talked about working in a global investment bank, living in New York, and trekking across the Andes. I feel fortunate to have been able to do all those things. Today, my focus is on giving back and making a positive difference.

What would you say to your 15-year-old self?

Firstly, don’t hurry! The journey is long and winding, and the joy is in the adventure, not the destination. Secondly, you will look back on any decision, and with perspective, it will be less intense or worrying than it feels now. Trust that you will do the best you can at every juncture, and trust that you will make the best of any outcome. Finally, in the words of Baz Luhrmann, “wear sunscreen”!

The values that Anita talks about in connection to Croydon High still ring true today. Thank you, Anita, for your inspiring answers to our questions.

Mrs Karen Roe
Alumnae Relations Manager