A day in the life of an HSBC exec who wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to work out, always eats green, and studies at Stanford in her free time

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Melania Edwards/HSBC

Melania Edwards is always on the move.

The HSBC exec, who’s part of the bank’s Global Venture Capital Coverage Group, works from two Northern California offices an hour apart. She previously worked across Asia, Europe, and the US training senior executives to lead the international bank by putting them in top roles across different businesses around the globe.

On a typical day, she gets up at 5:30 a.m. to meditate, check in with friends and family in different time zones, and play tennis. She walks to work and spends her workday connecting venture-capital firms and their portfolio companies to HSBC’s global network.

She recently broke down her daily routine for Business Insider. Here’s what her day looks like.


Edwards wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and always kicks off her day with meditation.

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Melania Edwards

“I find that the best way to set the tone for the day ahead is a short meditation where I focus on deep breathing and determine my priorities for the day,” she said.


At 6:30 a.m., she catches up with friends and family.

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Melania Edwards

Edwards has lived and worked across Europe, Asia, and the US, so her family and friends are based all over the world. She spends some time in the morning catching up with them on FaceTime.


She eats breakfast — a bowl of fresh fruit or a bottle of green juice — at 7 a.m.

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Melania Edwards

“The healthy Californian lifestyle is contagious,” she said.


At 7:30 a.m., she plays a game of tennis.

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Melania Edwards

Before heading to work, Edwards likes to play a game at a court near her home.


Around 8:30 a.m., she heads to work.

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Melania Edwards

She walks to her office in sneakers – they’re a must, as she lives in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood, near “the crookedest street in the world,” which features lots of hills.


She gets into the office around 9 a.m.

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Melania Edwards

Once Edwards gets into work, her day is full of meetings with venture-capital firms, technology companies, and new startups.

During these meetings, she and her colleagues help these companies identify various ways that they can work with HSBC, from providing them with international banking services to connecting them with HSBC’s digital and investment teams.


Around 10:30 a.m., she meets with tech companies.

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Melania Edwards

Edwards talks to emerging tech companies to understand their businesses and match their needs with HSBC’s international banking services.

To Edwards, this is a great opportunity to expand her knowledge in the tech industry.

“It’s exciting to learn about new technologies changing the way live and work,” she said. “Living in the Bay Area exposes me to a plethora of new companies pushing the boundaries.”


It’s time for lunch around noon.

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Melania Edwards

To Edwards, lunch is “a time to refuel” after an intense morning at work. Her break usually starts at around noon, and she likes to grab a salad from the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building.

“There is always fresh seasonal produce, and the waterside views refresh me for the rest of the day,” she said.


Around 1:30 p.m., she goes back to work.

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Melania Edwards

Back at work, Edwards starts a conference call with her working group. They recently launched HSBC Women on the Rise in Fintech, a program that celebrates and promotes 10 inspiring women in the financial technology space across the US.

“We recognize there is an issue with underrepresentation of women in senior positions within technology, specifically in fintech, so we just wanted to do something to help,” she said.


Then she travels to Palo Alto. Edwards has two work locations — her office is in San Francisco, but she works with many venture-capital firms in Palo Alto. She takes the Caltrain between the two.

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Melania Edwards

While she’s commuting, she listens to a podcast – her favorites include “The Pitch,” “Dorm Room Tycoon,” and “The Goop Podcast” – or checks emails on her laptop.

Edwards said she loved both San Francisco and Palo Alto.

“San Francisco has a lot of culture, and it’s exciting to be in the city,” she said. “However, in Palo Alto there are a lot of exciting tech companies. I’m grateful to live in two innovative and thriving environments, surrounded by inspiring people.”


Working between two locations, Edwards uses a portable office setup to help her make the most of the time at work. Sometimes she likes to grab a cup of coffee or tea from the Starbucks next to her office.

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Melania Edwards

“English breakfast tea is my favorite, as I am British,” she said. “I will have one coffee in the morning and English breakfast tea for the rest of the day.”


A big believer in continuous learning, Edwards is getting a certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship from Stanford University.

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Melania Edwards

Later in the evening, Edwards works with an organization in Papua New Guinea to promote women’s economic empowerment in the country.

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Melania Edwards

After work, she spends some time drafting proposals for the organization.

“In my spare time, I try to give back,” she said.


At 7:30 p.m., she does yoga.

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Melania Edwards

Because a lot of her day is spent on her laptop, Edwards likes to fit in a yoga session to stretch and relax.


Still, the best way to wind down after a busy day is cooking with her boyfriend and experimenting with new recipes.

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Melania Edwards

“He never fails to put a smile on my face,” she said.


After dinner, they walk around the neighborhood, which has become their evening ritual.

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Melania Edwards

“On the evenings that we stay in Palo Alto, we walk down the tree-lined University Avenue, reflecting upon our key wins and challenges and preparing for the adventures of the next day,” she said.