Last week I attended an amazing conference organized by the CFA France at Standard & Poor’s office in Paris.
The theme: “Future of women & Finance”, title of a white paper written by Barbara Steward, CFA, based on fifty interviews of leaders around the world. She was the keynote speaker. She presented the results of researches performed around the world where she interviewed many leaders (male and female) on women’s work in finance.
“You become what you think you are”. That is how Barbara’s presentation began.
To summarize the main points:
- “We will all be feminists in business”. This will not come in order to help us like charity, but because this will align all financial interests.
- “The biggest target market will be the financially confident woman”. This is so obvious as brands understand that women are as wealthy as men; Women are the main clients of many luxury companies.
- We will stop talking about differences between men and women; we are all human beings with a lot of potential; Instead, what differenciate us are our skills, our education, or our investing styles, etc….. So we schould stop focusing on “Men vs Women”. Instead, we schould only underline our different competences.
- “We can earn trust with women through transparency and respect”
- “Technology changes everything” (mobile, data, digitization) in favour of women behaviour because they like relying information. I’m not saying that usually they could act as a chatterbox but…:-)
After Barabara’s presentation, Celine Fernandez described the activities of WINS (Women Initiative for Networking and Success). It is a wonderful network operating across Mc Graw Hill Financial companies to support employees in developing their leadership skills and increase their knowledge of the group’s opportunities. I really appreciated their mentoring program. I think it’s a real benefit for young professionnals to have someone with more experience who can give advices and follow us all over our career.
The other guests speakers were Patricia Donnelly, first woman president of CFA France; Olga Jordão, Global relationship executive at State Street; Johanna Thomson, member of the network of women in hedge funds, and Julia Lemarchand, Journalist and Chief Editor at eFinancial Careers. Smart women who succeeded in their career and gave us some useful professionnal tips.
Those tips which impressed me:
- Internal Networking (of course). Regurlarly ask for lunch with influent members of your company, in order to be visible;
- Don’t hesitate to ask for promotion. It’s a bad female habit to hesitate to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for reward of what you’ve been working for;
- Be careful to become indispensable; Sometimes, it can be more difficult for indispensable people to get a professionnal mobility, because they are so good in their job that it can be difficult to find someone to replace them. It’s a pride to be the “Go to person”, but be careful on the frontier between the “Go to person ” and the “indispensable one”.
And you, would you like to share what you thing about the future of women in finance?