Women in Financial Services Blog

Help three young women on their journey to becoming leaders in Financial Services

Help three young women on their journey to becoming leaders in Financial Services

Tina.Freed / 10 Oct 2018

Today is International Day of the Girl – 600 million adolescent girls will enter the workforce in the next decade.

Meet three of E2W and CISI’s graduates and read about their plans for the future, support networks and hurdles.

Today is International Day of the Girl, a United Nations’ day of observance to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, whilst promoting their empowerment and fulfilment of their human rights.  

This year, the UN’s theme for today is ‘A Skilled GirlForce’, looking at how we as a global community can ensure that girls have access to education and opportunities so that they might gain fulfilling employment in adulthood. 

At E2W we think this is an important subject.  We share with you the progress that is being made for women today but in order for gender equality to be the norm and not an effort, we must ensure that the women of the future are being given the right support to achieve their goals.  With this in mind, last year, we partnered with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments (CISI) to develop a programme to allow school age girls to learn more about financial services.  They were able to gain a qualification, work experience and mentors to help them with their career decisions.  

To mark the day, International Day of the Girl, we have produced two pieces, this one looking at women leaders of the future and the other, girls of the past.

In this one, we asked three of the graduates of the CISI course the same questions  we asked our working community.  We wanted to understand their current career goals as they embark on their university courses, who’s helping them and who or what is standing in their way.

Career goals

It’s important to note that they are young women and not girls, so their ambitions seem clear at this stage – they’re not still toying with the idea of being, say, a clown!  (Click here to learn more!).  Two of the girls are very assured when they tell me that they want to work in financial services.  They appear to understand the landscape of financial services’ recruitment and know what they need to do to ensure their CVs and applications make the ‘Follow Up’ pile.

“Knowing Finance can be a very competitive and challenging environment to work in, gaining the right experience beforehand can be crucial in being successful in this field. As a result, I have engaged myself in a range of activities such as work experience, taster courses, finance courses and many more.”

One sees the financial services industry as powerful, perhaps more so than politics, and wants to use her knowledge, skills and influence to bring about a greater good. 

“My goal is to work in the finance industry and to have a prosperous career becoming a prominent and key figure in this sector. The power and influence that I will have in the future will allow me to achieve another objective of mine, which is to make a change for the better in third world countries with regards to making them more economically stable, especially my country of origin, Ghana.”

One is very clear in her ambitions which could lead to her having a career in many industries, including financial services:

“One of the very few successful black women to actively work in industry as a Software engineer.”

Support

These young women continue to benefit from support from their families, just as some of us did too, but they’re also reaching out to the industry and networks to find mentors and career specific support. 

 “I am also very fortunate to have networks already in the field of my interest they give me advice and their knowledge.”

As part of our programme with the CISI, we introduced the students to mentors from the E2W community such as Olga Venosa mentioned here. 

“Olga, my mentor, aided me in preparation for a structure in university in terms of encouraging me to study abroad (potentially in my third year). One thing that has inspired and stuck by me is her belief that everything with your name on it should be 100% quality. Never do things half-heartedly because if you’re capable of doing more, especially as a woman, it’s important to display your capabilities and intelligence through anything that you’re represented by.”

What’s standing in the way? 

It’s pleasing to report that these young women are, on the whole, positive about their futures and haven’t experienced many obstacles so far. 

Looking ahead, one of the women is predicting that the jobs’ market may be crowded:

“However, finding ways to differentiate myself from other aspiring Software Engineers … is difficult, as most will have a degree and most will have travelled and gained experience. I’m still finding myself and finding what traits I have to offer.”

Another acknowledges that not securing a place at her first choice university has simply spurred her on to succeed, 

“Challenges such as these motivate me to work even harder as I have a clear vision of who and what I want to become in the future. Hard work and persistence are essential for me to reach my goals.”

It’s hard to draw parallels between the two sets of answers as these women are in the here and now whereas our members who answered the questions were looking back to their childhoods of, say, twenty or thirty years ago.  I am thrilled, though, that the CISI graduates are supported and are not displaying any signs of a lack of self-belief, they know their destination and what it will take to arrive there.

They will be three of the 600 million young women and girls to join the global workforce in the next decade.  Look out for them in a few years in financial institutions, the talent of the future. 

The women we interviewed were

 Kyra-Jade Lamptey – looking for work experience, an internship or placement in cryptography or cyber security;

Madeleine Opoku and Rose Boateng – both are looking for work experience, an internship or placement in financial services.  

 Kyra-Jade  Madeleine  Rose

If you would like to support these women of the future during their university courses by providing work experience, an internship or a placement for part of their degree course, please contact me, Mark Freed.

 

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