How will you commit to helping women in finance in 2018?
Tina.Freed / 12 Mar 2018
On the eve of International Women’s Day, I met with the E2W Front Office team, discussing IWD’s call to action of pressing for progress. E2W is proud of its ongoing efforts and achievements in campaigning for gender parity in the City, recruitment practices and membership, all of which are driving change.
The discussion focussed on celebrating women’s achievements and in particular:
I will #PressforProgress and ...
- believe achievement comes in many forms
- value women's individual and collective success
- ensure credit is given for women's contributions
- celebrate women role models and their journeys
- support awards showcasing women's success
which led to some interesting insights into what achievement, credit, success and the like mean to different people and how they can be achieved.
Believe achievements come in many forms
The overriding sense was that the achievements that matter most have meaning and substance for the individual. Some examples were:
- Career contentment: being respected, supported and recognised for your contribution, whilst receiving feedback along the way.
- Achieving work orientated goals such as career progression, learning something new or tackling obstacles.
- Meeting life goals – balancing personal life with work.
Most importantly, women’s achievements, of any nature, should be recognised with sincerity.
Ensure credit is given for women’s contributions
This topic covered appraisals, meetings and asking for feedback all of which helps drive home women’s contributions.
Meetings – in your next meeting, if a woman makes a good point why not ‘shadow’ it? Reiterating a female point of view/contribution in a meeting can reinforce and show support.
Feedback – if feedback is not forthcoming ask and ask regularly! Request feedback on what you did well, not what you did badly i.e. positive feedback and learning points not criticism or negative feedback. Listen to the feedback and be aware of your performance.
If you want to provide positive feedback on a female colleague, the advice was to put it in writing to their manager and copy them in.
This is then documented evidence of positive performance.
Position yourself – it’s up to the individual to ensure that they are making a positive contribution and that that contribution is on management’s radar. In meetings, have the confidence to challenge! Believe in yourself, speak out and disagree with others and ensure you are heard.
The key thing is to increase your visibility, make sure your value is known and recognised broadly by your peers and managers. Keep building your value and own what you are doing.
Celebrate women role models and their journeys
The group discussed how women can benefit from a variety of role models – peers, managers, mentors and sponsors. In the front office environment, having someone to relate to is seen as very important but because of the gender mix, it’s often difficult – the E2W FO team meetings help to plug that gap.
Mentoring is so valuable to younger women and as a group we recognised that all of us can gain a great sense of achievement from helping and supporting someone else. Many of today’s senior mentors wished they had a mentor when they were starting out and see the huge benefit this can provide.
Sponsors are also critical but perform a different role to mentors! A sponsor will help with your visibility and a mentor will provide encouragement and feedback. Someone to say “Hey, you are doing well!”
It was a great evening of discussion and positivity. The ‘take away challenge’ was to go to work the next day and make sure that FO team members’ teams and managers around them know their value – don’t assume they do!
Many thanks to Fathima Hussain at Standard Chartered for hosting and hospitality.
Following on from this, the next FO meeting is focused on “How can I increase visibility and ensure my contribution/value is recognised? and other stories.” Details to follow in due course.
Tina Freed is co-founder, chairperson & COO of E2W with 25 years’ experience of working in financial services.
Picture shows the E2W FO team supporting the ‘Press for Progress’ campaign
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