Equity and Opportunity: Women in Finance
Articles, Blog

Equity and Opportunity: Women in Finance

August 23, 2019


So welcome, everyone. I’m really pleased to be here
with some really wonderful colleagues and
classmates to talk to you today about women in finance– women in the finance industry. So I’m going to briefly
introduce the panel. I’m going to have
each of these women talk a little bit
about what they do and how they came to
do that after Amherst. And then we’ll move on
with the discussion. So my name is Amy Fox. I’m class of ’97. And I do not work in finance. I never have. But the reason I’m up here
is that I am a screenwriter. And a few years ago, I
was hired to write a film about women on Wall Street– a fiction film,
not a documentary– a financial thriller in the vein
of the Oliver Stone Wall Street or Margin Call. But the producers who
hired me were really interested in the fact that Wall
Street movies are very popular, and they’re very
successful as a genre, but that they have almost
never had any actual women characters– certainly not women who we
see working in that world. And so our mission was to
tell an entertaining financial thriller, but one
that just happens to have women in the main
roles as the bankers and also is a chance to examine what that
world is like for those women, in ways that it may or may not
be like for their colleagues. So it’s on that basis
that I got the chance to be up here with these– [LAUGHS] Hello! [LAUGHS] With this
esteemed panel. So I’m going to actually
turn it to them. And if you would each
just introduce yourself, and what you do, and talk a
little bit about your path, and how you got there. Oh, I get to start. This is Angela
Scott, class of ’82. Hello, I’m the lone wolf here. I’m the class of ’82. My name is Angela Scott. I currently reside
in Connecticut. And I’ve been in the
financial services industry in one way or the other
for about the last 20 years. Prior to that, I had worked
in other manufacturing types of industries and
also the government. My background actually,
from leaving Amherst, is a little bit unusual
for most Amherst folks. I’m went into human resources. And from human resources, I did
eventually get my law degree, practiced employment
law for a while, and then decided
to move inside– not so much to litigate or to
defend, but more to prevent. I wound up doing a combination
of employment law within HR to both explain
compliance, explain regulatory
requirements, but also do preventative work to
stop some of the things that were happening within,
not only the financial services industry, but all
industries along the way. My specialty area is equal
employment opportunity and affirmative action. I currently do that
for Wells Fargo. And I have done that work
or employee-relations work, preventative work,
at other companies– MassMutual, Cigna, and
also through things like Sony and BFGoodrich. Good morning. I’m Susanne Santola Mulligan. I graduated in ’97. I do investment banking. So when you watch the trailer,
the lead character Naomi is an autobiography of
myself in a lot of ways. I work at a firm called
Guggenheim Securities, where I’ve been there for
almost five years. I was hired to start the equity
capital markets business there, which is the
department that does the IPOs and the follow-ons. Prior to that, I
was a Deutsche Bank. I ran their health care equity
capital markets practice there for eight years. I also co-lead their Private
Placement and PIPEs practice. And then I spent eight
years before that at Thomas Weisel Partners
and Montgomery Securities. So, 20 years right
out of college, all in investment banking. I’m married to Greg Mulligan,
who’s in the middle there. And I have two daughters,
Hayden and Finley, who are eight and six, who are
also here– hopefully you’ll make it through. [LAUGHS] We’ll try to keep
it interesting. Good morning. I’m Molly Auth
Manning, class of ’97. And I’ve been in the investment
world for 19 of the 20 years since I graduated from Amherst. And I’m on the buy side. I started in sales
and client service on the buy side in New York. Then moved to Boston,
and have worked in investment consulting. And then, back again
on the buy side for an asset-allocation firm and
then now a fixed-income firm. And now, I have five kids. I have three stepsons– two little guys, one who
is here joining me today. [LAUGHTER] And it’s a incredible
balance to have kids and to try to do this. But it’s a lot of fun, too. Hi, my name’s Ashley
McCormick Delahunty. I’m also class of ’97. I’ve actually been a lifer
at Fidelity Investments. I joined right out
of school and have had a lot of roles, all within
the equity trading division. I’m currently running a
portfolio-services team within equity trading. And like Molly, it’s
quite a balance. I also have five children–
two stepdaughters and then three little ones,
one in the front row over here who didn’t want to
go visit the animals. [LAUGHTER] But you know, I
think, as Molly said, it’s a juggling act with
kids, and work, and marriage, and life, and all
of the things above. But as Molly said, it’s fun. And it keeps it interesting. Great. Thank you. So what I wanted to do
just to start us off is– because I think the topic
of women in finance, we’re going to get into
some thorny issues, some not-so-great statistics
and experiences, perhaps– and some good ones, as well. But I wanted to start us off– it feels a little bit
like grade school, but I would love for
each person to just take a couple of minutes
and talk about what is the aspect of their work
that they enjoy the most. Because I think that these
words that, when you describe your job title, for people
that are not in finance, those may not mean so much. But I would love
to just hear what is it that gets everyone
excited in their job. I guess it’s me. Little bit different
from most folks, but I really enjoy
making sure that people have a voice within
corporations, making sure that people
are treated correctly, and that if they
have had issues, resolving them, finding
a solution for them. That’s where my
passion comes from. I like to win. Or that! In my part of the
business, I spend most of my time trying
to convince clients– companies– to
hire my firm to be part of their IPO
or their follow-on. So my greatest joy is when
you’d spend all this time creating this presentation and
getting to know the client, and then getting that
phone call that says, yes, we think that you’re the
right one to lead the deal. That’s certainly one of
the things I like the best. I also like to win. I’m competitive. I like to coach, too. I coach my kids. But I think of my job at
work a lot as coaching. So, helping other people,
put them in the right seats, and give them the skills and the
tools that they need to go out and help us win as a firm. And I love on the
buy side, a lot of the clients I’ve worked
with in the past are endowments and foundations, so,
like Amherst College. And I love the idea
that we’re helping them achieve their mission. So that’s been a big part
of where I’ve worked, what I’ve chosen to
do, and the feeling I get of success and
appreciation for what I do. For me, actually, it’s
also about winning. In trading, every trade, you’ve
either won, or you’ve lost. And it’s very clear-cut. It’s very fast-paced. It’s very competitive. It’s very aggressive. And I think that
just keeps you going. And everything that sort of
falls into the current events, and a news headline can change
the direction of a stock, instantly. And it’s being that being able
to identify what that news headline is going
to do to a stock, and being able to react to
that, and work with your team to get the best results is sort
of the exciting thing for me that keeps me going every day. Great. Great. Thank you. Yeah, so what I’m going
to do is show the trailer for my film, which I think will
echo some of these sentiments, actually. That was one thing
that, when I set about to build
this character who had been in investment
banking for 20 years, we did a lot of research. Myself and my producers
interviewed about 100 women and men that had
worked on Wall Street. And that competitive sort of, I
want to win, I want to succeed, I want to get the deal, was
something that we heard a lot. And that seems really important,
in terms of that drive. And it’s interesting, a lot
of the women we interviewed had a background in athletics. Were you all
athletes at Amherst? We all were. Yeah. I was not, which is
why I’m in the arts. [LAUGHS] But it seems like
those things do go hand-in-hand. So let’s watch the trailer. And then, what I want to do is
talk about some of the themes that came up in my research
and then ask you all to reflect on some of those. So can we queue it up? Thank you. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] – What’s that thing
that really makes you want to get up in the morning? – For me, I guess the simplest
answer is, I like money. [MUSIC PLAYING] – I work for the largest
investment bank in the world. I have taken nine
companies public. I am so glad that it’s
finally acceptable for women to talk about success. – Are you still locking
up drug dealers? – I’m actually in
white collar crime. – You got a file on us? – We have a file on everyone. – I guess you’ve
heard that talk. – They’ll be naming
a new global head. – I’m going to be
frank with you. The perception is that you
rub people the wrong way. – Hm. [MUSIC PLAYING] – Remind me why I
didn’t marry you. – Yeah, well, men like a
girl they can take care of. – I’m going to take
your company public. Are you ready to
be the rock star? – Oh, yeah. – Big smiles. We’re going to make
a lot of money. [GLASSES CLINK] – Well done. – This thing is getting hot. – You guys want in on this, now. – We just raised $250 million. – When Ed hits you,
you have to handle him professionally and very gently. – Yeah, I know how this works. [MUSIC PLAYING] – He give you anything
on the hedge fund guy? – He’s not going to
give us anything. – Now, don’t go
doing anything rash. You’re not in narcotics anymore. – Somebody leaked a
rumor about my IPO. – I didn’t do anything. – Yes you did. Because you needed it. – You don’t know what I need. – You have nothing
on me, do you? – Is that a challenge? – You’ve been investigating him? – I can’t really
comment on that. – Did you leak this thing? – Are you wearing a wire? – This is all just a big
game to you, isn’t it? – What else is there? [KNOCKING] – Is there a problem? – This doesn’t look
like your year. – Secure? Yeah. Powerful? Absolutely. Don’t let money be a dirty word. [MUSIC PLAYING] [END PLAYBACK] Now, I’m just going to
briefly talk about some of the things that came up in
my interviews, in my research. And then, I’m going to
turn it over and hear if there’s anything
in what I say that echoes a specific
story or incident you guys want to address. And we’ll kind of go from there. So a few things
that came up when we interviewed many
people– so, it was interesting because
within finance, there are very different environments. So we were specifically doing
this film about the big banks– the big Wall Street banks and
that specific environment. And I do think that people in
different roles in finance, the environments have some
range and some specificity. We were also making
a contemporary story. But many of the
people I interviewed had actually started
on Wall Street in the ’80s or even earlier. And that’s a slightly or maybe
majorly different experience from what it is
today, as a woman. So we were interested in
making a film about now, but also understanding
the context. So one thing that
came up, particularly with the people who had
started in the ’80s, but still goes on
now, is the sort of very overt sexism
or sexual harassment that you might hear about. And hopefully not
as bad, but who knows– like a Fox
News-like environment at some of these places,
the kind of thing we might see in a movie
like Wolf of Wall Street. And again, some sexual
harassment, but also things like, one of the women who
executive produced our film started– at the beginning
of her career, she was told that the firm
will not hire women for any job that involved
travel because they were too delicate for that. So this kind of thing that
was overt and policy at some of these places. And then, obviously some
of that has shifted. And some of that has gone away. And some of that has potentially
gone underground or behind closed doors. So that was one thing that
I heard about from people. But beyond that,
which I think is sort of the most obvious thing
we think of when we think of sexism in the
workplace, we heard about a lot of other things. We heard about the
idea of perception and how women may be
perceived differently at work. So you saw in the clip
there, where her manager says you rub people the wrong way. And there are certain
phrases like that seem to come up a lot
in performance reviews and in feedback that
women employees may get that they have sharp
elbows, that they rub people the wrong way. These are sort of code
words for “too aggressive.” And we heard a lot
about people who had been in sort of closed-door
discussions or performance reviews of women, who
would hear this idea that a woman is either too
aggressive, or she’s too nice. And there doesn’t seem to be
a place for the assertiveness that you need to succeed
in this business that doesn’t, in some
way, work against you at some of these places. So that’s one thing, that
idea of how you’re perceived and how the same action
taken by a man or a woman might look very differently
to those around them. So that’s one thing. Another biggie that some of
you have already touched on, is the child-pregnancy
and child-care piece, what happens when a woman
decides to have a family. I’d be curious to
hear from some of you. We talked to a lot of women
who hid their pregnancies until the very
last moment, which is what one of the
characters in the film does. The idea that you don’t
want that information out until the last possible
second because it may change how you’re perceived. And then, also, the
legitimate challenge of how you do a job that
requires so much time, so many hours, such
intensity, maybe travel, while also raising a family,
and whether that does work against you. So that being another theme. The whole idea, also,
of work-life balance, which I found that many women
I interviewed hated that phrase and didn’t identify with
the idea of a balance. That wasn’t how
they perceived it. And then, just a
couple other things. One thing that I found
particularly interesting was hearing women
talk about how they had internalized
a lot of pressure and found ways that they
were holding themselves back. So I heard a lot of people
say that if a mistake is made, if someone doesn’t
perform well, that it’s more likely that a woman
will put that on herself, that she will lose sleep and
think, how did I mess up? What could I have
done differently? Be up in the wee hours,
turning that over. And it’s more likely that a man
will blame it on someone else. And I was really interested
in that because that, to me, is something that definitely
transcends Wall Street and happens in my industry in
film and writing, quite a bit. So that’s another thing I
found really interesting. And then, the last thing is– and I’ve heard a little
bit of this up here, too– but one thing I loved
about writing the film was being able to
give voice to women who are proud to declare
that they want to make money, that they want power, that
want to win, as we heard. I don’t think we hear women
talk about those things quite enough. And that was one of the
things that really struck me. In one of the first
interviews I did for the film, there was a woman describing to
me some pretty horrific things that had gone on in her
office in the ’80s, involving strippers coming to the
office, all sorts of things. And I said to her, what
got you through that? What kept you coming
to work every day? And I think I expected
her to say something about character and resilience. And I don’t know
what I expected. But she just sort of paused. And then she said,
I really like money. And that really took me aback. I just didn’t know that
I’d heard women declare a love of money in that way. And so, I ended up
working my into the film, as something that I was
really interested in hearing that in a woman’s
voice and in what that sounds like to people. And I asked the ladies in a
phone call we did about that. So that’s another really
interesting thing, for women to feel comfortable
talking about ambition, talking about goals, in a way. And does that sound
differently to us when it comes out of a
female voice than a man? So those are the
things that I’ve been toying with in
writing this project. And also we’ve done
a lot of screenings at banks and screenings
in financial firms. And I’ve been on a lot of panels
or handled a lot of panels like this. But I would love to
turn it over to you. And I’d like to
start with Angela. From the HR
perspective, just what are the things that
resonate for you? Well, it’s interesting
because I’ll look at it from both a person
and a professional perspective. First of all, most of the
things that you’ve talked about are not unique to the
financial services industry. That is true. That is true in
virtually every industry. And I’ve been in a variety
of different industries, doing the same type of work. I mean, people are people. They screw up regardless
of where you are. Or they get harassed
regardless of where you are. So I find that that
doesn’t make a difference as to what the industry is. And when you think about it, I
graduated in the class of 1982. That was 35 years ago. That, in 1982, was when the EEOC
actually defined and created, so to speak, a terminology
of sexual harassment. That’s the first
time it was named. It was seen as something that
somebody could potentially sue on, do something about. So if you think about it,
that’s not that long ago. And prior to that, there was
no recourse for most women. Currently, now when
you think back of it, when you’re talking about, I
do recall starting out in work with– HR would never get invited to
a sales conference because, oh my gosh, what happens there. The stories of the
strippers, the stories of the “friendly women”
that would be invited to join the events, was such. And looking through
expense reports post one of these
conferences was always quite an unusual
activity, to see what things people had the
audacity to not only do, but think that they
could charge the company. [LAUGHTER] I’m happy to say that that is
not such a situation anymore. I do know that I
went, in one case, I actually cleared out
five layers of management in one industry for
sexual harassment. So, there is a difference when
you’re given the power to say, I will institute
change, and you do, you see that there’s a
difference in the work world, in how people come to work. Now, having said that,
in many of the companies I’ve worked at, there have been
women in top leadership jobs. When you think about it, I
think back to, in one case, this one woman ran
a line of business. And she used to talk about,
you wear your armor to work. For men, she said,
we’re in sales. We’re doing our battle. And our battle means
you wear your armor. Men, you have to wear your tie. That is your armor. Women, I expect suits. This was not that long ago. I was rather
surprised about that. But as far as she was concerned,
that’s what you had to do. The other thing that’s been
a significant change is FMLA. I’ve heard people talk
in terms of having children, what happens when
you are pregnant at work. When I was pregnant was,
I had my daughter in 1990. Now I’m really dating myself. And I was the first
professional woman to have a child at my
organization, at that point. And it was funny because other
women came up to me and said, we’re all watching you. We want to see what
happens with you. We want to understand
how they treat you. I was able to negotiate
some time off and some time to work from home. But back then, that
was not a guarantee. It was a one-off
type of experience that you had to work with. Later, a year later, my
husband had developed cancer. Again, no FMLA. And I had to, again, negotiate
with my employer about, how do I take time off? How do I deal with my situation? And they were very willing
and able to work with me. But now those are
rights that they take for granted in many
ways, where back in the day, that wasn’t the case. And those were grounds
for termination. Companies themselves,
financially, are really making a
change in looking at this as a dollars-and-cents issues. Women in top leadership– if
you have women in top jobs, it produces a 30%
higher return on equity. That’s a
dollars-and-cents issue. It’s not so much a
matter anymore of, well, this is a nice thing to do. It’s now a matter of being able
to trot out the numbers, being able to show, here’s what
the return on investment is for making sure you open
your work ways up to everyone. Unfortunately, now for the
financial services industry, there is a real challenge for
women, for people of color, within the industry, primarily
because of the emphasis on the STEM careers. The STEM careers
are siphoning off what used to be
one of the major– women would go, who were in
the technology field, who were in the mathematics, who
were in the finance field, would go into finance. Now they’re finding there’s
alternatives with the STEM careers. And as a result,
since 2000, there has been a 16% decline in women
going into financial services. Now unfortunately, that’s
versus an 8% decline for men going into
financial services. So without that
pipeline there, you’re never going to have
women in those top jobs. And that becomes a real
issue because in order to institute change, you’ve
got to have the pipeline there. Unfortunately also, within the
pipeline, what we have found, is that the higher up
women get, typically they will go into some of the
so-called “soft careers.” They’ll go into human resources. They’ll go into the
administrative services. They’ll take themselves
out of the operations mode. And that’s partially
because it’s a way to deal with
the work-life balance. Most of the women I know who are
in senior management positions, who are heading up
lines of business, especially if they’re
in the operations, if they’re in the sales,
have househusbands. That’s the secret that most
people don’t talk about, is that most successful
women actually have a husband
who’s a stay-at-home or who works out of their house. Now, that’s anecdotally. I have to admit, I had
one of those too, so. [LAUGHS] And it’s your way
you can balance the family, the commitment, and the
who-picks-up-the-kids. So, I’ll stop there. Susanne, does
anything gel for you in what we’re talking about? I often say at work
that I need a wife. [LAUGHTER] I don’t have a
stay-at-home husband. But I have a very
supportive husband. And together, I think we tackle
everything as best we can. Oftentimes, I feel like I’m not
doing my job as well as I can, and not being a parent
as best as you can. It’s, you know, a constant
struggle every day. One thing that you had
said about the sexism– I’ve been lucky
that I haven’t had any overt sexism, or
overt sexual harassment, anything like. I’ve been fortunate that
that’s never been a problem. But the undertones
are always there. The first 10 years
of my career, when I was an analyst
or associate or VP, it was never really
an issue at all. I feel like at those
levels of your career, you get compensated based
on like great work ethic, and doing a good job, and
having a good attitude. But the moment I
became in the level where you are compensated
based on the revenue that you generate– totally different
once that happened. Then all of a sudden,
I’ve tried the, head down, and work really hard,
and let your results speak for yourself. And that is a nice
pat on the back. But you’re not doing as much
as some of the other guys are doing. And then I’ve tried
the, in your face, meeting with the head
of investment banking along the way to make sure he
knew everything I was doing. And then I got the– sort of like your
comments in the movie– well, you’re a little
too aggressive, or you’re a little too showy,
or you’re in my face too much. You should really
take a step back and let the results
speak for themselves. And at my firm, by the
way, I’m the only woman in a senior role, the only
female managing director. Every Monday we have a SMD-MD
meeting and standing-room-only in the boardroom. [COUGHS] Allergies are
killing me right now. And I’m the only woman. There’s no
principle-level women. There’s no VP-level women. And then, we have a bunch of
the associate and the analysts. So they really don’t
know how to deal with me. So I deal with that
a lot, as well. Yeah. I grew up with four brothers. So I grew up with
the attitude of like, I can do anything they can do. And they would push me around. And I thought that was
going to make it fine. And for the most
part, it is fine. And I find myself in
that situation Susanne just described all the time. And that part doesn’t faze me. The sexism– it
certainly happens. I mean, I was 23 and just trying
to make my way at a firm in New York as an analyst. And my boss told me to take
a client out to dinner. And I was worried. My thought was like,
is my credit card going to be able to
cover this thing. I don’t even know. Like, I’d probably had a
$500 limit at that time. Like, how is this going to work. And he followed with–
is it OK if I say– isn’t that really bad
in front of your kids? Yes. [LAUGHS] He followed with, the woman
who used to do this before, she got them laid. And I was like, oh, crap. Like, OK. And so, I went to
the dinner because I didn’t know what else to do. Took them out. And the whole
time, I’m thinking, I did not invite any– he
said, bring some friends. Because the last woman,
she used to get them laid. And I didn’t invite any friends. And I sat there and
maybe had half a beer. And as soon as the waiter
walked by, I slid my card, paid for it, and ran away. I was like, I can’t
even function in this. And it gets better. And things like
that aren’t as bad. But you know, it happens. This week, I was talking
with a colleague who reports to me, but about somebody else. And we were sort of
gathering information. And the other colleague
had made a mistake, had sort of overshared
in a client meeting. And he said, well,
I attribute it to, you know, she says
she’s a new mom. And I thought, would you
say that about a new dad? Like, she’s got a
5-month-old kid or something. Yes, I’m sure she’s tired. But are we really
still saying this? And I don’t think
that’s finance. I think that exists everywhere. But it’s really frustrating. And, Angela, you said
something about how people, when you were pregnant, people
said they were looking to you. I think that’s huge. Having a group of
people, friends who are in your same boat,
going through it, is huge. I mean, I give you credit. I can’t imagine people who
did it 10, 15 years before me, because how much harder
it must have been. And it’s hard now. But how much harder it must
have been without anybody, even, so you don’t have
anybody at your firm. But I’m sure you have
a network of people that you can talk to and go to. Not having that,
I think, I don’t know that I could have done it. I think for me, to
echo that point, I am actually the only
woman on the trading desk that has children. And anyone that had got pregnant
actually didn’t return to work. So I think, when I was
having my first child, which I think I was like 37 or
38 when I had my first child, there was a lot of eyes on me. And there was a lot
of pressure for me when I did come back to work
on how people would view me. Being on a trading desk, I
think the sexism is definitely– it still exists. I think it’s sort of
behind closed doors. And I think in the first 15
years of my career working on a trading desk,
you were going out, you were going to
parties, and you were just trying to be one of the guys. And I also grew up
with three brothers. So for me, that was an
easy transition for me. But I think now that
I’m not going out, and doing client events,
and going to parties, because I have three
young children, I think the perception of me on
the trading desk has changed. And people have said to
me, oh, now that you’ve had children you’ve become soft. And for me, the one
thing that I really remember about how I survived
all these years on a trading desk was never to let
your emotions show. Never let– not to be soft. To be– I’m not going to say
this in front of the kids– but to be the “B.” And that’s what you
needed to do to survive. And I think that’s what did help
me make it on a trading desk and not be that statistic
of all of the other women not being able to feel like
they could have a family and work on a trading desk. So I just think it’s– back to the point of
having an example. I wish I had examples of
women that were able to do it. But now I sort of
feel like it’s on me to lead the way
for younger women to show them that they
can have a family. They can get married. They can have a family. They can do the balance. And you don’t have to
be one of those stats. That’s really hard. I’ve had colleagues
and bosses say, we really want you
to keep trying this. I know you feel like
you’re cutting corners. I know you feel like
you’re leaving early to go coach a kid’s
team or something. But you’re the example. Keep doing that. And I love that. And I feel really it’s
a huge responsibility. But I’m happy for that. And it’s exhausting. [LAUGHTER] You do feel like, are you sure? Are you really sure
you want me to do this? And everybody’s looking
at me like, is this OK? And it mostly feels great. And it sometimes feel awful. When I went on maternity
leave my second time, I was a revenue
producer at the time. And on the way out– yes, with you, Fin. [LAUGHTER] When I went out, my boss was
like, have an amazing maternity leave. Don’t worry. We’ll take care of things here. But you know any revenue that
gets generated for your clients when you’re not here, you can’t
really get credit for that. Oh my gosh. Literally the day I’m leaving. So I had Fin. And four days later,
a client that I’ve been working on for a year
decides to raise money. So four days into maternity
leave, I call Greg. And I was like, do
you hear anything? He was like, what? I don’t hear anything. I was like, are you sure
you don’t hear anything? He was like, no. I was like, OK, I have to
get on a work call right now. And I’m pumping. And I want to make sure that
you can hear it when I’m on the phone with the client. [LAUGHTER] But four days in, I
executed a full deal from the confines
of my own home so I could make sure I got
credit for the revenue. My husband took a picture of me
in the hospital with my second on a computer trying to answer–
because I had him early. And I wasn’t totally ready. And I was trying to tie up some
things and answer some emails. And he’s like,
what are you doing? And I’m like, well, I
don’t want to let it drop. And my company wasn’t
telling me I had to. But you don’t want to
drop that stuff, either. It’s hard. It’s funny because I think
one of the lessons learned was you never want to
let them see you sweat. That’s the best way. You just would
say, I can do that. No problem. Get it done, whether
you’re working till all hours in the evening. You go home. You feed your kids. You wind up putting them to bed. And then you start your second
job of working at that point. So you do wind up with
various issues that come up. But also, as you’re
in these meetings, you learn to be
almost impassive so that you don’t see the emotion
come one way or the other. And then in many cases, when
you do finally show the emotion, it makes a bigger
difference to them. When I had started
out, I remember at one point I was
the first woman in this labor-relations group. And the union did not
know what to do with me. And they would actually start
fighting amongst themselves about whether or
not they could swear in front of me,
what kinds of things I would or wouldn’t know. They would go back and forth. And I would just have to
sit there and say, you know, when you guys figure out
what you’re going to do, then I’ll tell you what
my ruling is on this case. But until then. And you start using
it to your advantage and to say things
like, [GASPS] you mean, little old me could have
done that work, too? Oh, yes, little lady, even you. So why are you suing
us for whatever it was as preferred work? So you learn. And in many ways,
I will admit, I would use that to my advantage. Figure if they’re
going to play the game, might as well do the
same thing at times. Yeah, so you guys have
touched on a few things that I wanted to talk about. So one is this idea
of role models. And I wanted to know who
your role models were. And also, you’ve already
spoken a little bit about having to be a role model. And I guess, specifically,
as people with children, or people in a setting,
like if you going to speak to some recent Amherst grads– I mean, would you encourage
people to go into this field? So it’s sort of a
three-part question. But who were your role models? And were they men or women? And we’ve already
heard a little bit. But what’s it like to be
a role model yourself? And then, what might you say
to a woman considering finance? Yeah, I do a lot of
recruiting of women. And I tell everybody,
regardless– woman, man, blue, white, pink– you have to
have a role model or a mentor. It was crucial for me. In the first 10
years of my career, I was fortunate enough
at three different firms to work for the same man. And I didn’t even
appreciate it at the time at what an amazing mentor
and role model he was. He not only taught
me everything I know, but he fought for me internally. And you would go
to client meetings. And I would be 25 years old. And he would ask in front
of the client, what’s your opinion, Susanne? So to get me involved
in client interaction very early on for
a period of time. We didn’t even live
on the same coast. And if he would get a phone
call, before he would pick up the phone call, he would
call me in New York to get me on the
phone to conference me in, so that I could be
a part of the conversation. When we no longer worked
together after my first 10 years, and I had a
new senior manager, I just assumed that that
was the way it was, right. And now Jeff was going
to become my consigliere and do all of those
things for me. And I quickly learned that that
was not going to be the case. And I have actually
struggled for the second 10 years of my career, not having
that role model or that mentor. So I tell junior people all the
time that you need to have one. And I also say, it’s
easier said than done. You can’t wake up and
say, OK, today on my list, I’m going to get a mentor. And I’m going to
blind email somebody and ask them if they’ll do that. It doesn’t work that way. It’s way more nuanced. But being able to find somebody
that you connect with early on is very, very important. And then, in terms
of would I encourage women to go into
the field, I mean, I do strongly believe that
investment banking coming out of college is arguably
the best career path you can do for three
years out of college. I think there is
very few jobs where you are going to work
that hard, but learn that diverse skill set,
get as much responsibility, as much client interaction. And I do think having that
on your resume early on can enable you to steer into a
thousand different directions. So I do still think
it’s a good career. I guess, I had a
different experience. I actually can’t really
think of a role model that I had at my firm. And I think that’s
very disappointing. But I think what
I take from that, is I sort of want to be the role
model for a younger generation. And it’s a tough
balance, as I think you were very lucky to
have a male role model. And I know they’re out there. I just think it’s a very
different perspective. You know, if you see a guy
leaving to go to a soccer game, you say, oh, what a great dad. He’s going to his
kid’s soccer game. But if I leave to
go to a soccer game, I think the perception is,
oh, she’s leaving again early. She must not care about the job. Or she isn’t giving it 110% that
she used to be able to give. So I think companies,
like the one I work for, I think they
say they want to set up mentors and set up role models. But until you find
that perfect fit, I think it’s something really on
paper and not really something that exists for me. I had a great role model
who, like Susanne’s boss, for the first two years that
I was in the industry invested in me, and gave me a chance,
and took me on trips, that I look back,
and I’m like, I don’t know what the hell
he was thinking because I didn’t know what I was doing. But it was awesome of him. And we still get together. But it was a pretty short
working relationship. My greatest role
model is my mom. She worked for 30
years as a teacher. And she balanced it all. And she’s phenomenal, so. Yeah, it’s an interesting thing. Pretty much every woman
that I interviewed who had stayed in finance
and really climbed up that ladder had a male
mentor or sponsor who seemed to be really
looking out for them, and making it possible to bring
them up, and to support them. And it’s an
interesting thing when we talk about what
men in finance can do to encourage and support. And I think that now if you
have more women in leadership, women can also do that. But for a long time, the
women weren’t in leadership. So you needed men who
were willing to do that. And those who did, I think,
made a tremendous difference on what the industry is
starting to look like now. Great. We just a few more minutes. I wonder if we should take some
questions from the audience. Sure? This theme runs,
I think, very true to women in the law [INAUDIBLE]. This is very familiar. But I always feel also that
we’re focusing a little bit on the negative. And I wanted to ask
you, what have you found that you’ve been
able to use as a woman or as an Amherst grad
to your advantage? I mean, what advise
would you give that’s worked for you,
either from your family or your educational background
that’s helped you succeed? Because clearly, you’ve
all done very well. It’s a great question. Yeah, thank you for turning it. Early on in the career,
I always found myself that I stood out, right. Just physically,
I looked different than the male in the
white shirt and blue tie. When I went with a team
from Thomas Weisel Partners to Deutsche Bank, and
I was the junior person on the team at the time. There were three of us. And we went all over the
firm to introduce ourselves to all the different
industry groups and all the different areas
of the firm that we were going to work with. And I found that I was getting
all of the inbound follow up. And my boss, who was the
same guy, by the way, was joking a little bit,
but a little bit not. And was like, why are
they all calling you? Why aren’t they calling me? I’m the boss. I’m the boss. And I was like, because they
don’t remember who you are. [LAUGHS] They know who I am, right. I have a different name. And I look different. So I used that. And now I absolutely
use to the advantage of being a woman when there’s
a woman on the other side. If it’s a female
CEO or a female CFO, there is definitely a
club that women want other women to help succeed. And that’s certainly an angle. And also, if it’s a very
aggressive male CEO, I find that they
behave differently when there’s a woman in the room. So if it’s a
difficult conversation or is going to be a
very aggressive meeting, for whatever reason, I find that
I can defuse the situation just by having a
different perspective and different personality. Greg likes to tell people that
I can get people to tell me things that other people can’t. But I think that’s some of the
differences of being a woman that I’ve used to my advantage. I have a question for Ashley. A few years ago, the founder
of Fidelity decided Or retire. And he turned over the
operations and the CEO position to his daughter, Abigail. And I’m curious, has there been
any perceptible change that you’ve noticed, in terms of
the way things are at Fidelity under her guidance
versus her dad’s? I think she has a
great team around her. And I think the difference
that I’m noticing now, is that they really are focusing
on the younger generation and how to bring that younger
generation in as clients. They’re more focused
on technology. They’re more focused
on cyber attacks. Mr. Johnson had his
way of doing things. And he built the company
into what it is now. But I think she’s
sort of realizing, how do you take the
company to the next step. And you have to focus on
the younger generation. And whether they do Ted Talks– and it’s just a very
different perspective. Even though, she’s not
necessarily young herself. She’s probably in her
50s, I would think. But the team that she’s built
around her and underneath her gives her a
different perspective to lead the company in the
direction she wants to take it. 50 is young. 50 is young, yeah. [LAUGHTER] Yeah. [LAUGHTER] [INAUDIBLE] some of the top
hundred companies in America are now run by–
the CEOs are women– IBM, General Motors,
Hewett-Packard. I mean, you can go
down the [INAUDIBLE] very serious women in
very serious positions. Do you think that’s
going to help, in terms of providing more
fluidity for women to advance? Or do they just stay away
from that whole issue? I think you find that
if there is a woman CEO, there is a tendency to have more
women flock to that business because they are anticipating
that it may be a more open community and more
advantageous for promotion, for the ability to
move through the ranks without having the stigma
of being a woman or being an “only.” Whether or not that’s
actually the reality, in many of these cases
remains to be seen. In some of the cases, you
look at certain women who– prior CEOs, they
took the tactic of, I will be successful by being as
much like my male counterparts plus as possible. Others looked at it differently. So it goes down to
really, I think, an issue of each individual
style, and how they manage, and how they lead the
company and the organization, and what culture they set
for that organization. Yes? Hi. I’m also going to
continue the discussion. [LAUGHTER] I have three daughters,
and all of whom are professionals in
[INAUDIBLE] You each are talking about
being a role model. That’s part of what you
view as your responsibility, your opportunity, and
your joy is in this. And I guess my question
is, as role models, do you see your opportunity
to promote assimilation in the systems that you are
operating in or transformation? And I guess, if it
is transformation, what are the elements of
transformation [INAUDIBLE] by women in the
services industries [INAUDIBLE] Finance,
advertising, that women are [INAUDIBLE]
better for them and for the company
which [INAUDIBLE] Can I take a stab at this one? Sure, yeah. As a woman, as a person of
color, when I first started out people would always
talk about assimilation. In fact, at one
company I had, they had talked very strongly about
diversity, about inclusion. But in reality, their
culture and their practice was, OK, we’ve hired you
because you’re different. Now be like everybody
else and assimilate. What I found, for myself
at least I can speak to, it’s transformation
is what’s critical. My very presence in
many of these companies, my very presence in
many of the rooms is transformative for people. It, in many cases,
takes them a while to understand what
I bring to the party or to listen to me in the same
manner in which they may listen to other colleagues of theirs
who may visually look similar. But once you break
down those walls, you do find that there’s
an understanding then of the diversity of
thought and creativity that comes from having
differences in that room, and that there’s
different functional ways to look at things. So, having people understand
that not only transforms them within that organization,
but also, I contend, transforms them
outside of the company. In the majority
of organizations, most people only
meet and interact with people who are different
than themself at work. Our neighborhoods
for the most part are still not always
very well integrated, aren’t very different. You meet people who are maybe
in the same class as yourself outside of the work area. So what winds up happening
is, when you get into the work world, it’s really
an opportunity to experience differences, and
through that, appreciate that. So I think it’s
transformational. I really, really
appreciate that. I would just say, I’ve
thought about this a lot, too, because in the film we
explored a lot of the darker side of some of these issues. And the film– spoiler alert,
I hope you will still see it– but it doesn’t have
a very cheery ending for our lead character. And a lot of times, when we’ve
screened it, particularly in settings where it’s
people in financial services, I’m asked the
question, well, how do you think this
film would inspire women to go into finance? And the subtext of
that is, why are you focusing on the
negatives if you want to inspire the next generation? And I came to respond
to that by saying, maybe I’m trying to inspire the
institutions to change instead of the individuals. I think there’s often a
theme in this country of sort of feeling like
individuals, it’s on them to fit in, to
assimilate to a system that may be in some ways broken. And I think that
institutions ought to be as capable of
change as people. It’s harder for
institutions to change. But that’s where I would like
to see the onus for change on the institutions and
less on individuals. It’s a good point
because the culture only changes from the top. And I don’t want to
speak for you guys, but it sounds like we’re all
saying similar things, which, at least for me, it’s
like, I do my part. But look, I work for a
boss that likes face time. And he has a group of 10 people. The rest are all men. And they either have
a stay-at-home mom, or they’re not married,
or they don’t have kids. And I have spent the last
two years educating him on the 21st century and that
I might not be at the desk, but have you ever had a client
say they couldn’t reach me? Have you ever not
been able to reach me? Have I ever not responded
to an email timely? Have I ever dropped
the ball on anything? Have I ever not done as much
business as everybody else, if not more than
everyone of the group? And slowly he’s starting to
realize that, yes, you have to adapt to the 21st century. But he also has to be the
one, when I’m not there, and he hears his
team making comments, to shut it down, right. And he’s not encouraging
that behavior. But he’s not
shutting it down yet. And I think, again,
it comes from the top. And that’s hopefully
the next step. OK, we are at time. I thank you all so much. I think they have two
questions over there. Yeah, I think we got to wrap
up because there’s someone else coming in the room. But thank you so much. And thank you to my panelists. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

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