Events

Women in Securitization Week Roundtables

Over the course of WiS week, the women of structured finance gathered across North America to discuss real life challenges and workable solutions to various hurdles professional women encounter. Each session reached registrant capacity, with over 200 industry women signing up for regional roundtables.

Attendance at the events affirmed the WiS perspective that our industry is eager to create a forum where women can have a meaningful dialogue on key issues and solutions. SFIG members and non-members alike expressed excitement that SFIG and the industry are committed to discussing the role of women in the workplace and sincerely appreciated bringing women together to candidly discuss issues that will contribute to the ongoing success of individual professionals and our industry.

WiS is extremely grateful to the valuable insight offered by each and every attendee at the regional roundtables. The candid, free-flowing conversations at each WiS Week event highlighted important concerns and provided key takeaways for individuals and our industry.

Industry Insights

Participants widely noted that the environment in corporate America is becoming inclusive and responsive to the achievements and needs of female employees. However, there is still progress to be made. WiS is committed to engaging both men and women in continued dialog, and at a leadership level, to best address some of the thoughts industry women expressed on:

  • Balancing work-life and creating support structures for women to successfully navigate life changes while still progressing in their career
  • Differing communication styles
  • Ensuring that women are equally considered for advancement opportunities and given the choice to accept or pass on high profile projects
  • Establishing institutional support for women’s career development by encouraging senior men and women to get to know junior employees and help advocate for their career development
  • Walking the walk, and talking the talk—ensuring that corporate inclusion policies are actually implemented and that follow-up measures are in place to ensure such goals are met

Key Tips and Takeaways

The regional roundtables also provided a venue for women of all levels of experience and title to meet and exchange their own personal insights on how to have a successful career. We hope that those of you not able to attend WiS Week will take the opportunity to get to know the industry women we have highlighted in our daily bulletins and in your own office environments.

One of the most widely shared perspectives at the roundtables was that, regardless of the efforts of corporations and our industry, each woman is still her own best advocate. We’ve compiled a list of advice and tips from insight shared during the roundtables and we encourage you to think about these items as you build your own career or help others in building theirs.

  1. Self-Assessment is key: Honestly ask yourself “What do I want?” and, "Am I willing to do what I need to do to get there?" It’s ok if family, health, and happiness come before work, but be honest with yourself about your goals and objectives.
  2. Build your brand: Make your accomplishments and desires known. Be honest in evaluations about your desire for advancement and don’t leave it to someone else to determine when and what you want to achieve.
  3. Be visible: It doesn’t have to be through “face time,” but make sure those in a position to make advancement decisions see you and your abilities—you can't expect people to see what you aren’t showing.
  4. Be proactive: What can you do independently to further your career goals?
  5. Continue to seek feedback: No one is perfect. Ask for feedback to identify areas that need work and then work to address them.
  6. Build allies: Form relationships with those who can advance you, and those who can be an advocate for you—look up and side-to-side. Some of your best advocates may be your peers and friends.
  7. Communicate: Understand the communication style of those to whom you report so you can ensure they are hearing you clearly and completely. Communicate with family when stressed. Communicate with your supervisor and colleagues regarding workload and career goals.
  8. Manage your time and attention: Plan your day. Allocate time for work assignments and for personal obligations. Cut or delegate what you cannot take on or do not want to do, if possible.
  9. Set and enforce boundaries: Turn off or don’t check work phone or emails during certain hours, like when you are eating dinner with family, helping children with homework, or while at the gym. Turn off your cell phone after a certain hour each night. This gets easier as you get further along in your career, and helps with strong communication.
  10. Always put yourself in the best light: “Avoid the avoidable” and be the consummate professional. Avoid office gossip and do not drink excessively at events.
  11. Expand your network: Be aware of more senior and junior women while you continue to build your network to help supporting those who came before you and may follow after.
  12. Be persistent: Follow up on conversations about advancement. Don’t think having the conversation once is enough.
  13. Be offensive, not defensive: Take control of your own destiny, but be willing to take constructive criticism to heart.
  14. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have: It’s always safest to dress on the conservative side, and you can always take notes from fellow colleagues.
  15. Gender is a factor but should not be a focus: Don’t focus on gender, focus on getting the job done well.
  16. Earn respect: You cannot command respect, you must earn it. Re-read through the suggestions above—these are some of the most effective ways to earn the respect of your colleagues and supervisors.

Tip of the Day

Grab coffee or go to lunch with a female colleague. Learn something new about her and about her experience in the structured finance industry.

 

Thank you to all of the attendees, and especially to our host institutions. To stay up-to-date on future WiS activities, or to get more involved in the initiative, please register here, or contact WiS@sfindustry.org for more information.

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