The Andaz Hotel was the place to be on Wednesday 10th June as approximately 40 ladies from the Financial Services sector gathered to sip fine wine, create their own signature perfume, savour delicious canapés and listen to some insightful speeches delivered by three very successful and talented women: Wendy Palmer - Head of Finance at Lloyds, Caroline Richardson - Finance Director at Deutsche Bank and Claire Hafner – CFO at Vocalink.
The event was led by Hayley Downing who is the Associate Director on Investigo’s Banking and Financial Services division, as well as being the Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the organisation. Hayley is heavily involved internally driving Investigo’s diversity strategy but also externally advising our clients across the City. She is hugely passionate about diversity and it was for this reason she wanted to organise the event. Hayley wanted to give women of all levels the opportunity to network, share ideas and hear other successful and experienced ladies talk about their own careers and the challenges they have faced as well as overcome.
Diversity and Inclusion has grown in importance across the City in recent years. It is something that has developed from a buzz word (or phrase) to something that has become important to the fabric of many organisations. We at Investigo are hugely passionate about promoting the benefits of Diversity across organisation and feel privileged to be in a position to highlight those benefits at all stages of the recruitment process. We are very proud to say our commitment to Equality is borne out of the fact that 45% of our own personnel are female, a ratio that is virtually unheard of amongst specialist recruitment agencies in the city.
Wendy, Caroline and Claire travelled very different paths on their career journey’s of climbing the corporate ladder, but they all have one constant in common - each cultivated their own success.
On the evening, they delivered some very insightful speeches. They took us through their career journey’s, spoke about their professional lives, the challenges they’ve encountered along the way and the steps women should take into consideration in order to thrive professionally, especially in industries considered to be ‘a man’s world’ such as Financial Services. Moreover, they emphasized the fact that encouraging women to progress up the corporate ladder within organisations is essential for success in the long term and this can be achieved by nurturing female talent.
Women are currently in high demand in almost all industries. Therefore, now is the best time for them to start developing qualities and competencies that will ensure their success and empowerment. Globally around half of the population is female, however the numerical equality of the population is still not yet reflected in the world of employment.
In 2011, Lord Davies challenged the top performing companies in the UK to recognise the benefits of gender equality in the boardroom and to take action to increase the number of women on British boards. Since the report was published, FTSE 100 companies have increased the number of women on their boards from 12.5% in 2011 to 20.7% today, with the FTSE 250 similarly improving from 7.8% to 15.6%. Within the FTSE 100, 98% of boards now include women, a considerable turnaround from 2011 when 1 in 5 boards were all male.
But, although we are seeing progress at a senior level, more needs to be done across middle management as this is where female talent drops off the corporate ladder. The number of women at a middle management level dramatically declines by 15%. This can be changed easily by implementing flexible working hours and networking support groups to allow women to have both a career and a family, also successful role models have a hugely important role to play in learning how to nurture female talent and develop the leaders of the future.
The event was a huge success and the feedback has been overwhelming. A few testimonials from those who attended the event:
‘Thank you for organising the event – the speakers were very inspiring and I definitely had some thoughts to take-away!’
‘I would like to thank you and congratulate you for the perfect inaugural Females in Financial Services event you organized. Truly I came back very inspired and ready to conquer the world. I would really appreciate if you could invite us to your next event which will be another super success.’
For those who were not able to attend the event, here are a few photos from the evening and details about the speakers:
Caroline Richardson ACA. Caroline is a true Finance professional with extensive experience working within the Investment Banking Industry. She has experience working in the UK and Asia, across product and financial control, as well as within the onshore and offshore locations. Caroline is well regarded in the market and passionate about leadership within her organisation.
Claire Hafner. Claire has been the Chief Financial Officer of VocaLink since August 2009, where she is responsible for all aspects of VocaLink’s financial management, including the Accounting, Commercial and Procurement functions. She has extensive experience working in complex and matrix organisations, but also has significant board experience both in the UK and internationally.
Wendy Palmer. Wendy is a Senior Commercial Director with multi-functional management experience across Operations, Finance, Sales and Marketing, Supply Chain, HR, IT and Administration within global organisations. Currently Head of Finance (Group IT Service Delivery), as well as having operated at Board level as a Director, Wendy has an extremely interesting career story to tell and is well regarded within the Financial Services sector.
Thank you all for coming and making it such a memorable evening!
We are planning to organise similar networking events in the near future. If you would be interested in attending please get in contact with Hayley Downing at Hayley.email@example.com.