About a year ago I realized I hit an artery. This was just when the #MeToo movement was in full chatter and so many organizations were outing men who acted dishonorably. I was sitting right in the center of this and wondering, “Do I press on with Females and Finance?”
You see – what I didn’t want to happen was for my vision of women working in financial services and financial technology to be swept up in the sexual harassment claims and confusion. (And let me say one thing about this… many people – men AND women – really have no idea what #MeToo is about so please educate yourself and watch this TEDWomen talk with Tarana Burke before you say you do. At least be knowledgeable in what her movement encapsulates.)
What I wanted to do was change our community to Recruit – Train – Advance – Retain more women working in financial services and financial technology. I wanted to bring more feminine energy to our community and make a difference in how we presented financial freedom and security and planning and products to individuals, families, and businesses across the United States.
“I am not here to change financial services. I am doing my part to improve it.” – Sheryl Brown
What does Recruit mean?
For years I have been asking different organizations, “Do you work with women?” and of course I’ve never once heard, “NO!” However – what does that really mean? Putting the ask out to women to join our community is great – but it’s simply not enough.
- For those in recruiting roles – Do you make appointments with as many women as you do men to present the financial service career offer? If not, why?
What does Train mean?
As I have been working on my upcoming book, Females and Finance: An Expose’ of 365 Women Working in Financial Services, the research overwhelming has returned to me that women actively seek training opportunities through designation work and continuing education. Interestingly, successful women in financial services have proactively gone after these opportunities with many of them saying the training was never a reactive decision to make. Many times – the training wasn’t even offered to them.
- For those in managing roles – Do you offer training opportunities to every single person in your organization? When you see sign-ups for training events do you see far more men accepting those opportunities than women? If so, why?
What does Advance mean?
Steve Harvey wrote a book called “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” and when it came it out – I somewhat supported some of his writing about thinking differently on certain topics. However, when it comes to relationships (not the romantic kind) we can’t just be “more like a guy.” In fact, research has shown we can network like men but in the end – women need other women lifting them up to get to leadership roles. Why is that?
Do you have someone at the decision-making table advocating on your behalf? Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley says it all in this TEDWomen talk. If you want to advance in your career, it is our responsibility as women to have someone there to advocate for you if you can’t be there yourself. And for those men out there who make the decisions – are you advocating equally for men and women?
- For those in human resources roles – Do you advance women like you do men? Do you see far more men moving up in organizations than the women? If so, why?
What does Retain mean?
We legitimately suck at retaining women in our community. I hear things like, “She stayed home to be with her kids.” Or, “She wanted more flexible hours and we couldn’t provide that.” Women are often shamed for being caretakers. We overwhelmingly are not only providing care for children – but adult parents, too.
What about the insane numbers of admin assistants who never get a shot at moving past their clerical role? I see people making posts on LinkedIn all the time, “We are growing -Come Join Us!” and yet when I look at their website – they have four, seven, and even more administrative staff members (mostly female) who when I call the original LinkedIn poster and ask them about moving her into a new role they say, “She likes what she does” or “She likes her consistent paycheck.”
Women will then leave their roles in financial services to take on some other role where there are advancement opportunities and thus – it affects our retention rates. Simply because an office couldn’t or wouldn’t be innovative in hours or paycheck changes.
- For those wanting to grow organizations – Can your organization be more flexible? Do you offer work from home opportunities? Do you have the ability to move a paycheck employee to a partial paycheck with some commission/fee work?
Be A Person Of Action: So I have an ask – one big ask – of everyone in financial services. You simply can click this tweetable and send it out. Let everyone know you support female leadership: