MS. VERVEER: Absolutely, and you did mention education and the fact that women are certainly in higher education exceeding all kinds of boundaries in graduate programs, and yet we don't see always, as you just said, the benefits of some of that in terms of breaking through and to some of the credible really challenging leadership jobs. What is the role of education in forging leadership? And how do you, so you've spent so much time overseeing the United States' education policies, now here in this state at the university level, what more should we be doing in terms of our education system to grow leadership, and particularly to grow women's leadership since we have such large numbers of women coming into the education sphere.
According to Veris Wealth Partners and Catalyst At Large, investment-advice firms, by last June $910m was invested with a gender-lens mandate across 22 publicly traded products, up from $100m and eight products in 2014. Private markets are hard to track, but according to Project Sage, which scans private-equity, venture and debt funds, $1.3bn had been raised by mid-2017 for investing with a gender lens.
While the past decades have seen a great advancement in the field of gender equality in the workplace, the title of James Brown’s classic song “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” still rings true when it comes to investment banking. Still, women have a lot to offer to the job and it seems that despite lagging behind other industries, Wall Street has finally started to realize it too.
Best Advice: “When I was younger finance sounded scary, but it really isn’t. You can have an interest in health care or technology and that translates into finance in some way. Consider your interest in one thing and see how it connects to finance. I was interested in technology and then saw how it connected to finance. That made it less scary. Fintech or financial technology is actually really exciting right now.”
Women approach risk differently than men do. Studies show that men are more inclined to behave like baseball sluggers, who swing for the fences, even if it means running the risk of striking out far more often. Women, by contrast, are more like contact hitters, who are satisfied with a string of singles. These tendencies show up in various forms. For example, a 2013 study by Fidelity Investments found that men were much more likely than women to hold 100% of their assets in stocks. Openfolio’s data show that portfolios owned by men are subject to far wider swings in value. The problem is that investors who strike out frequently because they’re always trying to smash home runs can undermine their results.
While women investors are on the rise, there is still a gap between the number of men and women are in the investments market. Make sure you’re choosing a firm that will support your financial goals and understand the unique challenges that women face in the industry. Also take a look at the companies that these firms and platforms invest in. Are any of them led by women? Do they support women? While it may not immediately affect the return you get, choosing a firm or platform with a pro-women mindset will help us gain financial equality in the long-run.
Says Bourke, “In the first part of 2014, we completed four oil and gas deals totaling $350 million. We found, even in the heart of the oil patch, traditionally known as a male dominated industry, it is more the exception than the rule that both the decision to sell as well as the selection of the most appropriate buyer was a joint decision involving a central female stakeholder. It makes business sense to direct deliberate attention to building an investment banking firm that leverages the talent and experience of the female workforce.”
Take on less risk. Women are more likely to have their savings allocated in a more age-based allocation of investments than their male counterparts. In fact, looking specifically at Fidelity retirement savings accounts over the last three years, the percentage of women allocated appropriately for their age has increased by approximately 40 percent. Furthermore, fewer women have their savings fully invested in equities than men (which could represent too much risk and not enough diversification); and women are more likely to invest in target date funds, ensuring they are well diversified.
First, you need to have a dream; second an idea of what your goal is and third, passion. Obviously having the skill set and working hard are important, but if you don’t have a dream and a goal, then don’t be surprised when you don’t get there. And if you don’t fill your dream with passion, then you can become disheartened about your career choice during the tough times. And there are always tough times in a cyclical business like finance.
Moreover, the evidence suggests that your team will be stronger if it consists of both men and women. A 2011 Harvard Business Review study discovered that single-gender teams were less effective at problem solving than mixed groups. The Barber-Odean study found that married men performed better than single men in the stock market and concluded that this was likely due to a spouse’s influence. “When you ask if men or women are the better investors, you’re asking the wrong question,” says Suzanne Duncan, global head of research at the State Street Center for Applied Research, a think tank sponsored by the big financial-services firm. “We are better together. Men and women should have an equal voice in the investment process.”
MS. VERVEER: One of the other things I've been in this learning experience about the region, the area, the state, and I understand the disparities between economic mobility, economic and equality, not peculiar here by any stretch but obviously significantly disparities, and maybe you can explain why. But we deal with that across the country, we deal with it all over the world. And we're here really focusing on entrepreneurship, and Bank of America has been a leader in enabling women to grow their entrepreneurial skills because we know what that can do to grow economies and provide the kind of wind at the back of economies.
MS. ALYSE NELSON: Well hello everyone, I'm Elise Nelson. I'm President and CEO of Vital Voices. Let me just first say how exciting it is to be here at the mothership of Bank of America. I heard it actually called that. Vital Voices, as you know, launched in partnership with Bank of America this really innovative partnership five years ago. So, it's quite special to be back here and to see so many people in this room who were really part of making it happen and looking at Zoe and Susan and of course Pam Seagle, and so many others who just made this a reality.
Partly because of this dynamic, she said there's often a career premium for women who are young and beautiful. "You get a lot of beautiful young women in banking who find themselves replaced by a new generation as they get older. - I've seen older women being made to hand their accounts to 22 year-olds. They complain, but they were in that position once - they were the 22 year-old who took another woman's clients. Women don't help each other."
MS. SMITH: No, thank you. And thank you to this panel, thank you to all of you. Thank you to all of our panelists and our amazing speakers. I'm inspired. I'm inspired by everyone, and I wrote down a few things. I mean hammocks, the 5,000 Lowe's hammocks, or the bank in Ethiopia, the small loan is 1.8 million. I mean I think we've got some things we can learn here. I mean the dinner kit to the, sold already and now online catering. I mean the stories are amazing. So, Alyse, thank you for the partnership for the last five years, and thank you to all of our mentees and mentors for being here. we're so excited to be able to do the program in the United States, in our corporate headquarters, which is fantastic. And as Margaret reminded me I'm the only thing standing between all of you and the reception. So, my last comment though is please come to the reception because our mentees will have wears from their businesses, and they'll be able to talk to you about all of the things that they're doing. So--