The data from the Women in Treasury Annual Global Study 2018 had been so freshly written up that the report was not yet printed, so this group was lucky enough to exclusively hear the result highlights and to share what the findings mean to them in real terms as treasury professionals.
Gunjan Chauhan, Head of APAC and EMEA Cash Business at State Street Global Advisors, opened the evening, welcoming everyone and briefly outlining the reasons behind State Street Global Advisors’ commitment to gender equality, diversity and inclusion, epitomised by the Fearless Girl. Attendees watched a brief video showcasing the unveiling of Fearless Girl and the fantastic work that State Street Global Advisors has been doing to lobby companies to increase their gender representation at board level. It was fantastic to bring the Fearless Girl and her story to Switzerland for the evening and to spread the message of power and progress that she represents.
Will Goldthwait, Vice President, Portfolio Strategist from the Boston office of State Street Global Advisors was also present in Geneva. After introducing himself, Will stressed the importance of the global dialogue around diversity and inclusion as critical in understanding the barriers that remain and measures needed to effect change. It was then over to Meg Coates, Joint Publisher & Head of Operations at the Treasury Today Group, to present a summary of the main takeaways from the Women in Treasury Annual Global Study 2018 results.
To bring insights from the experiences and opinions of a seasoned corporate treasury professional, Séverine Le Blévennec, Director of Treasury EMEA at Honeywell, was the expert guest speaker for the evening and was interviewed in a scintillating fireside chat by Sophie Jackson, Joint Publisher & Head of Strategic Content at the Treasury Today Group. Séverine’s experiences over the course of her successful career were invaluable and she drew on her own personal insights in a frank and open conversation.
Amongst the wide ranging topics for discussion were some of the key highlights from the 2018 Study results. One of the areas that was assessed by our guests was this year’s respondents’ thoughts on the topic of mentoring, sponsorship and coaching. As with previous years’ responses, there was overwhelming support for these activities, with 79% of our respondents believing they were key to career advancement. Séverine shared her personal experiences of two particularly stand-out managers over the course of her career encouraging her along the way. Her current boss, Marie-Astrid Dubois of Honeywell, had been a particularly strong influence in Séverine’s decision to move to Honeywell and the support and inspiration that her boss had offered her rang true amongst our guests.
Beyond individuals, there was also talk of how learning and defining our roles for ourselves as we shift our focus and seek to grow, can be critical in career progression. Séverine’s appetite for learning and for thinking outside of the box when assessing where she might seek to augment her knowledge base has certainly made her a sought-after asset in the companies she has worked for.
Mobility and moving location as an efficient way to boost a career was also mentioned by many of the Women in Treasury Annual Global Study respondents. Although Séverine had been offered a strategic move to Detroit as part of a previous role, she shared her experiences in declining such opportunities. There is a lot more to consider than our own career advancement when planning a big move, particularly for those professionals with families and other responsibilities. Her prudent approach offered a balance to the usual rhetoric around ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’ and a more risk-taking attitude towards one’s professional development.
On a more practical and implementable level, our participants discussed statistics around parity, including the disheartening fact that 39% of our 2018 respondents felt that they were not paid the same as their male counterparts at the same level of seniority. Attendees shared their own experiences of negotiating their salaries and pushing for promotions and pay rises. It was encouraging to see a collective support emerge around the topic of negotiating within our attendees’ organisations as we moved from this disappointing piece of data to more galvanising action for us all.
The Women in Treasury Annual Global Study 2019, proudly supported by State Street Global Advisors, opens in March and the results will be released in September. To learn more please contact Lisa Bigley, Global Head of Events – firstname.lastname@example.org