What has your experience of moving to APAC and working with the corporate community there taught you about this industry?
It would be wrong to say it’s been without stress, but it’s been incredibly rewarding as well. I love the multi-cultural nature of Singapore and the broader APAC region, and I think the treasury community is a fantastic example of that. Each day I get to speak to people from all over the world who are building businesses, expanding the remit of regional treasury centres and, in some cases, acting as global leaders in driving innovation across treasuries. It’s definitely taught me a lot in the relatively short time I’ve been here.
How have you seen the conversation around female representation evolve and expand over the course of your career?
When I started my career, there wasn't really a genuine conversation about this that I can remember – or remember being involved with anyway. I think it's really in the last ten years or so that we've started to see far more engagement on the subject of female representation and inclusion and diversity more broadly.
I'm pretty lucky at State Street, as I've had the chance to be involved with a number of initiatives to bring the subject to a much wider audience, for example the work we do with Treasury Today and the Women in Treasury Global Study. I'm proud to work somewhere where we not only have the scale to affect change, but we actually do it. We're walking the walk.
There's always more we can be considering, and everyone has a part to play in that. I would always encourage people to speak up if they see something that doesn’t look right. Or, if something has always been done in a particular way, then to challenge those norms. One of the things that I've found really useful is to educate yourself on the issues and look at some of the data. Since Fearless Girl initiative started the number of companies in the Russell 3000 without a woman on their board has dropped from about 25% to just about 10%, and every company in the S&P500 now has at least one woman on their board.
Whether it's a lack of female representation or exclusionary behaviours and cultures, it's up to everyone to challenge that. You don't just rely on other people to make those changes it has to be a collective effort if we're actually going to see any material differences in the future.
What further changes do you hope to see in the future of the industry?
The nirvana state is that we get to a place where we aren't needing to have this conversation and we don't need to have events or panels specifically to further the conversation. That certainly seems to be the overarching theme when we've had these discussions.
Personally, I have two young daughters who, in 20 years' time, are going to be entering the workforce. I'd like to think that they wouldn't have to deal with some of the issues that females face today, like unequal pay, challenges around career progression, or male-dominated sectors.
I think the treasury community in Singapore especially, is actually a pretty unique example in that regard. Singapore especially has such a diverse mix of people, races and cultures, , as well as a very high proportion of female treasury professionals at all levels, so we need to try and make that diversity the norm across the workplace rather than the exception – and of course not just in treasury either.
Lastly, changes to working practices. They can be made quickly, we only have to look at COVID-19 to see that digital transformation can happen exceptionally rapidly when it's needed, but again, it takes a collective effort to make that change.