I have always been fascinated by how much you get from attending networking events. I believe that stepping out of your comfort zone and choosing to spend your time meeting new people, listening to new perspectives and different stories brings a fresh outlook in your own life. Personally, I go home energised and inspired, sometimes I might even find a solution to the problem I was facing at the moment and other times I make a great connection which would transform into a powerful and lifetime friendship.
This is why I haven’t hesitated a bit when I was offered the opportunity to attend the ICMA Women’s Network – Gender Lens Investing autumn event in London, hosted by White Case. the speakers were: Anne Tolmunen (Fund Manager of AXA WF Framlington Women Empowerment), Julia Rees (Vice President, Goldman Sachs Asset Management) and Amy Clarke (Co-Founder & Chief Impact Officer, TRIBE).
These three talented women from asset management and investment industry shared their thoughts on how the diversity agenda is impacting investment strategy and business practices. They addressed how altering investor behaviour has the potential to affect meaningful change in the financial markets and discussed how this can drive forward diversity and inclusion in the economy.
The talk was very much supported by statistical data which was quite impressive, and everything led to the same conclusion: having a gender balance at work brings to the best results possible.
Significant progress has been made in the last couple of years but there is still so much more to do about this situation. The push must come from the government in the first place so that other corporations feel more encouraged to follow this new wave of transformation as mentioned during the event. For example, India is the first developing country where the revised Companies Act states that is mandatory for all listed companies and other large public limited firms to appoint at least one woman director to their boards.
What was also impressive is that in a study led by Goldman Sachs, it was found out that best deals were made by women as they are natural net-workers and that there is no conservatorism bias for women who invest professionally on behalf of their clients.
Having said all of this, it is worth mentioning as well that it is good to strive for gender balance and promote diversity and inclusion although we must be careful about the subtle line of: am I employing a woman because she really adds value, she is comfortable navigating complexity and has great potential or is it just because I need to tick a box for showing statistical data on equality matter.
Finally, I want to encourage all of you to look out for networking opportunities to constantly get fresh outlooks like this. The interaction with the new might create true magic in your own perspectives and in your circle of friends!
Cristina Marcu, BSc Finance and Investment Banking student