I have worked in Wealth and Asset Management (WAM) since the beginning of my career, including consulting for registered investment advisors, trusts and wealth managers. As we see traditional shops quickly adapting to the fast-paced world of data and analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing and blockchain, it is certainly an exciting time to be part of this industry.
While building a career in WAM consulting, I constantly found myself surrounded by intelligent and hardworking individuals, taking pride in all things Type A. That being said, the perfect storm for imposter syndrome brews in competitive sectors that demand the absolute highest standard. In the early days of my career, I had a constant urge to be a perfect workaholic who never asked for help and always needed to know everything – yet everything was never enough. None of those qualities helped me feel secure in my path because I sometimes doubted my accomplishments (big or small) rather than celebrating them.
Now, as I traverse through my professional journey, I always take time to pat myself on the back and know the best way to recognize I am growing is through feeling uncomfortable. I understand that if it were always an easy straight-line, work would be boring. If I notice others feeling uncomfortable through their own professional growth journey, I strive to be a sounding board for them by having a strong inclusive agenda. I like to constantly drop a quick “thank you” to all the folks across my network and recognize their contributions regardless of the level.
At Capco, I am part of a cryptocurrency working group and find myself surrounded by encouraging and supportive peers. The gender disparity in my working group was quite evident with a 1-to-20 gender ratio. We decided to quickly change that by hosting lunch and learns about cryptocurrency and promptly recruited more women to our team - #womenwhocrypto #womenofcoinstreet #capcowomencrypto. Leaving those millennial hashtags aside – it is important for women to break the common stereotypes of risk aversion, being less assertive and a dislike for complex mathematical or analytical problems. I see women every single day breaking those stereotypes and watch women leaders in the industry solving these problems.
Elizabeth Stark, co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs, argues women are excellent communicators and their entry into the blockchain space will allow for a broader group to understand blockchain technology. Digital assets are new, it is important that women are involved from the early stages of development to fix the gender disparity and pave the way for new women to make the leap into the ever-evolving world of finance.
In the past couple of years, my mentors – who are strong female leaders in the industry – have encouraged me to practice my communication skills by pushing me to pitch proposals and host roundtables. Most recently, I developed a leadership pipeline for women in the firm by co-authoring papers on blockchain, speaking on STEM podcasts, and staying connected to a group called Graduate Women in Business or GWIB.
While working with GWIB, I was asked to give my single most important tidbit of advice to the group. My parting advice to them was to stop saying sorry, both in your language and your demeanour. Unsurprisingly, this hit home for a lot of the women listening that day. I had assumed it would, as I know every single day I make a conscious choice to replace the word sorry with the phrase thank you. I have worked hard over the years to stop apologizing when there is nothing to apologize for and instead created a space for myself where I can appreciate and incorporate feedback, thus leading by example. Beyonce and I have one thing in common – “we’re not sorry.”