#IWD2022: Michelle Hoskin doesn’t hold back as she tells IFA Magazine, “we need to lose the ego in financial services”

by | Mar 8, 2022

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“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” – Hillary Clinton.

As part of our celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, Sue Whitbread has been talking to Michelle Hoskin of Standards International, known to many as ‘little Miss Woww’, who celebrates her birthday today too! Here Michelle offers sound, practical tips based on her vast experience of working as a female in a leadership role within UK financial services for the past 25 years, and why, for her, diversity of thinking is key to success

SW: Have you seen the environment change for women in finance since you first started out in your career? If so, how?

MH: Yes, I absolutely have. The roles that are on offer in financial services provide some of the best opportunities for women – regardless of their situation, responsibilities, background, ambitions – to truly thrive. It is an empowering profession at the level of the role, and it serves to give that flexibility to use the skills, abilities, and attributes of women to help the sector grow by being able to support those that we serve. There are challenges, obviously, in the current view and the make up of the sector being very male dominated but that tide is turning.

SW: Would you encourage young women to seek a career in financial services?  If so, do you have any tips for success?

MH: Yes, I would absolutely encourage young women to seek a career in financial services for all the reasons I have just said. My tips for success would be…

  1. Be confident
  2. Know your worth
  3. Never be afraid to speak out
  4. Follow your dreams and ambitions
  5. Be yourself

Never try to fit it – or blend in – and be accepted. Be uniquely yourself and you will thrive.

SW: How important is diversity and inclusion in your experience? What benefits do you believe that getting this right brings to a business?

MH: Within our business at Standards International, it’s very interesting that I’ve never chosen or restricted anybody, in any way, in working with us. We accommodate and support all abilities and all contributions – regardless of who is bringing that contribution. As an international business, we have clients and team members from across the world and we thrive on diversity.

The biggest area of diversity for me, which I embrace fully, is diversity of thinking. We need diversity of mind – which comes from having individuals of all backgrounds and abilities – and we love when we get those people around the table when the thinking, brainstorming, and power is unleashed for what we are trying to achieve. The truth is the financial advice sector will not progress if it doesn’t embrace diversity and inclusion. The limitedness of our approach to D&I has got us to here, and that same thinking and pattern of behaviours will not get us where the profession needs to be in order to truly thrive globally.

SW: How can we ensure that more women are attracted to – and stick with – careers in financial services?

MH:  To me this one is quite simple, we need to lose the ego in financial services.

I spoke at an event recently where it was 90% men, 90% blue suits, and tiny pockets of women in the audience. What I observed in the room was, in the main, the women were trying to be like the men – very alpha, bold, and brash. Women really need to hold their own and be unique.

It was interesting because I turned up to this event wearing my black and white Dr Martens, a matching top, black leggings, and my skinhead! In my view we need to lose the ego in financial services and our preconceived views of what it should be, what people should be like, how women should behave. The sooner we embrace women fully, and the superpowers they have, the quicker this industry will be turned into a profession because we’ve still got a very long way to go.

All the team at IFA Magazine wish you a very happy birthday today Michelle!

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