Today we’re celebrating International Women’s Day by sharing the powerful stories of just some of the fabulous women working in financial services. Sharing her views with us here is Laura-Ann Martens, Head of Client Services at GrowthInvest, as she comments:
I strongly believe that support from senior-level teams or management plays a huge role in closing the gender-gap and promoting inclusivity in the industry. When I joined GrowthInvest as a graduate analyst, I was immediately made to feel that my opinion mattered, and I was encouraged to input and participate in client meetings very early on into the job.
I don’t want to distract from the fact that I still had to work hard and show the team that I was the best person for the job (no matter my gender) however because the senior team (which is made up of men) encouraged me to speak out, this created an environment where I felt empowered to ask questions and start making decisions because I knew I would be supported in whatever outcome. This has ultimately been the driver for me becoming a senior manager and leading my own team as Head of Client Services within 2.5 years of being at the business.
As a new manager, an important part of what I want to achieve is boosting gender diversity in the financial services industry, providing support infrastructure to women and minorities so they feel encouraged to take opportunities and become the leaders this industry so desperately needs.
Working in an SME I understand that reaching a level of seniority is a lot easier to achieve compared to being in a corporate where hierarchy plays a big part in climbing the corporate ladder, but having managers supporting and allowing me to express my opinions has led me to go out into the wider industry and openly speak out against traditional views at networking events and other industry gatherings, with the knowledge that if other women can see that these conversations are happening then they too can be encouraged to challenge the status quo.