Practical analysis for investment professionals
08 June 2015

Women in Investment Management Wrap-Up: Risk-Taking, Networks, and Success

On 18–19 September, CFA Institute will host Alpha and Gender Diversity 2017 in Toronto, the latest in its series of Women in Investment Management events. Attendees will have opportunities to discuss gender diversity, foster professional development, and meet their peers from other regions in North America.

CFA Institute hosted its inaugural Women in Investment Management Conference in San Antonio, Texas. And while that may seem somewhat unremarkable in this day and age, consider that the organization was founded in 1947. As Paul Smith, CFA, president and chief executive, put it: “It’s about time!”

Over the course of the day-long event, delegates had an opportunity to learn about the business case for diversity as well as the importance of personal branding, building networks, identifying sponsors and mentors, serving on boards, taking risks, and raising one’s visibility.

In her closing remarks, Barbara Roberts, entrepreneur in residence at the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School, and chair of Tiger21, summed up her top 10 take-aways as follows:

  1. Identify three adjectives that describe who you are and create a brand. Define your unique purpose on this planet. Ask yourself: What wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t here?
  2. Take action! Have three goals for the year, the month, the week, the day. Think about a “term sheet” for your life. Write your dream obituary. (And then take stock and see where you are and what dreams you still want to pursue.)
  3. Learn to ask, brag, and promote. Take a negotiation course.
  4. Network! You need a web of relationships.
  5. Identify advisors and sponsors. Here the word “advisor” refers to a comment made earlier in the day regarding “creating your own advisory board” of senior people in the industry (or if you’re at the senior level, ask yourself if you could be an advisor for someone younger). Sponsors refers to those in your company who will be in the room when decisions about promotions and raises are being decided (i.e., and you’re not in the room).
  6. Learn to listen. Listening is a way to move your career forward.
  7. Pay attention to luck and what is being sent your way.
  8. Manage your energy: meditation, yoga, and sleep.
  9. Share what your heard at the conference.
  10. Remember, we (women) raise the girls. Make them comfortable with science and math.

For more highlights from the event, see below.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Photo credit: W. Scott Mitchell

About the Author(s)
Lauren Foster

Lauren Foster was a content director on the professional learning team at CFA Institute and host of the Take 15 Podcast. She is the former managing editor of Enterprising Investor and co-lead of CFA Institute’s Women in Investment Management initiative. Lauren spent nearly a decade on staff at the Financial Times as a reporter and editor based in the New York bureau, followed by freelance writing for Barron’s and the FT. Lauren holds a BA in political science from the University of Cape Town, and an MS in journalism from Columbia University.

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