Late last month the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) released its list of the 100 Most Powerful Women occupying leadership roles in Canada. Amongst the winners were a number of individuals working in financial services.
While it’s very good news for the financial services sector in Canada, it by no means suggests that women should take their foot of the gas pedal because when it comes to networking, they’re still not maximizing their efforts to reach out to other professionals.
“Women networking opportunities and women supporting women, generally, continues to be a barrier,” Hall of Fame winner Judy Goldring, AGF’s chief operating officer, commented in November on the work that still needs to be done.
So, what exactly is missing from the equation that prevents women from taking that next step on the way up the corporate latter?
WP reached out to Jennifer Reynolds, CEO of Women in Capital Markets (WCM) and also a WXN 2015 winner, for her thoughts on what can be done to improve this situation.
“In the past there was a feeling that if one women made it to the C-Suite that the job was done, there really was only one seat for a woman. Today this is changing and there is a growing recognition of the value women bring to corporate leadership,” Reynolds told WP. “Women can have a big impact individually and collectively supporting their female colleagues and introducing them to opportunities. It is incumbent upon us all to ensure we are supporting and advancing women in our network.”
It’s not enough to applaud the success of women who’ve risen to senior leadership positions, Reynolds reckons, but for women to understand how those leaders got there, and then to do what is best for them personally to achieve success in their careers.
And of course, everyone’s definition of success is different.
“Recognizing women who have had success in their career is an important way of not only profiling those women but also providing role models for other women who aspire to leadership roles,” said Reynolds. “Seeing greater numbers of women achieve success and recognition in the corporate world is important because it breaks down biases around what a leader ‘looks like’.”
In the end it’s a two-way street for women in business.
“It is important for organizations like WCM and WXN to create opportunities for women to raise their profile and for those women to give back to other women in their network,” said Reynolds.