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Director of human resources
For Lynne Brejak, a job in the financial services sector was love at first sight.
“It’s very high-energy and intense, but it’s a very relationship based industry, so that’s very appealing,” she says. “There are a lot of very smart people running it. From an HR perspective, there is no time for a lot of process and policy that doesn’t add value. But because it’s all relationship-based, especially on the leadership teams, there’s a good level of emotional intelligence and humour.”
After being in the industry for 15 years, she’s managed to succeed thanks to developing a strong understanding of what advisors and management require.
“Whatever we do in HR has to matter to the people that need us,” she says. “So it’s always trying to understand what they want versus what an HR rule is. I have a really strong view of how everything we do impacts those people at the end, so let’s be smart about our choices. Let’s not add undue burden to them without understanding the impact.”
Are you seeing any improvements in gender diversity in the industry?
I am. There’s always work to be done, but this is definitely an industry where you have to earn your way, so in some ways it’s gender agnostic. The industry has evolved so much. One of the criticisms is that there probably aren’t a lot of female managers in this industry, but more female advisors would mean more female managers – and we are always looking to hire strong female advisors. I’m definitely seeing the trend in a positive direction.
What advice would you give the next generation of female advisors?
How everybody gets there is different, and there’s so much competing advice for women out there. My only thought is: Be true to yourself. If it’s important for you to be more aggressive in advancing your career, get the support you need at home or other areas and do it. If what matters to you is that you have balance, then that’s what you should be seeking. You’ve got to be true to yourself and to grow in the way that matters to you.
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