Third annual ‘Women Leaders in Financial Infrastructure’ event takes place in Amsterdam

By: The WFE Focus Team Oct 2018

Organised by Ms Diana Chan (former Chief Executive Officer, EuroCCP), the annual event “Women Leaders in Financial Infrastructure” aims to help female talent in the financial infrastructure to reach their career goals and fulfil their full potential. For the third time, female leaders came together, this time in Amsterdam, to share their experiences with aspiring future leaders of the industry.

Thirteen current and former senior executives participated in two panel discussions and answered both personal and professional questions from the female-only audience in the Q&A sessions that followed. To provide a safe environment to also ask sensitive questions and provide truthful answers, the entire event was held under the Chatham House Rule. The keynote speech was delivered by Ms Verena Ross (Executive Director, ESMA), who also participated in the first panel. Ms Ross was joined on the panel by Ms Marie Chinnici-Everitt (Chief Marketing Officer, DTCC), Ms Bente Landesnes (President & Chief Executive Officer, Oslo Børs) and Ms Nandini Sukumar (Chief Executive Officer, WFE).

The first panel focused on the amount of effort women invest at work in order to receive the same professional recognition as their male colleagues. The panellists spoke about finding the right work–life balance, the importance of communication within teams to maximise project results, and the significance of taking risks.

The panellists also noted that self-promotion was vital for professional success. They agreed that women tend to promote their work differently to men and often struggle to take credit for their own achievements.

WFE Chief Executive Officer, Nandini Sukumar said: “In order to succeed, women have to take risks and voice their opinions confidently. In a sector that is still male dominated, is important that women speak up for themselves and demand the recognition they deserve.”

The second panel, moderated by Ms Becky Pritchard (People Editor, Financial News), provided advice on how to overcome obstacles in one’s career and how to deal with disappointment. Panellists included Ms Veronica Augustsson (former Chief Executive Officer, Cinnober Group), Ms Diane Côté (Group Chief Risk Officer, LSE Group), Ms Saskia Devolder (Head of Western and Central Europe, SWIFT), Ms Chinwe Odimba-Chapman (Partner, Employment Group, Clifford Chance), and Ms Tanya Pieters-Gorissen (Head of Asset Management Supervision, AFME).

The speakers highlighted that set-backs should be seen as developmental opportunities and chances to improve. They noted that a trust-relationship with team members can help to deal with failures, create an environment in which to strive, and take risks without the fear of failure.

The senior executives also highlighted the importance of mentors and sponsors for overcoming obstacles in the course of one’s career. They emphasised that a diverse network can provide more nuanced solutions to problems.

Closing the panel sessions, Ms Chan thanked the senior executives for participating and added that she hoped that every woman in the room had received at least one helpful piece of advice. The event was followed by an evening of networking.

Photography: Rebke Klokke/Clifford Chance