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International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day we asked our members what it means to them to be a leader, especially within the financial services industry. Below are their responses. Read related forum post.

“The retention, advancement and empowerment of our female talent is fundamental to the sustainability of our industry.”

Tracy Burton, Client Service Manager, Coronation
Pamela Clancy quote for International Women's Day


“Being a leader means bringing your best self to work every day, being confident in your capabilities; it means knowing your worth and making sure you lift up those around you.”

Pamela Clancy, Head of US Consultant Relations, QMA

“Only a tiny minority of the world’s investable capital is run by women; but the importance of allocating capital sustainably to address the world’s challenges – climate, natural capital, diversity, sustainable development and other global challenges – has never been greater. My strong belief is that diverse teams will unquestionably do a better job of allocating capital more sustainably and this has been my personal career mission.”

Deirdre Cooper, Co-Head of Thematic Equity, Ninety One

“Leadership is a privilege; having the opportunity to know, grow, inspire and reward talented individuals and teams, is exceptionally rewarding. Within financial services, especially asset management, helping these individuals build better financial futures for our clients, engenders a powerful sense of purpose.”

Alva Devoy, Managing Director – Australia , Fidelity International

“Today, we should reflect not only on the achievement of women, but also acknowledge the continued struggle for equality for everyone in society. The intractable problems of our world – racial inequality, widening economic disparity, and climate change – need diverse thinking and teams to solve them. As a woman, a CEO, and a citizen of the world, I am committed to championing more diversity and inclusion in the investment management profession.”

Marg Franklin, President and CEO of CFA Institute, CFA

“Leadership can take many forms. Increasingly the “command and control” models of the past are giving way to “inspire and empower” approaches. Far from being a “weaker” form of management, leadership that is grounded in a respect for individuals can be incredibly powerful.

Financial intermediation can and should be a force for good in our communities, and increasingly leaders in financial services can demonstrate that value to our team members, our customers, and the broader community.”

Kate Howitt, Portfolio Manager – Fidelity Australian Opportunities Fund, Fidelity International
Melanie M. Meharchand quote for International Women's Day

“As a communicator in the financial services field, my role is often to make complex information more accessible to others. It’s an honor to help others understand and make better decisions for themselves and their employers.”

Melanie M. Meharchand, Global Social Media Lead, Willis Towers Watson

“Being a leader is about giving other people a purpose that helps them excel.”

Luba Nikulina, Global Head of Research, Willis Towers Watson

“Being a leader in financial services means cutting through established norms and asking open and challenging questions to find sustainable solutions. It means encouraging all around you to probe and rethink assumptions, seeking diversity of perspective and judgement. It means bringing outsiders in and refusing to settle for the old adage: ‘but that’s how it’s always been done’. It’s a spirit of collaborative challenge that really produces the right environment for investors and clients alike to thrive. A diverse working environment is one that is most likely to seek innovative and sustainable pathways that build a brighter future.”

Stephanie Niven, Portfolio Manager, Ninety One

“Being a leader confers a great privilege on you, as well as considerable responsibility. The privilege comes from the opportunity to shape and transform organisations to achieve commercial and cultural success. I have been very lucky to have worked in great financial services firms which embraced change. I am particularly proud to champion gender diversity and equality throughout my career, which has helped to drive far stronger representation across all levels.”

Harriet Steel, Head of Business Development, International at Federated Hermes

“I believe leadership is stewardship of a sphere of influence that includes yourself, people you are in direct contact with and then those they interact with. Specific to financial services, this influence ultimately can and should help people meet their objectives that include the ability to retire with dignity and generosity.”

Cindy Thompson, Senior Vice President, Capital Group

Related content

Culture, leadership and diversity hub
Diversity means embracing whole identity
Creating a safe zone for team decisions
Running more inclusive meetings
Diversity and inclusion in the investment industry – podcast
The different leadership types and their role – podcast
Culture in the investment industry – video
Diversity in the investment industry – video