Unlocking the potential
2013 will be remembered as a year when women in financial services received strong recognition for leading a change in this industry.
Several institutions have celebrated the achievements of remarkable women, who do amazing work in this sector. Strong voices addressed the need to increase the number of women in leadership roles. Despite making up more than half the workforce in financial institutions, women continue to dramatically lag behind their male counterparts in leadership roles.
I have spent more than two decades in the financial services industry and believe that women are critical to the future of financial planning and wealth management. The need for investment advice is growing and it’s expected that financial services businesses will enhance recruitment to meet demand in 2014. This is a great opportunity for women to strengthen their roles and commitment to the industry.
We are in a relationship business, so it should come as no surprise that women do succeed at all levels of the financial services industry.
I have some ideas that have worked for me in the past, which I would like to share:
• Know your strengths and maximise opportunities. My strengths are in the product innovation and education space where I am committed to mentoring women in financial services to continue raising professional education standards in the financial advice industry.
• Have solid understanding of industry and the changing environment you work in. Keep up to date with education such as changes in legislation and emerging trends as that will have an impact on the clients you work with.
• Be passionate about what you do. If you don’t like what you do – look for an alternative position. You cannot stay on top of your game if you don’t have a passion or belief in what you are selling.
• Build advocacy where you can and approach every new relationship as if they could be a future advocate.
• Approach every challenge as an opportunity and be adaptable to change
• Don’t be afraid to show who are. Express your personality and stay true to your values. Honesty and integrity are my personal brand. My clients deal with me as I have always stayed true to these core values.
• Have a mentor (does not have to be in your own industry) but someone who is successful in their chosen field and whom you can learn from.
• Never stop learning or thinking that you know it all – I constantly learn on the job every day
• Approach everybody as an equal – “nobody is any better or any worse than you”
• Remember it is okay to walk away from a deal if you feel you or the organisation you work for will be compromised in any way.
And finally I heard Sheila Murray Bethel speak some years ago and a quote from her of her which I always keep in mind “One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe and where you want to go” – if I can add also “be proud of what you do”.
About Carolan Ibbotson
Carolan Ibbotson is senior business development manager at the Endowment Bond Exchange. Alongside her membership of the Association of Financial Advisers and the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia, Ibbotson is an active member of the Financial Planning Association, recently joining the Western Sydney Sub Chapter Committee as a mentor and coach. She has nearly two decades experience in the financial services industry in roles in developing and distributing structured products, retirement planning, small business consulting, financial planning, practice development and superannuation. She was most recently ING DIRECT’s national business development manager.
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