Countdown to the Women in Finance Awards 2019!
I’m so excited to be a part of the first Women in Finance awards in Asia. As someone who’s made a career placing stellar candidates — half of whom are women — in the fin-tech industry, this event means so much to me.
Growing up in rural England, I didn’t have a blueprint for what a professional woman should do to become successful. But my parents, especially my mother, raised my sister and me to believe that the world was anything we wanted it to be, so we shouldn’t limit ourselves to staying in one place.
My degree equipped me to work in the European parliament as a civil servant but the thought of that career was incredibly boring. I knew I wanted to get out. Fortunately, I spotted a newspaper ad promoting for a sales role with an FX consultancy finance job in London that would eventually relocate me to either Hong Kong or New York City.
That opportunity brought me to Hong Kong, and I fell in love with the city. There’s an energy here of possibilities and growth that I didn’t find anywhere else.
But rising through the ranks in the finance industry as a female, I had to develop a thick skin…I knew I needed to further my education so enrolled for the Kellogg HKUST Executive MBA program. This qualification and the network of global professionals it introduced me to, gave me the self-confidence and courage to start my own boutique recruiting company, Pathfinder Talent Solutions.
A few years ago, my company hosted a workshop catering to women in their 20s and 30s entering the workforce in finance. I was surprised to find that more than half of the women who attended were women in their 40s who said that no one ever gave them career advice or guidance, and they wanted to learn from other women’s experiences. It was an eye-opening experience for me.
Another realization I came to was that we have to spend more time coaching women to go outside of their comfort zones and go for those challenging roles. Women — especially Asian women — tend to undervalue themselves, and I believe that’s why they don’t go for the senior roles in predominantly male industries like finance. But every business needs to have a balance of men and women to get the full 360 perspective.
While Pathfinder isn’t just about helping women find jobs, more than half of our placements in fintech are women, which is absolutely against industry expectations. That’s why it’s so important to have events like Women in Finance awards to recognize female talent so that one day, Pathfinder’s placements aren’t the exception, but the norm.