At Our Women's Event, We Leaned In Together. And It Was Fantastic.

By Beth Hayden, SVP, People & Development

Last week, Backstop hosted a women-only event titled, “Women Supporting Women in Financial Services: Let’s Lean in Together.” It was a HUGE success. Attendees and speakers alike found it to be an invaluable platform that enabled us to learn from each other’s experiences, share strategies, and offer support.

We were fortunate to welcome Holly Miller, Senior Managing Director of Operations Strategy at Nuveen, as our keynote speaker. Holly offered many insightful – and at times even surprising – points of view. 

IMG_5133_sm.jpgHolly Miller of Nuveen delivering her inspirational keynote.

She started off by talking about how men in the workplace have changed over the last 30 years. Men are sharing recipes now. There is an increased level of respect and equality. And when the men return home, they don’t expect their adoring wives to only want to talk about their day at the office.

Holly also shared her secrets for advancing in the workplace. They included:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Learn to play golf. (Holly feels that not doing so held her back.)
  • Collect experiences by doing new things
  • Don’t get hung up on titles, offices, etc. Your paycheck is your validation.

IMG_5219_sm.jpgOur women's panel consisted of (from left to right): Maryling Yu (moderator), Dina Weiss (CIO of Lighthouse Institute), Molly Louthan (Workforce strategist at Upwork), Kathleen Kartje (NA Head of Large Clients, Willis Towers Watson), and Alison Stanton (Chief Problem Solver, Stanton Ventures).

We also had a women's panel comprising women in very different roles, with different levels of seniority, and very different views on just how far women have come. The women's panel included Kathleen Kartje, NA Head of Large Clients at Willis Towers Watson, Molly Louthan, workforce strategist at Upwork, Alison Stanton, Chief Problem Solver at Stanton Ventures, and Dina Weiss, CIO at the Lighthouse Institute.  Some felt the glass ceiling had been broken. Others disagreed - vehemently. We discussed these other topics as well:

  • Mentorship and sponsorship are different: A mentor gives you advice. A sponsor is your advocate when you’re not in the room.
  • Handling sexual harassment from clients:  Always report it to your manager. It is inappropriate and should not be tolerated.
  • Dealing with pay equity – or lack thereof.
  • How to avoid being stuck with notetaking and other menial tasks: If you’re the only woman in the room, ask, “Who is taking notes today?”
  • How to manage crying at work: It’s just water, literally.
  • Finding a “safe” place: Ask friends and colleagues for feedback on which employers are respectful and inclusive of women.
  • Be yourself! Trying to do otherwise will tear you up inside.
  • Conveying both competence and likeability is a challenge – and women and men are viewed differently in both areas.
  • Work/life integration is easier now: Work-from-home and dial-in options are relatively new, but pervasive. Take advantage and be present. 
Finally, today is March 8, International Women’s Day. At Backstop, it’s a day we take very seriously. This year, we’re openly celebrating by enabling any woman who wants to participate in a march or other related activity to take the day off with the full support of management.

If you weren’t able to join us for our Women's event, we hope to see you next year. And finally, Happy International Women’s Day – let’s keep leaning in!

zFinal_BSG_Women_2017.jpgThe women of Backstop wish you a happy International Women's Day!




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