David Day, Managing Director and Head of North Asia of the Data & Analytics division of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), shares with WiFA his motivations to be a male ally, his mentorship experience, his 2021 mantra, and much more.

What motivates you to be an ally in the financial services industry?

I started my career in finance as an investment banking summer intern with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a non-profit organization focused on underserved and under-represented communities.  The mission of SEO is to create a more equitable society by leveling the playing field through the development of talent from different parts of society.

One of SEO’s core principles is “it’s not about you; it’s about those who came before you, and those who will come after you.”  This lesson resonated with me because each of us is a product of our communities and experiences.  My life has benefited from my family and friends who have supported and guided me through my personal and professional development.

Serving as an ally in the financial services industry is an important way to give back.  LSEG is proud to host a range of professional affinity networks with executive sponsorship by our most senior leaders.  Diversity and inclusion are critical to LSEG’s success.  Partnering with WiFA is a natural extension of our commitment.

Mentors play an important role in the development of the careers of women. Have you or are you mentoring a woman in finance? Please tell us about your experience.

LSEG, through our combination with Refinitiv, is proud to be a sponsor of WiFA.  Through the past year, it has been an honor for me to learn more about the organization and to observe first-hand the positive impact WiFA has on the financial services industry in Hong Kong.

Earlier this year, I was accepted into the WiFA 2021 Mentor Mentee Program and have been matched with 2 dynamic and ambitious mentees.  Mentorship is a two way street.  Each of my mentees have challenged me to re-evaluate my assumptions and to think about challenges from new perspectives.  My goal is to share lessons from my past experiences and failures to hopefully provide positive career guidance.  

In the past, I have been involved in mentoring programs through various non-profits, educational institutions, and at previous employers.  About 50% of my mentees were women.  It is great to witness the greater adoption of and participation in these important initiatives.  While there is still a long way to go, we are seeing more women at the highest levels of leadership across the financial services industry.

What advice or guidance would you provide men so they can become an ally? What can they do better to support their female colleagues professionally?

The best advice for men who want to become an ally is to, “get going!”  Being an ally does not require participation through a formal association, though there can be definite benefits from having a network and structure in place.  Seeking out the right organizations to join is one potential step.  

However, you can begin immediately by both becoming an intentional listener and actively empowering your female colleagues.  Spend time to actively pay attention to the both what is said and unsaid in internal meetings.  Do you understand the perspectives of those who have a different background than you?  As a manager or leader, are you encouraging others to raise their voice?  During promotion and hiring processes, is the pool of candidates diverse and representative?

Asking the right questions and putting yourself in the shoes of others can help broaden your own perspective.  Formal programs are not pre-requisite to get involved.  We should be empowering our female colleagues every day.

What will be your 2021 mantra to keep you motivated, either professionally or personally?

All of us have been going through an extremely challenging period.  How we work and live have been fundamentally impacted by the pandemic.  At the same time, I am consistently impressed by the many demonstrations of resilience and adaptability throughout this year.

To stay motivated, I focus the following tenets:

  • Control what you can control;
  • Ask for help; and
  • Get things done.

These principles help me to clarify my priorities and to continue on my professional and personal learning journey.