Kaushik Banerjee, a Vice President at Morgan Stanley, shares with WiFA his motivation to be a male ally, his mentorship experience, and his mantras for 2021.
1. Tell us about yourself
I lead the Asia FX Technology Support team. I moved to Hong Kong 10 years ago to join Morgan Stanley. I am an avid music fan with an interest in DJ-ing from back in my university days. Lately as an offshoot of that I have become a collector of headphones.
Having been brought up to respect everyone in society, my wife and I have imparted the same values in our two children. I have always been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, especially for the underrepresented in the workforce, including women. I hope to see a greater gender mix across all fields, especially in sectors traditionally dominated by men.
Becoming a Male Ally has helped me understand how I can be more thoughtful and impactful, without having to be overly vocal. I also show support by providing virtual career mentorships to ethnic minority students in partnership with the Zubin Foundation.
2. What is one characteristic you would say that all women in finance share?
I think most women in the workforce, especially those in finance, are master jugglers and multi-taskers. While of course they face stresses, I am so impressed how they manage the various push, pull and pressures of their jobs and family lives, while hopefully also finding time for themselves.
3. 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.
For several years now I have been mentoring a female colleague from my previous team, who joined us straight out of university. While I hope this has been a helpful resource to her, this has been an enriching experience for me. She has inspired me to be more detail-oriented and her willingness to shoulder responsibility from the start has been amazing. I am currently helping her strike a better work-life balance.
4. 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 men I know are of course fully supportive of gender equality across all aspects of life, including in the workplace. For those like me, who have moved from being quietly supportive to being a Male Ally, it is beneficial both professionally and personally. I am better informed, I have a wider and more diverse network, and I’m more empathetic.
My advice for Male Allies: to have empathy and a willingness to really listen and to refrain from jumping to conclusions too early. We need people who can understand and be willing to put in the effort and time and have the patience to support the fundamental changes that need to happen to reach a more equitable outcome. Male allies are encouraged to support their female coworkers. I believe everyone deserves an equal opportunity.
5. What will be your 2021 mantra to keep you motivated, either professionally or personally?
My first is to learn from my amazing kids, especially their ability to see and explain things in simple terms. Trying to follow their lead in explaining things in simpler terms. In addition, as one of my colleagues has kept reminding me, we should challenge ourselves by learning at least one new thing each year. I have taken that advice onboard and hopefully I can stay earnest to it. For 2021 I am trying to improve on my Badminton skills and my SRE knowledge.