As part of the WiFA Male Ally Spotlight Series, Sanza Bulaya, Head of Operational Risk & Surveillance for Private Wealth Management Asia at Morgan Stanley, shares with us his thoughts on what motivates him to be a male ally, his mentoring experience, and his 2021 mantra.

Tell us about yourself

With a passion for enhancing cultural awareness and understanding, I have been active in promoting and advancing diversity, equality, and inclusion. I am a seasoned risk management practitioner with 14 years of experience in the Wealth Management industry and have been based in Hong Kong for the last four years.

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, I was part of the regional Operational Risk Management team at BNP Paribas. During my time there, I had the opportunity to engage in their D&I initiatives and participate in The Women’s Foundation’s Male Allies Program.

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

I am passionate about justice and fairness because it is about uplifting everyone with respect and empathy within a community. I believe that the financial industry is a community where equality and fairness must play a bigger role to empower individuals and organizations to address critical issues, including gender diversity. For me, being a male ally is about being part of the change: how to be informed of these issues, how to reflect and contribute to solutions that can drive cultural change in an industry that has historically been dominated by men. From that perspective, I am convinced that we can achieve more by encouraging and leveraging everyone’s influence to accelerate some of these changes. This is a great source of motivation for me.

Please provide an example of how being an ally helped to unlock the power of diversity within your team or your organization?

Thanks to my involvement at The Women’s Foundation I have witnessed first hand a number of great initiatives conducted in the finance industry here in Hong Kong. These have opened up a broad spectrum of possibilities and opportunities for me to seize.

I am new to Morgan Stanley, but I recall a great initiative implemented by my last employer, which was to replicate internally the Active Bystander workshop provided by The Women’s Foundation. In fact, similar training was delivered by a drama company for allies to practice how to deal with unconscious bias and to be an active bystander for women colleagues in practical business scenarios. This training was remarkable because it allowed participants to be practical, hand-on and real about allyship. Oftentimes, unconscious bias is based on our cultural and educational background, and speaking up or even calling out in the moment can require bravery, empathy and soft skills to be effective and inclusive. This kind workshop is a great example of how we can unlock the power of allyship through cultural discussions and introspection, to equip Allies with the best tools to be effective agents of change.

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.

I had the pleasure of informally mentoring a number of women in finance and this journey has enabled mutual learning and growth. I was surprised at how beneficial the mentor-mentee relationship is to both parties. I learnt so much too. Beyond mentoring, I would like to be more involved in thinking through the commitment and quantifiable metrics of mentoring outcomes and gradually switch to sponsorship instead. I see more tangible value in sponsorship.

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

My mantra is very simple but effective: be intentional and eager to learn more.