Scott Nagao, the Chief Operating Officer for Asia Pacific Active Investments at BlackRock and co-chair of BlackRock’s Women’s Network, share his thoughts with WiFA on his motivation to be a male ally, advice to his colleagues, and his 2021 mantra.

  1. Tell us about yourself 

I am the COO for the APAC Active Investments business at BlackRock, based in Hong Kong.  I started my career at BlackRock in the US nearly 20 years ago, then began my APAC life in Singapore before moving to Hong Kong in 2016.

On the personal front, I am the father of a 6 year old boy. I am practicing fitness and tennis, and love to read (or listen) to books.

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

Growing up as a multi-ethnic person in the west, equality in general is a topic that has always been close to me personally.  Since the beginning of my career in financial services, I have been fortunate to have had only female leaders as direct managers. All have been highly inspiring.  With this background, it has been clear to me how much further the industry needs to progress its efforts on gender equity and how underrepresented males are in taking part. I am motivated by doing as much as I can to improve the situation.

  1. 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? 

My first piece of advice is to become aware the finance industry remains a male dominated sector and therefore the impact that men can have on gender equality, both negative and positive. Next would be to find learning opportunities to expand understanding female perspectives.  Finally, acting and getting involved.  One of the best things men can do to help on this journey is to join women and support them as a Male Ally in their organization.  Personally, doing this was a major boost to learning more and having tangible paths for actions.

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

My 2021 mantra is to “Destroy self-limiting beliefs”.  This reminds me that many things which seem to be insurmountable challenges are magnified by what you perceive.  Not only for my own motivation, I think this can be relevant for challenging potential male allies’ beliefs about gender equity and showing them how they could be impactful.