Why and how do you support WiFA?

I support because I am a “WiFA”!

I am a WiFA Speaker and Facilitator for the “Speak-Up Series” and I also lead Catalyst Consulting HK Ltd. In addition, I am a Leadership Facilitator & Coach and recently authored “Impactful Leadership: Unlock your Power with CABI™”.

I am a professional female who has worked extensively in the Financial Services industry since 1990 (and in Asia since 1997) in both in-house regional management roles as well as a leadership consultant/executive coach to senior executives and aspiring leaders. I understand the complexity, hurdles and possibilities for women in this ever-changing sector. I believe that it is important to give back to associations like WiFA who are making a stand to support women (and men) with resources, access to support, knowledge and networks to thrive in. My Speak-Up Series Session is aimed at inspiring and supporting women in finance to find ways to confront those challenges, align themselves around their strengths, values and goals, and bring that to the table, their teams and clients.  

What accomplishment are you most proud of in shifting the gender diversity needle and empowering women to achieve their full professional potential?

My purpose is to be a “catalyst” and I take on directly looking at increasing female leadership at the VP, MD and C-suite levels for companies. Even today, it will take another 25 years before women reach equality at the senior VP level (and over 100 years in the C-suite), so, I am proud of the women I have had the honour to coach 1:1 in this industry over the past 16 years who have gone on to do amazing things. From a group Leadership Program perspective and referencing both feedback, ROI data and my observations from these is: 

For empowering women: 

  • Without a doubt our regional female VP program, “Unleash Your Career Potential” has positively impacted retention, engagement and promotion numbers, as tracked by one Banking client over four year. It has run with more than 21 cohorts and over 300 female VP leaders in six APAC cities. It proactively addresses the underlying reasons and myths for the female leadership fall-off at a VP level in a profoundly deep, individual and powerful way. 

For shifting the needle:    

  • Delivering our “Leadership Impact & Influence Program” is a mixed gender, regional four-month program for hi-potential Directors/VPs that is in its seventh year. It includes a D&I session to challenge myths, re-educate an inclusive leadership mindset and workplace and also a proprietary inclusive, gender and culturally relevant Impact & Presence model that has enabled more than 6,000 Associates to MDs “find their leadership voice” across forums, with different stakeholders. We also offer a comprehensive Resilience framework that supports leadership performance and well-being.   
  • Leadership Team Coaching: for nine years I have used versions of our “Executive Discovery Series” that supports, expands and challenges management teams to examine and make smarter and more objective decisions to positively impact inclusive work-places and achieve improved business results. 

Tell us one thing that is important for #CreatingTheWorkforceOfTheFuture

Be conscious AND take it on!

In a recent talk I did on the future of leadership in APAC at HKU, a key message was the future work force and the future of leadership is here now, today, in this room, with you. The sooner we each take responsibility for that the sooner we can begin to have a voice and give meaning to what research-based studies are predicting will be required in business, our communities and the world.

What advice would you give to women who want to advance their career?

Work on three things in your Inner World:

  1. Learn to be present! You will exude executive impact, instil confidence and be focused. At times you will also experience freedom and the dilution of the pesky “guilty/not good enough” sound-track that plays out as you juggle the multiple roles you have your life.
  2. Face and work on your strengths and executive “derailers” squarely … and kindly.
  3. Do an annual or at transition points, values, motivators and skills audit to align with what’s true for you, at this time, across your many roles and realign this with short and longer term goals.

Work on three things in your Outer World:

  1. Just ask the question “what if” and be curious to facilitate thinking and solutions.
  2. Have and bring value to conversations.
  3. Recognise you have supporters, advocates, mentors and sponsors waiting to be discovered – build and honour that evolving “tribe” and stakeholder network.