As part of Money Management Executive's inaugural Top Women in Asset Management, we asked each influencer "What advice would you give to other women following your footsteps?"
In an industry where women are still the minority, yet rising in position and sheer numbers (according to many of the women nominated and the people who nominated them), the answers to this question - we thought - could be a small step in offering guidance and helping to bring more diversity to the industry.
The advice, as expected, was varied and insightful. Pimco's Virginie Maisonneuve noted that she never cared to think about the woman vs. man distinction. "Find the place where you want to be in your career and make sure that both your heart and head are aligned." Passion and clarity of goals are most important, she says. And once you are clear of your goals, you can't have too many of them. "Women entering the field must also figure out what type of leader they want to be if they wish to be successful, and really think about who their stakeholders are."
Finally, Maisonneuve attributes her success largely to her ability to combine curiosity, endurance and perseverance. "You always have to start everyday thinking 'what do I not know?" Endurance and perseverance, she says, comes from keeping her eyes on the long-term and always trying to put herself in another person's shoes, a process she calls reframing.
Ali Bleecker, chief administrative officer at Northern Trust Asset Management, comments that women must reject the notion that being a woman in the field is noteworthy beyond the statistical reality that there are more men than women doing these jobs today. "Find a strong mentor, man or woman, who personifies your values and challenges you to work hard, be authentic, and seek out opportunities beyond your comfort zone," she advises.
"Forgive yourself for not finding the perfect work-life balance," Jennifer Johnson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Franklin Resources advises. "Sometimes work is more demanding; sometimes the rest of your life demands your attention and sometimes they collide."
Often, women put their own, personal barriers in their heads, says Carol Deckbar of TIAA-CREF. "When you love what you do, people seek you out," Deckbar notes.
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