At the beginning of her career, Maureen Leary-Jago remembers how women were far from leadership positions in the industry.

Her own role providing strategic counsel regarding operations, technology and systems to senior management at Massachusetts Financial Services, she acknowledges, would not have been possible just a generation ago.

"When I think about the last 25 years, clearly we have more women today in senior positions throughout the investment management industry than when I started," Leary-Jago says.

"And I don't limit that view to just the C-level - it's important to see that we have more women in decision-making positions in all areas, from IT and operations to portfolio management and distribution."

The MFS operations executive carries a number of oversight responsibilities at her firm. She also is a member of its compliance committee, FundTrader monitoring committee and the risk committee.

Leary-Jago also supports a number of personal causes, the closest being the "Friends of Jill Leary" Golf Tournament she runs in in memory of her sister in-law Jill Leary who died of breast cancer at the age of 32. She is also a contributor with the National Association of Female Executives, the International Women's Leadership Association, the Stock Transfer Association, the Investment Company Institute's operations committee and the NICSA.

When considering a goal for women to reach in the industry, Leary-Jago says the challenge going forward is "do better." Women must remain curious, have courage and bring confidence to the workplace, she adds, in order to find and ensure success.

"I would encourage women to never make a career-altering decision based on emotion or based on an issue that has not been fully discussed," she says. "You never know, by shedding some light on an issue, you may come to some resolution that keeps you in a job or industry you otherwise like."

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