Panellists discuss female leadership in financial services

From left, Odette Samson, Nancy Lewis, Amanda Pullinger, Minister Tara Rivers, Heather Smith.

Deloitte and 100 Women in Finance (100WF) celebrated the Cayman Islands release of their global collaborative report ‘Within Reach? Achieving gender equity in financial services leadership’ with a panel discussion about the evolution and impact of female leadership in financial services, both in Cayman and worldwide.

Odette Samson, Deloitte partner and 100WF global advisory council member, led the panellists – Tara Rivers, minister of financial services; Heather Smith, head of the investments and supervision division at the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority; Nancy Lewis, senior advisor at Fenergo, and board member of Permira, Duff & Phelps, and Tricor Group; and Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100WF – through the past, present and future of gender equity in financial services.

The speakers shared their views and experiences on the positive impact of sponsorship and mentorship throughout their careers, the challenges when navigating the path to executive positions in traditionally male-dominated environments, the importance of investing in the next generations, and their own keys to gaining senior leadership roles in the industry.

“As we work to advance progress for women now working within the financial sector, we should direct equal attention to inspiring the next generation of young women to favourably view our industry, and to evolve the workplace to be worthy of their career selection,” Pullinger said in a press release.

“In the Cayman Islands and worldwide, 100 Women in Finance is working with numerous organisations on initiatives aimed to inspire pre-career women, from as early as high school, to develop and pursue their interest in joining the industry. Through local mentorship programmes such as Cayman’s GirlForce 100, we are moving steadily towards achieving our global vision, in which women will perform 30 percent of investment team and executive leadership roles by 2040,” the 100WF CEO added.

Samson noted that the joint report supported extensive data from leading researchers on how gender-diverse organisations outperform their less-inclusive competitors in key aspects of business and revenue.

“Although there has been significant progress made in the industry over the past two decades, there is still a long journey ahead to achieve parity,” she said. “This is the time to make a lasting impact, and Deloitte and 100 Women in Finance are leading stimulating conversations that are helping move the needle towards greater gender balance in our industry.”