Mentoring and leadership were all the buzz at the second annual Women's Forum on Wednesday, hosted by InvestmentNews and the Investment Program Association. Successful businesswomen from a number of big named companies boasted about the importance of their work-related relationships, especially in regards to mentorship.
But the real spotlight was on how these relationships and leadership skills must come from women and benefit women.
“Most boards are looking for people, CFOs, CEOS — that's where the gender discussion falls short,” Jyoti Chopra, managing director and Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at BNY Mellon, said.
Ms. Chopra focused on the skills needed to become a leader, including problem solving, the power of persuasion, executive presence and negotiating skills and stressed the need to develop an elevator pitch, a few seconds-summary of yourself if you're ever caught in an elevator with someone you want to impress, as well as becoming a part of the 21st century with online professional profiles.
“Building relationships is a lifelong journey but it's never too late to start,” Ms. Chopra said. “Think of your career as a portfolio.”
Some women have taken those steps in order to climb up the ladder, including the women on the panel about mentoring. They, paired with those they mentor, talked about the balance in their relationship and how they work with each other to succeed.
“As much as I'm mentoring him, he's mentoring me,” Kayla Flaten, prime services account manager at Pershing, said about her mentoring relationship with Mark Tibergien, chief executive of Pershing Advisor Solutions and the only man on any of the panels.
The women on the panel “A Journey to Success” talked about the ways they made it to the top and gave advice to the younger generation.
“Things that made me annoying early in my career have become an advantage today,” Rebecca Pomering, CEO of Moss Adams Wealth Advisors, said. She told of how she was an eager young woman who always took on whatever job her company may have needed from her. And, unlike her fellow panelists who said starting out as a woman a few decades ago proved difficult, she said “it's worked to my advantage over and over.”
“Maybe my gender got me the opportunity, but that's not how I'm going to demonstrate my performance,” she said.
The conference provided fertile ground for tweets.