On February 12, we witnessed a dynamic fireside chat with Candy Straight (Executive Producer of Equity and The Pages) and Colleen Campbell (Vice Chair at BMO Capital Markets), interviewed by Donna Parisi (Partner at Shearman & Sterling LLP). The event was co-hosted by BMO Capital Markets and Shearman & Sterling LLP, as well as FWA.
After the warm and informative opening remarks by Conni Gibson (Associate General Counsel & Managing Director, US Capital Markets at BMO) and Pat Cronin (CEO at BMO Capital Markets), Candy Straight and Colleen Campbell shared relevant insights and anecdotes around Equity vs. Equality. The following are some highlights that stood out for us:
- Candy raised the money for the movie Equity in only 6 months!
Colleen encouraged women in Finance to “make sure you ask for what you want. Hard work alone won’t do it.”
- Candy shared an anecdote of the 80s, when a man in her organization said: “Why would we invest in a woman when she can get pregnant?” She added that gladly, she recently heard of a woman who was promoted when she was 9 months pregnant.
- Paternal leave is still not the social norm in our culture, with stay-home dads being considered as “not manly.”
- Colleen confirmed that women should not only be promoted because they are women; much rather, they should have access to equal opportunities and pay.
- Mentorship is advice, sponsorship is taking a stake for someone; Candy voiced that women should sponsor more and not be so concerned to recommend other women but rather trust that recruiters have enough judgment to hire the right candidate.
- Fear of failure and the need to be perfect is what holds many women back. We must accept failure as a learning experience.
- For women, relative compensation (fair pay) seems to be more important than the absolute amount.
- Women must understand the different cultures and politics at the different organizations to make it easier for them to move up to the leadership ranks.
- Board service implies a major time investment. Sector and deep line experience is often critical to get on a Board.
- Diverse Boards create better business results because they generate a more dynamic discourse and provide new approaches to problem-solving. Women tend to dig deeper into issues, do more research before making decisions. It’s a matter of getting the right balance, having a conversation together. In short: Mix it up!
Stacy Musi’s encouraging closing remarks sent us off into a lively networking round over wine and hors d’oeuvres.