Andrea Kantor, a 20-year member of the FWA, tells women “don’t wait until you’ve made it” and much more. Find out why. Read on.
Question: What are your current responsibilities?
Answer: I’m an Area Manager in the Not-For-Profit Banking at JPMorgan Chase Bank. Our team of bankers manages relationships with private schools, cultural institutions, fundraising organizations, social service agencies, foundations and other NFPs throughout the tri-state region.
Question: How did you get to where you are career-wise?
Answer: My career path hasn’t always been linear. I started in investment banking, transitioned to commercial banking, became a credit specialist focusing on financial services and then not-for-profit, and most recently, have been involved in launching a specialized not-for-profit banking group at Chase in Business Banking. For six years in the middle of all this, I started and ran my own executive coaching and consulting practice, focusing on mid-career professionals and leadership development in the financial services industry. While I didn’t have a master plan, each opportunity built on my skills and experience and I have gravitated to opportunities where I can contribute and learn.
Question: What are some tips/advice you have for young women looking to enter the financial services industry?
Answer: Get your foot in the door, and then keep learning and leveraging your experience into the next opportunity. Make sure you are adding value; good employers like to develop young talent but their first priority is the firm’s clients and bottom line. Network inside and outside your organization. Work hard and be patient with your own development and growth; there are no shortcuts to 10 years of experience. Hire a coach for perspective and guidance.
Question: What are some ways we can rid the financial services space of gender equality issues?
Answer: We need more female role models at the most senior levels. We also need more HR professionals and senior leaders who challenge the outdated pattern of stalling women’s advancement due to personality traits despite our competence, skills and experience. Women and men are different, and being more like a man as the key to success is old school. The rhetoric across the industry and in the media has improved considerably, but the numbers still haven’t budged enough for all the resources dedicated to diversity.
Question: What are some of the key skillsets women need to have to excel in their financial services career?
Answer: Competence and commitment comprise the foundation for sustainable success. Then leadership style comes into play – resilience, partnership, decisiveness, and gravitas. You can demonstrate leadership qualities early in your career; don’t wait until you’ve “made it” or have management responsibilities to begin cultivating these skills and traits.
Question: How does your involvement in the FWA help you to have a fulfilling career and life?
Throughout the 20 years I’ve been a member, the FWA has been a resource for information, contacts, experiences, fun and enrichment. I was active in committees early on and developed the confidence to speak up in meetings at work by “practicing” at FWA committee meetings. I also honed my networking skills which led to countless business and personal opportunities. I can’t take credit for this phrase, but it’s true – “Involvement in FWA is off-the-job training for on-the-job success.”
These responses reflect Andrea Kantor’s personal views and do not represent JPMorgan Chase Bank in any way.