Called a culture carrier and positive force for change, Anita has achieved great results with regard to diversity and inclusion in her day job given she is a firm believer that it is not a standalone initiative, but that it helps organisations and operations become more successful.
Anita Huynh
Anita Huynh
Macquarie

Seen as “a culture carrier and a positive force for change” Anita Huynh was selected by a panel, which included the region’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Risk Officer, as Macquarie Group’s (Macquarie’s) role model for Women in Banking & Finance to celebrate in 2021.

Having started her career in her home country of Australia, Anita moved to the UK in 2012 part way through a career with the financial services group, and will soon celebrate her 13-year anniversary with the firm. Seen as an outstanding role model for ambitious women at Macquarie, Anita began her career at Macquarie’s Financial Management Group, which manages the firm’s funding and capital requirements. She then became the Chief Operating Officer of Macquarie Asset Management’s private market businesses in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) in 2017, where she manages a large team across multiple locations.

It is her work with Macquarie’s Employee Network Group, Balance – that promotes gender equality – that has positioned Anita as a force for change among the region’s most senior leaders, not least because of her stewardship as Co-Chair of the Balance Committee from its inception in 2017 (around the time of her promotion to her current role) until 2020. And, despite stepping down as a Co-Chair, Anita remains heavily involved in the diversity and inclusion network, serving as an active member of the steering committee with a specific focus on mindset development and role modelling workstreams.

It’s a passion Anita notes drives her to go over and above her ‘day’ job and responsibilities, especially with regard to gender diversity and social mobility initiatives, which she promotes through continual advocacy.

Among the many initiatives of which Anita is most proud are the Balance Committee’s networking and fundraising activities, which – to name but a few – have included an annual cycling challenge, an International Women’s Day quiz and a Leaders and Daughters event, hosted with the Countess of Wessex. The high impact, high-profile events were pulled off in collaboration with many Macquarie colleagues from across the region. Thanks to Anita’s coordination, these events raised just over £100,000 over the past three years for the various charities to which the network is committed.

As well as ensuring a strong and active gender diversity network, it is perhaps the effort that Anita applies to ensuring that diversity and inclusion initiatives and approaches are embedded in the day-to-day operations of the business that have fostered the greatest change.

Anita ensures that diversity and inclusion is thoroughly embedded and considered in her day to day role. Anita does not shy away from addressing situations to highlight inherent biases and ensures that all meetings and events focus on diverse subjects and speakers.

Diversity and inclusion is also a key criterion in the firm’s recruitment processes. Anita has partnered with Macquarie’s human resources teams to ensure balanced interview panels, yielding clear results and strong case studies on the benefits of equality for all. Her work has also helped the firm recruit more gender-balanced internal and graduate cohorts. Anita also continues to role model authentic leadership and was recently featured in a panel event for Macquarie’s inaugural East and South East Asian month.

Anita believes male allyship is critical to success on the diversity and inclusion front going forward. As such, she actively encourages her male colleagues to support women by listening and genuinely trying to understand some of the issues women often face.

Anita also highlights that, although there is evidence of the pandemic’s regressive effect on gender equity, she is optimistic about the future and cites the work at Macquarie to encourage colleagues to really get to know and understand each other’s personal circumstances. These efforts have gone beyond previous endeavours and have helped to foster a culture of greater flexibility and inclusion.