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Trailblazer Charlene Sagoe

news published date 4 March 2024
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In the second in the WIBF Future Leaders Shadow Board series of trailblazers, we meet Charlene Sagoe.

Charlene is the Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Committee, for the Investor Leadership Network (ILN); an open and collaborative platform for leading investors interested in addressing sustainability and long-term growth.

Charlene was born in Liberia, West Africa, and spent her early years in Romania where her father served as a foreign diplomat for the Liberian Embassy. Her family moved to London in 1983 to continue her father’s diplomatic mission.

She began her professional career in Broadcast Media working in middle and senior management roles with several international broadcasters including’ the Sci-Fi Channel, National Geographic Channel and Sky.

With more than two decades of experience working for global financial services institutions and media businesses in senior leadership roles; Charlene has held several marketing roles for one of the largest global asset management companies (by AUM) and has held the role of International Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion since January 2021. Charlene was voted Top 75 DE&I Most Influential Leaders in EMEA in 2022 for Hive Learnings.

Charlene is a Trustee and Director for the 5% Club, a dynamic movement of employers committed to ‘earn and learn’ as part of building and developing the workforce it needs for a socially mobile, prosperous, and cohesive nation. Board Member of the Diversity Project Europe; a cross-company initiative championing more inclusive culture within the European asset management industry.

Tell us more about Natixis’ involvement with WIBF.

Natixis Investment Managers have been members of WIBF since March 2022, which has given us almost two years of enrichment and enjoyment through the many benefits that our membership affords us.

Gender balance in our workforce remains part of our strategic goals around inclusion; where we commit to having more women in leadership positions and ensuring we have a pipeline through all lens of diversity as part of our succession planning. We have hosted a number of events including the Senior Business Leaders series and “New Ways of Working and its impact on inclusion” event which was jointly hosted by WIBF, Diversity Project and Natixis Investment Managers.  In addition, we have a number of employees that are now part of the WIBF mentoring programme as mentors and mentees which has garnered some very positive feedback internally.

What is important to you when it comes to professional development and how to create a plan/system that works for you?

  1. Invest in continuous learning. Professional development is also the responsibility of individuals (not exclusively employers) so it’s important not to be reliant on your reporting managers or the organisations that you work for. Be accountable for yourself and your own career.
  2. Don’t be afraid of seizing opportunities to work on projects that are outside of your scope/comfort zone. Put your hand up for ‘stretch projects’ as this is where you learn and this is how you get noticed.
  3. Always be working on your ‘brand’ internally and externally and, yes, this may not always feel comfortable; however, it is very important. And don’t underestimate the importance of intentionally ‘networking’.
  4. Take time to acknowledge your achievements and own your value. Be an advocate for yourself and ‘manifest’

What helpful tools/methods or resources such as books or podcasts would you recommend?

  1. Coaching – Investing in coaching can provide clarity on your career trajectory and direction. Challenge the way you think about yourself and build evidencebased confidence to own your value and be empowered to advocate for yourself so that you can thrive. Coaching provides the opportunity to proactively reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and come up with a plan to lean in and work on any shortcomings you may have.
  2. The Compass Club – A membership space for black and black mixed heritage professional women in leadership or emerging leadership.
  3. Carla A Harris: Lead to Win’ How to be a powerful, impactful influential leader in any environment’.


What advice would you give to yourself at the outset of your career? 

  1. Start building your ‘Board of Directors’ (Mentors, Sponsors and Allies) from the moment you start your first job and invest time in developing your LinkedIn profile.
  2. You do not have to have a roadmap for your career, and it does not have to be linear; there will be opportunities along the way that you should explore because it will broaden your experience.
  3. Don’t listen to your inner critic and have greater self-belief in your ability; lean into everything that is great about you and allow that to be your superpower that sets you apart from others.
  4. Don’t dismiss opportunities presented to you because you do not fit ALL of the requirements; focus on the skills and experience you have and what you will bring to the role that others will not.
  5. It’s OK to not have all the answers at any given time; and it’s OK to ask questions (however ‘simple’) when you do not understand. I guarantee you will not be the only person in the room that has not understood.
  6. Always be your authentic self, don’t dial down your personality to make others feel ‘comfortable’. The discomfort is on them and not you.
  7. Don’t be afraid of taking risks and failing. Failure=Experience and Growth.


Thank you Charlene!