ABSTRACT supporting Women in Banking and Finance
As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Women in Banking and Finance last December, ABSTRACT was delighted to be recognised as a ‘Friend of WIBF’ for being a true advocate, supporter and champion of WIBF’s work to bring a gender lens to UK financial services.
ABSTRACT is proud to be associated with WIBF. WIBF’s aims to help finance and banking professionals to achieve their full career potential and to boost female contribution to the industry are fully aligned with our own at ABSTRACT. It is what we have been helping our clients and delegates in banking, finance and other industries to do for many years.
Our aim is to make the corporate world a fairer and better place through our award-winning learning and development programmes. We have been working with organisations in UK, Ireland and internationally who want to take positive, practical action to support more women and other under-represented groups into leadership positions.
Back in 2013, ABSTRACT was selected as joint venture research partners with the Financial Times to understand, at that time, why there were so few executive women within senior positions in UK organisations. Through our extensive research, working firstly with the FT, with C-Suite executives and later with well over a thousand delegates, we discovered five main areas of difference between what successful business people do and where others tend to either disengage with or deliberately avoid. These five areas are;
• Building superior confidence
• Mastering organisational politics
• Maximising your personal brand and profile
• Attracting sponsors and mentors
• Boardroom readiness
We later added good judgement and decision making as another critical area of difference. At first, we focused our attention on helping women who were already at executive or board level. We quickly discovered that focusing on developing the career management and leadership skills of women at a mid-career level was where we could add the most value, and in doing so help companies to build a sustainable pipeline of future leaders.
Over that time, we have learned that the individual needs to be given the responsibility, the empowerment and the tools to manage their career. We have proven that equipping individuals in more junior roles through to senior manager levels is critical to sustainable change.
Developing resilience was important although we found that many women were already displaying very high levels of resilience in this industry. We discovered that delegates who experienced an increase in their self-assessed levels of confidence, who engaged in positive organisational politics, developed an authentic personal brand and attracted sponsors and mentors, or at least some of these, will often thrive and rapidly progress.
Not only that but they would increasingly act as role models, sponsors and mentors for others in more junior roles, helping to lift others as they climb.
At the same time, worthy initiatives such as The Women in Finance Charter and Gender Pay Gap reporting legislation, plus the significant efforts of voluntary organisations, like WIBF, have been leading to positive action by businesses and the removal of barriers.
Significant progress has been made in the last few years but there also remains much more to be done. Our own programmes have evolved and they look very different in today’s world as we have developed and adapted them over the years. Led by wider society and the events of 2020, we have seen the corporate agenda and also our own focus broaden from gender-based initiatives to other underrepresented groups.
Our focus at ABSTRACT remains on engaging our delegates to aspire and explore beyond their initial aspirations and expectations. We want more organisations to seriously invest in the middle to senior tier of business personnel, providing the tools and inspiration for people to manage their own careers successfully.
We are looking forward to working with WIBF and its members once again during 2021 and we have three webinar masterclasses planned for delivery in the coming months.
Firstly, on 14 July we shall be delivering Creating Your Career Strategy: Career Realisation and Self-Determination that will explore the realisation and fulfilment of participants personal and career potential. In other words, knowing what you want, when you want it, and how to get it! The partner for this virtual event is Tesco Bank.
Then on 20 October, we shall be sharing our insights on How Psychological Safety Creates High Performing Teams. This is about leaders being role models and creating a culture where people can safely and confidently be the best they can be.
Then finally, on 24 November, How To Build Modern Day Resilience will show that it’s not what happens to us that truly defines our destiny but how we choose to react to what happens to us. We will show how the business world is positively changing to embrace strong, considerate and inclusive leaders with a ‘winning together’ mentality.
All three webinars are designed to be interesting and enjoyable and to have application - with practical tips that delegates can apply personally and in the workplace. This will be important as we emerge from the pandemic and make our choices to go back to the same old ways or back to better.
Event Details 14 July https://www.wibf.org.uk/events/details/creating-your-career-strategy
ABSTRACT website www.abstractuk.co.uk
LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/abstract-uk