By Julie Andress
KeyBanc Capital Markets, STA WIF Co-Chair
Shortly after we published May’s Women in Finance newsletter, a male co-worker reached out to me to discuss the article. He stated, “I’m not a woman in finance, but this newsletter email came across my desk.” While we did discuss the topic of the newsletter, I was struck by his initial comment and immediately went into education mode.
I explained that STA Women in Finance (STA WIF) is not inclusive of women only; our group is made great not only by exceptional women, but also those who support them, men and woman alike. Our discussion then led to the annual Ken Heath Award. This month we would typically be reflecting on the Ken Health Award recipients. The Ken Heath Award, founded by family members of longtime Traders Magazine publisher Ken Heath and the STA WIF Committee, honors those men who have made a notable and genuine contribution to the advancement of women in finance. Many of the past recipients are considered by those who nominated them to be mentors. My male co-worker understands the importance of mentorship and how critical having a good mentor can be to a person’s career, but why recognize men? It’s because STA WIF believes that a successful diversity strategy is a culture shift within the entire organization, and corporations that engage men in their gender diversity strategies achieve more meaningful results than those that do not.
We are told early on in our careers to seek out mentors, and then as we advance in our careers to give back by mentoring others. Our mentors are not limited to females, and we are not limited to one mentor. It is a progression, and it doesn’t have to be formal.
Mentorship is essential to women professionals in financial services. We are told early on in our careers to seek out mentors, and then as we advance in our careers to give back by mentoring others. Our mentors are not limited to females, and we are not limited to one mentor. It is a progression, and it doesn’t have to be formal. Throughout our lives, mentors might be teachers, industry leaders, people we meet in passing but admire, friends with different experiences. Two of my mentors through work have since retired, but always remain available for discussion and feedback. These relationships are so critical to our individual success, as they allow us to see ourselves, and our careers, in the eyes of others.
STA recently announced its slate of 2020 STA Foundation Awards, which includes the Ken Heath Award. STA WIF was unable to host its annual Ken Heath Awards ceremony last month due to the events surrounding COVID-19. The Ken Heath Award, as well as a newly created STA Women in Finance Mentor of the Year Award, will be presented at the STA Market Structure Conference this October in Washington DC. A counterpart to the Ken Heath Award, this new Mentor of the Year Award will recognize one woman within our industry who exemplifies the true meaning of mentor.
I encourage everyone to think about their mentors, male and female, past and present, and consider a nomination. It is a small token of gratitude to recognize those who have given so much to others.
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey