September 18th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Movers and Shakers: Esther Yang, Vice President and Senior Trader-Derivatives at Voya Investment Management, formerly ING U.S. Investment Management

By Beth Senko

EY smallIn a recent round-table of derivative portfolio managers of the largest insurance companies, Esther Yang found herself being the only female among this male dominated profession. How did she get to where she is now?

Esther Yang did not have a conventional route to success in financial services. In fact, she didn’t begin college or her career with intentions of entering the field at all. However, Yang used her instincts and willingness to try new things to guide her into the position she currently holds.

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September 17th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Women as Leaders: What Is Different about Leading Other Women?

Guest Contribution by Anne Litwin, PhD

Two female friends talking.“I worked for a woman who was more task focused, which made it real uncomfortable for me. When a guy does that [is task focused], it doesn’t bother me as much.” (Financial Services Manager)

I heard this kind of statement often from the women in my research on women’s relationships in the workplace. This research, involving women from many professions and countries, shows that many women have different expectations of how female leaders should behave. Women also often report preferring to work for men, which could be a significant problem for our careers if almost half of the workforce does not want to be led by us.

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September 16th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Ethics at Work: Are Women Generally More Ethical than Men in the Workplace?

iStock_000006954519XSmallBy Louise Ogunseitan

With ethics and codes of conduct being so pivotal to the internal success of companies, industries and consumer based trust – a heavy onus is on organisations to foster a culture that nurtures and promotes adherence to them irrespective of gender. However, there has been many articles written about one gender being more ethical than the other; women over men.

A recent conversation between Shakar Vendatam and David Greene on NPR suggests that men tend to ‘have more lenient ethical standards than women’ and The Guardian goes further to explore the constructs that encourage men to bend the rules more frequently.

We have to wonder; do we run the risk of giving free license for our male counterparts to blame unethical behaviors on their gender? Likewise do we give women leverage to operate from a moral high ground as the ethical ‘light-bearers’ of society which inadvertently extends to the workplace?

The Glass Hammer explored this topic in 2013 when we looked at research out of University of California, Berkeley by Jessica A. Kennedy and Laura J. Kray which looks at how when women perceive a departure from a code of conduct, they are less likely to want to be part of it.

Why this matters for you as a leader?
In today’s current economic climate where consumer trust is at a low, establishing a code of conduct or ethical standards within an organisation couldn’t be more important for three main reasons.

• It provides a unified and universal standard on what is considered right and wrong behaviours for an organisation.
• It builds trust among colleagues within organisation.
• It promotes trust from the consumer base.

The Gender Issue
So workplace ethics are a big deal. Yet research is suggesting that men do not regard them as highly as women. Not only has research found that women are less willing to compromise ethical standards for career success, but that they are also more likely to believe that corporate ethical codes would make a positive difference. Last year, a research team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School released a study where men and women were provided a series of fictitious job descriptions which they had to evaluate. Each job description included an ethics component and the outcome showed that women are less willing to sacrifice ethical values for money and social status and that women associate business with immorality more strongly. Could this be one of the reasons why globally, women still make up only approximately 9% of corporate board memberships?

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September 15th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Voice of Experience: Carin Pai, Executive Vice President, Fiduciary Trust

:ÌpBy Michelle Hendelman

When Carin Pai joined Fiduciary Trust 18 years ago in an associate- level position within the Investment department, she knew that she was an analytical person who had a strong creative side as well. These skills, along with a strong work ethic and circle of mentors have set a strong foundation for Pai’s rewarding career.

“I studied architecture at Brooklyn Technical High School and loved the combination of the artistic and technical elements,” explained Pai, who said she enjoys this same balance in her current role as executive vice president and director of equity management.

A Committed Leader
Throughout her career Ms. Pai has remained committed to broadening her investment management and leadership skills: in 2006 she became a Chartered Financial Analyst and then in 2011 she attended Harvard Business School’s Executive Education in Investment Management program.

Leading and managing her team of portfolio managers is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job, Pai said. She is especially proud of the fact that in spite of the market turmoil in recent years, she successfully guided her team and their clients through and the group is now reaching new highs.

Although she acknowledged that there can be challenges of leading a multi-generational team, Pai enjoys discovering new ways to be an effective leader and utilize the individual strengths and talents of everyone on her team. “It is a very dynamic environment where it is important to strike a balance between motivating senior professionals and mentoring the rising stars,” she explained.

According to Pai, the team-centric environment promoted by the leaders at her firm creates a wonderful company culture where everyone knows they are appreciated. “As many companies have been forced to make job cuts throughout the market downturn, Fiduciary Trust has emerged with new technologies, resources and talent to provide our clients with the best investment solutions,” she explained.

One of the newest investment avenues Pai and her team are following is ESG investing, which stands for Environmental, Social and Government investing. “ESG awareness can go a long way with investors who are committed to these issues,” said Pai. Right now, Pai is conducting extensive research in this area to gauge client interest. “If ESG is ranking high among our clients, then we will respond by dedicating more resources to this new alternative investment channel,” she added.

Another area of interest, Pai indicated, is to expand opportunities in the global high net worth markets, such as Asia and Latin America. “Asia, for example, represents one of the highest growth segments currently and we are strategizing on how to expand our presence in Asia,” Pai explained. She will be attending the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (“STEP”) Asia Conference in Hong Kong this fall in order to stay on top of Asia’s rapidly-evolving wealth management landscape.

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September 12th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Emerging Manager Mandates Grow but Getting Funded Remains a Challenge

iStock_000002351861XSmallBy Beth Senko

Demand for emerging managers has grown for both altruistic and pure profit-making goals. From a social good standpoint, publicly-held pensions and investment funds reach out to emerging fund managers and brokerages as a way of selecting managers that represent the diversity of their beneficiaries. At the same time, investors are looking to emerging managers as a way of increasing their returns. The challenge seems to be getting the funds into the hands of the emerging managers.

An increasing number of states, municipalities and other public pensions, have emerging manager mandates. Each week, Crain’s Pensions & Investments, lists new manager searches from an array of funds. In just the past few months, funds that have added or are searching for emerging managers include: New York City Pension Fund, St. Louis Employees, Illinois Investment Board and CALPERS. According to a study by KPMG (formerly Rothstein Kass), Women In Alternative Investments: A Marathon Not a Sprint, the number of funds with emerging manager mandates continues to grow; however, implementing these mandates appears to be more of a challenge.

The study notes that most funding for women-owned-and-managed funds comes from high-net-worth individuals and family offices despite growth in the number of mandates at pensions and endowments. The study’s authors comment, “while perhaps not as speedy as some would like, diversity mandates, as well as demonstrated outperformance by women managers, are driving investors to increase allocations to women-run funds. In fact, nearly 25 percent of the investors polled for this report indicated they would increase their allocations to women-owned or-managed funds in the coming year by some margin.”

Is funding a supply problem?
In its 2013 study, Women in Alternative Investments: Building Momentum in 2013 and Beyond, the study’s authors noted that of the 366 women polled, only 5% had received emerging manager funding despite the number of mandates. That number improved somewhat in 2014’s study to 8.5%, but the study did not look at the size of that funding – suggesting that funding levels may still be quite low, even at firms receiving emerging manager funding.

At the same time, the vast majority of investors surveyed, (93%) have no mandate to invest in women-owned or –managed funds. The primary reason given was “lack of supply.”

Kelly Easterling, formerly a principal at Rothstein Kass (now part of KPMG) comments in the report, “Investors and women-owned and -managed funds are faced with an interesting dilemma of which comes first, the chicken or the egg. One of the reasons that investors are not able to invest in diversity funds is the lack of diversity funds available for investment. Without a large supply of funds, it’s difficult to achieve appropriate portfolio diversification or, for that matter, put enough money to work to move the performance dial. On the other hand, until there is more money flowing to women-owned and -managed funds, it’s unlikely that there will be a stampede of new fund launches. Unfortunately, that paradox slows the process down for both sides of the equation.”

Or a structural issue?
In our view, however, a “lack of supply” is too simplistic an answer to the gap between emerging manager mandates and funding. Differences in scale seem to be one aspect of this disconnect.

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September 11th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Movers and Shakers – Peg DiOrio, Vice President and Quantitative Analyst for the Portfolio Engineering Group at Voya Investment Management, formerly ING U.S. Investment Management

DiOrio_Peg_337x500By Beth Senko

When Voya’s Peg DiOrio describes the keys to her success overseeing quant for an entire group of investment managers, she uses a sailing analogy. “When you are part of a sailing crew, you have a job and you rely on others to do theirs. To be successful in business, you have to both respect and rely on your colleagues.”

Career Beginnings
Peg DiOrio taught high school math when she graduated college. As the newest teacher in school, she was assigned to some of the most challenging students. “One of my first classes was filled with high school seniors who were taking ninth grade math for the third and fourth time. They weren’t the most enthusiastic students, but it allowed me to try a lot of different ways to reach them. It taught me the importance of understanding my audience.”

In order to advance in the teaching profession, Peg had to get a masters degree. She enrolled in a then-new joint program between New York University’s Stern School of Business and the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. DiOrio recalls, “Courant had long relied on training Department of Defense types in its masters programs.” When that source began to dry up, Courant looked for new opportunities for mathematical sciences and found it in the finance world. “I think the program is now called financial engineering,” DiOrio commented, but back then financial quant work was just getting recognized as a discipline.

There wasn’t a huge amount of academic work devoted to the finance and mathematics at the time, so she and her cohorts studied mathematical models from a range of other disciplines – physical sciences, social sciences, etc. “We studied models that described fish populations, neural networks and flu outbreaks.” She believes that applying math to a range of situations has been really useful in creating financial models that work in the real world.

“Finance is Just Math”
Peg’s study group at Courant included a student who was working at Sanford C. Bernstein. Her cohort’s commitment to developing models that accurately described the real world and his willingness to push for the best possible solution were inspiring. One day he told her, “You are smart. You should come work at Bernstein.”

Peg was intrigued, but a bit concerned that she lacked an understanding of finance. Her studies were in pure math and applied math. To that point her cohort said, “Finance is just math. You’ll figure it out.”

Learning Finance through Experience and Collaboration
Peg was assigned to work with a group of financial advisors who managed money for Bernstein’s high net worth clients. Part of her role was to run statistical reports for clients. “Some of our clients were unusual trusts – such as nuclear decommissioning trusts. It was a challenge because the goal was to have enough money to decommission the plant but not extra because additional funds would have to be returned to utility customers. It was also interesting because it was a time when decommissioning trusts were finally allowed to be invested in stocks. “We spent a lot of time looking at the right level of volatility.”

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September 10th, 2014 | 6:00 am

The Future is Now: Seven Recommendations for Leadership Success

rsz_2goldnerGuest Contribution by Dr. Jane Goldner

In 2002, a colleague, Chris Gilliam, and I wrote a white paper about what big and small companies can learn from each other. During the research phase, we surfaced the book, Rethinking the Future by Rowan Gibson, published in 1998. Gibson predicted that there would be a world where:

• Competition will be fierce and markets will be merciless
• Small companies will outsmart giant corporations on a global scale
• Customers will have infinite access to products, services & information.

In our white paper, based on research and interviews of C-Suite and senior-level leaders, we made the following recommendations for business success in the world that Gibson predicted and has become reality. They are still good advice for leaders today.

1. CEOs must have a purpose/mission and a vision for her company; why does it exist and where is it going? Along with values, these two “must-haves” are the Core that provides unity across silos that gets everyone focused on corporate goals. Here is why you need a well-defined company Core:

• It’s the foundation for all your decision-making, your true north against which everything is assessed.
• It provides a clear, common focus and direction for everyone in your company as long as it is clearly communicated.

2. The CEO needs to know her own strengths and weaknesses in order to surround herself with people on the leadership team who bring different competencies to the table. Too often, leaders hire in their own image which magnifies both the hiring leader’s strengths as well as the weaknesses, which leads to less effective decisions. Different is good to avoid group think by getting varying points of view. Considering the talent pool today and wanting to win the talent war, you will need to hire with diversity in mind.

As you hire leaders, they should have the competencies that are dictated by the company Core. What skills, abilities, and characteristics does a leader need to work the mission, help the company move toward its vision, and act on the values?

3. Together, the leadership team must create a strategic framework, a plan for the future that provides a ‘picture frame’ for others in the company who can paint the picture of how the company will get there. The picture frame provides the limiting outer edges but also the freedom and creativity in the inner space for employees to do their best work. The Strategic Framework should be developed as a reflection of the company Core and remain a fluid document that is reviewed on an ongoing basis. What strategies, goals and actions do you need to take so that you are working the mission, moving toward the vision and acting on the values? It ought to be cascaded throughout the company so that:

• Everyone knows how they contribute and
• Can ask and answer the strategic thinking question: “How is what I am doing in my job today going to affect the company tomorrow?”

4. Based on the plan, core competencies need to be defined. What skills and abilities does the company need to get it successfully into the future? Global Leadership, cross-culture appreciation, technology savvy, and the ability to share or step-up to leadership are but a few examples. Gary Hamel, the most influential business consultant according to the Wall Street Journal & Fortune, said that

• In the future, “…every employee will have a Leadership score.”
• “…your company will be challenged to change in a way for which there is no precedent.”

In this fast-paced, lean organization environment, everyone needs to be a leader, even if it is a leader in their own job.

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September 9th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Three Top Tips to having a Thriving Career in your 20’s

iStock_000013311579XSmallBy Jessica Titlebaum understands that whilst you are building your career, you are also building and managing your life. So many of us are working harder than ever in our twenties and early thirties and we want to give you tips to find the balance between work and play.

Tip 1: Think about what job you want and the job after that one.
Rae Liu is a 28-year-old graduate student of Illinois Institute of Technology. She came to Chicago from China, where she grew up and where her parents were magazine editors.

Liu on the other hand was always interested in the financial services space. She heard Chicago had a healthy financial industry and liked the location, which is “on the shore of the 5 great lakes.”

After graduating with a Masters of Science in Finance, she reached out to her circle of friends and professors to assist her in her job search. After gaining intern experience preparing financial reports and analyzing consumer data, she landed a job as a risk analyst.

Two years later, Liu’s current company, which provides capital, expertise and infrastructure services, advertised an opening. The job entailed studying sales and marketing-related behaviors through customer insights and analytics. Liu applied for the job and received an offer.

Liu has been in her current role for about two years and enjoys the work. She believes she has found her dream job. Fortunately, the career challenges don’t end there. Liu wants to move up at the company and she is in the process of identifying her competitive edge and says she wants to go that extra mile.

“I am looking for projects that will help me gain experience,” she said. “I want to work with different parts of the organization to help me acquire more knowledge and grow professionally.”

When times get stressful, Liu said that it is important to have like-minded people to lean on.

“I still lean on friends when I get discouraged,” Liu said. “My support system is strong, driven and hardworking.”

Tip 2: Speak your truth and look for a promotion inside your current company.
Despite research citing that changing jobs is better for your career, it can also be a good strategy to have the confidence to speak to your employer about moving up at your current company. This was the case for Mary Traina author of book The 20-Something Guide to Getting It Together.

“I felt like I was chickening out because I was looking for the better job elsewhere but not speaking up where I was currently working,” she said. “I felt like I was in a rut.”

Traina who is a producer and writer for the SyFy Channel as well as a regular writer for HelloGiggles tells us what finally gave her the kick in the pants she needed to jump start her career

“When it comes to establishing your career, there are things you need to do but you don’t know what they are,” said Traina.

Traina herself cites that making pathways for other women is an important task and advises you to do it in any way that makes sense to you.

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September 8th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Voice of Experience: Deborah Ong, Partner, Risk & Quality Leader, Corporate Responsibility Leader, PwC Singapore

Welcome the The Glass Hammer’s “Spotlight on Asia” week! We will be highlighting successful women working in Asia all week long!

rsz_deborahongBy Irene Solaz

Deborah Ong believes that enjoying what you do will help you work efficiently, gain opportunities and rise up the ladder. “I’m very fortunate that I enjoy my line of work, and so I’m still in the same company I first joined as a graduate!”

“I joined the firm on graduation as a trainee and was fortunate to receive many opportunities during my early years to gain exposure and experience in the whole gamut of development – from general audit to more specialized internal and IPO-related audit, to liquidation, insolvency and investigation,” she explains.

“I am very happy I got to contribute significantly to the People journey at the firm. As Human Capital Leader for ten years, my team and I worked very closely with the business to identify and retain talent, train and develop them to the future leaders of the organization. Personally, I am a strong believer in nurturing talent through a coaching culture and I’m proud to say that our mentorship programme is still going strong today.”

Another leadership role she has acquired is PwC Singapore’s Risk & Quality Leader. She still holds this role, which gives her the responsibility to understand and assess the risks associated with each of their service offerings.

Ong describes her journey as colorful. “During my time as the firm’s Human Capital Leader, the firm saw significant shifts in managing the people agenda. I’m glad that I was able to champion the firm’s training and development programmes, and to personally facilitate and share my experience on how to deal with some of the practical challenges of being in the profession with managers and senior managers. I’m a firm believer of nurturing talent through coaching, and I hope that I was able to encourage ongoing growth and development.”

“Being the firm’s Risk & Quality Leader, it is my job to understand and assess the risks associated with each of our service offerings, and with each of our clients. This involves judgment, which is not an exact science but which requires a mix of technical skill and practical experience,” she explains. She has the opportunity to interact with clients and to learn how they view and assess risk, and how they help their businesses solve difficult scenarios.

Career Challenges
Ong believes that most of women’s challenges in this industry are based on time management because their work is organized in projects, which creates tight deadlines and time pressure. “At a certain stage, some women may feel the need to make a choice between career and other aspects of their life, such as family or children, and select to give up their careers.”

To overcome this challenge, Ong advises women to “have the right conversations within the organization with the right people, exploring alternative roles and/or work arrangements and for each person to be aware of the value they bring to the profession.”

She advises young women who are entering the industry to learn developing project management and people management skills. “In order to progress up the career ladder, the support of your team is crucial,” she explains. “You need talented people who can deliver results in a timely manner, and this involves significant investment into their development.”

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September 5th, 2014 | 6:00 am

Intrepid Woman: Dayle Haddon, Founder, WomenOne

Dayle1004_7MA10576007-0025 - Version 2By Hadley Catalano

Dayle Haddon is working to change the world, one woman at a time. The former model, of the 1970s and ‘80s L’Oréal and Estée Lauder fame, began with her own sovereign growth. An act that has helped reshape the cosmetic industry standards, challenged society-based definitions of ageless beauty, and culminated in a redefined commitment to active gratitude.

Haddon’s intrepid story of personal development began in Canada, where the Québécoise began her career with the ballet. She began modeling during her teenage years to help pay for her dance lessons and was soon discovered by Eileen Ford. The young Haddon pursued her modeling career in New York – even though her 5’7’’ frame and curly brunette look were starkly dissimilar from the early 1970s tall-blond beauty standards.

“I was always looking for ways to support myself, and it took me a long time to be successful,” explained Haddon, who was recently honored by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York as an extraordinary leader and role model. “However, at the height of my career, I was working with top magazines, top photographers, and had four major cosmetic contracts.”

While Haddon’s career wove through a variety of high-profile professions, including small acting roles for French and American films, she eventually settled in Paris with her husband and their young daughter. Then, unexpectedly in 1986 Haddon’s husband died, leaving her with little money or support. She returned to Los Angeles desperate to find work to support her teenage daughter.

“This was a life-changing event; losing someone close to me was a painful experience,” Haddon recalled. “But it was transformative. Challenges make you more than you are. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you handle it.”

Redefining Beauty
Starting over, Haddon found herself at the bottom of the ladder. At the age of 38, she was considered “over the hill,” and not desirable to modeling agencies or her former cosmetic employers. After having worked as a top model, only to be rejected by her profession, forced Haddon into a desk job as an office receptionist – an unexpected but didactic situation.

“It was good for me to recognize at the time that this was a humbling experience. I knew I wouldn’t stay there. If you give me an opportunity, I will work it. Challenges are there to build character and to grow.”

Haddon’s passion for women’s advocacy began as she struggled to climb the “glass walls” back into the beauty and fashion industry. She longed to break down the stereotypical age-image barriers and change the perception of “older woman” from inside the industry. She formulated a campaign and pitched major cosmetic labels the image of evolving, age-defying beauty. After many rejections Haddon landed a job as the face of Estée Lauder’s new anti-aging line and later became the spokeswoman for L’Oréal’s Age-Perfect skin care. The career move, the New York Times later quoted, “shattered age taboos,” and helped to launch the careers of models over 40.

“We were on the forefront of something different, and (at the time) most beauty companies hadn’t caught up yet,” Haddon explained of the early 1990’s beauty-from-within movement. “I researched in libraries and found information that explained that the 43 million female Baby Boomers felt they were more vital than generations before. So I started my own company, Dayle Haddon Concepts.”

For the next 20 years Haddon continued her work in the beauty industry, bringing progressive change to the industry and promoting awareness of the inner and outer beauty of all women. Through her personal company, her contributions to CBS’s The Early Show, the Huffington Post and many other publications, and with her two books, “Ageless Beauty” and “The 5 Principles of Ageless Living,” she has provided women an outlet to explore a balance between their health, beauty, and overall well-being.

A Model Activist
However, central to Haddon’s upbringing was the reinforced message to “give back,” and with her high visibility providing a public forum to elicit change, Haddon seized the opportunity to express her gratitude by pursuing a social justice agenda. She became a UNICEF Ambassador in 2008 and traveled to Darfur to interview women in the camps, visited earthquake-ravaged Haiti to vaccinate newborns, and brought home stories from Angola about the lack of medical equipment in rural clinics. She shared this information in lectures, wrote articles for publications, and helped to raise money for children’s issues worldwide.

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