Women in Finance 2018
By Megan Knowles and Debbie French.
When Michael offered us the opportunity to head to Sydney for the Women in Finance Conference we jumped at the chance. The event was headlined by some of the biggest female names in the banking and finance industry and each presenter delivered an extremely powerful message.
The event was opened by Anna Bligh who discussed the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace and the irrefutable evidence that firms who embrace this concept, and especially the idea of cognitive diversity, enjoyed much stronger profit margins and return on their investments.
There are more CEOs named Peter leading ASX 200 companies then there are females.
There has been a lot in the media lately regarding the #MeToo campaign and Pay Parity but the overall message from the conference was that equality was about ensuring both women and men have the same support, the same opportunities, the same pay and the same access to workplace flexibility and family support at every level of the corporate ladder. We all know we need to push for more women at the top, but we also need to push for more men to have the support and processes in place to be able to take time to be with their family. It is about defying gender roles and ensuring we bring family and community into the workplace.
The Conference was at the ICC in Darling Harbour and we made the most of our trip away, sans children, by enjoying early morning swims in the hotel pool and dinner at some beautiful restaurants, including Luke Nguyen's Red Lantern in Darlinghurst.
However, it wasn’t all plain sailing, as lost wallets, rally driving taxi drivers and the complete closure of Sydney airport, prior to our departure on Friday night, kept us on our toes. We made the most of every minute though and used the unexpected extra day in Sydney as an opportunity to catch up on some retail therapy.
One of the highlights from the conference was a workshop on Body Language by Renee Bertuch, the Managing Director of Cannings Communications. A whopping 55% of our communication is done through body language alone and we were fascinated by Renee’s presentation and eagerly digested her tips on how to improve our presence and our communication through our own body language.
We also were really interested in the presentation by Beth Timmins and Camilla Cookie from Xinja, who are pioneering NeoBanking here in Australia. If you don’t know what Neobanking is, and we didn’t before last week, google it, because it is an exciting new concept that is changing the future of banking.
We both came back inspired and reenergised and exceptionally proud of our workplace. It was clear after speaking to women from all over Australia that we are incredibly lucky to work for somebody who is such an advocate for supporting all his staff and creating true equality in our work place. But beyond that, we are so proud to have developed our Freya Financial brand to actively promote solutions for specific financial hurdles that women face on their journey for financial freedom.
When asked at one point what we could take back to the office to begin the discussions for diversity and inclusivity in our workplace we were both proud to say that our boss was already championing these discussions.
If you or anybody you know would like to sit down to discuss some of these personal financial challenges then please contact Megan Knowles to make an appointment.