Manage episode 253899097 series 1132024
On this week's podcast, Jean tackles the topic of how we can get more women to become active investors in our own lives, and how we can recognize if a career in investing is right for us. We sit down with Janet Cowell, the CEO of Girls Who Invest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing gender diversity in the investment management industry, where there simply aren’t enough women working today. Through educational programming, mentoring and internships, Girls Who Invest is on a mission to have 30% of the world’s investable capital managed by women by the year 2030.
Over the years, there have been a number of studies showing that diversely-governed organizations perform better and bring in better returns. "How you deploy capital is a very powerful industry," Janet says. "When it's deployed with more diverse teams, it performs even better." She goes on to say, "If Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Brothers & Sisters, they wouldn’t have ended the way they ended. They had no women on their board when they went bankrupt."
Janet says her experience over the years has taught her that women, finance, and education as a trifecta is extremely powerful, and that there are substantive ripple effects and positive collateral benefits when women manage money.
In order to get more women interested in investing as a profession, we have to get more women interested investing their own money, Janet says. Unfortunately, studies have shown that women tend to be less interested in math and science, because they often view these fields as being “for men.” Why? It’s embedded in so many different cultural aspects of our lives, both in America and in Europe, and is pervasive across all college campuses, no matter the region. Janet says she often hears the same stories from women who attend Auburn University in Alabama as she does from women who attend Harvard University in Massachusetts. “It’s amazing how it’s dispersed through our culture, these little micro-signals that this is not for you.”
Another hurdle Girls Who Invest is trying to cross is to help women understand what "finance" really is, and that it's about more than just getting a loan at your local commercial bank — it’s also venture capital, impact investing, and so much more. "We're working to expose them to the breadth of this industry, and the ways it can actually have impact in their own community and their lives," Janet says. "And we're building their confidence and saying, 'Okay, you’re interested, you can do this.' So much of investing is about telling a story.”
Janet also gives us a rundown on how Girls Who Invest works, and how interested applicants can get started. (Hint: Sophomore women at four-year universities across America, in all majors, are eligible to apply!) But beware, if you apply, you might be hooked — 80% of the women who graduate from a Girls Who Invest program stay in the finance world. This year, 180 women are projected to graduate from the program.
Jean and Janet also discuss how we can spur a greater interest in our own money, and how older women can get started in a career in finance. The pair also dish on how women can deal with industry-specific challenges when they’re pursuing a career in a male-dominated field. Janet gives us a crash course in how to handle difficult gender-based situations that we may encounter at work, and stresses the importance of using our voice, influencing upward, and having our own “cabinet” that can offer counsel when situations arise.
Then, in Mailbag, Jean and Kathryn tackle a question from a listener wondering how student loans impact your credit score. They also dive into a question about what to do with a pension plan from a previous employer, and which online savings accounts are best for a business owner. Lastly, in Thrive, Jean dishes on what to look for in a financial advisor, including what questions to ask and how to know if you’ve found the right fit.