For the last five years, Joan Shapiro Green has been helping women navigate the corporate maze at Bankers Trust New York Corp.
That would seem like a full-time job itself, but Ms. Green also toils about 70 hours a week as the president of BT Brokerage Corp., a wholly owned unit of Bankers Trust.
Between the two, she is a very busy woman. But navigating the shoals of banking can be tricky, and Ms. Green is committed to making it easier for the 7,000 women in the company.
"Several years ago, we began to ask ourselves what we could do to help each other and have more women in leadership positions," she said in a recent interview.
About half of Bankers Trust 14,000-member staff and 15% of its 600 managing directors are women.
"We wanted to do something, but we also wanted to do something within the decentralized and entrepreneurial culture of Bankers Trust."
To help women move up, Ms. Green began to allocate the little spare time she had five years ago to set up Bankers Trust Global Partnership Network for Women. Its goals are:
*Helping women understand the corporate environment.
*Assisting them in developing working relationships with others at Bankers Trust.
*Expanding their business horizons.
"We chose to focus on business issues, rather than soft issues such as maternity benefits and family and career," Ms. Green explained.
That may sound like a tall order for someone who is at her desk at 7 every morning and customarily works a 14-hour day. But it is obviously something that concerns Ms. Green and the 750 other women at Bankers Trust who participate in the network.
"Women's issues break down into several categories," she explained.
"First there's hiring, then training, and then promotion. Finally you have to confront the question of whether women are really being given leadership positions."
Although hiring practices have vastly improved since the mid-1980s, when women first began moving in sizable numbers into management at financial firms, some other issues remain unresolved, she said.
The question today, she added, is not whether women are being hired, but whether they are succeeding within the corporate culture.
To help women advance their careers, the partnership hosts a range of meetings and seminars on the financial world and networking.
The biggest annual event is the "Women on Wall Street Conference," which will be held Friday. Bankers Trust vice chairman Paul A. Volcker is scheduled as the main speaker, followed by a roster of other prominent financial services executives, including: Gay H. Evans, chairman of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and managing director at Bankers Trust International; Carole S. Berger, managing director and co- head of bank equity research at Salomon Brothers Inc.; and Jessica M. Bibliowicz, executive vice president and head of Smith Barney Mutual Funds.
Ms. Green draws a clear line between her own, mostly in-house, endeavors and broader professional forums, like the Financial Women's Association and New York Women's Agenda.
If she and others hadn't liked the culture to begin with at Bankers Trust, she emphasized, "we would have simply gone someplace else."
Occasionally, though, even she seems startled at the extent of her own success in developing an organization that now has so many women on its mailing list, both inside and outside Bankers Trust.
"You know, one of the surprising things we found out was that many of the relationships that developed out of our activities wound up becoming active business relationships," she observed.