When Robots Take Over the World: Artificial intelligence and robo-banking will dislodge 110 million full-time workers around the world by 2025 — and while that's a huge blow to banking jobs it is particularly significant for women in banking, says Christine Duhaime, a Toronto lawyer and founder of the Digital Finance Institute. It hasn't hit people yet, she said, but soon they'll realize bank teller jobs have lost to programmers and database administrators. And who loses? "We don't have enough women in the space, and there aren't enough teenagers thinking about it who are girls," Duhaime said, adding that women should be encouraged to pursue this field. "They can be part of the discussion, part of the driving force behind it, as opposed to what I'm really afraid is going to happen, which is they'll have no seat at the table in artificial intelligence for a whole lot of years. I don't think we want a society like that, but I think we'll get one if we don't change something quickly."
Outsourcing Innovation: Is the biggest opportunity for bankers outside the banks? Banks are "essentially... outsourcing innovation," Sallie Krawcheck says, by partnering with fintech startups that are much better at the innovation game than large institutional banks, whose collective culture tends to embody anything but simplification, inclusiveness and approachability. "The last real innovation that came out of a big bank was the ATM, Krawcheck said. "I remember that, after Citi had gotten through its latest round of regulatory issues, I remember the CEO at the time saying, 'Now it's time to innovate.' How do you do that? Just because you say it … doesn't mean it's easy."
Life Lessons from Ex-Bankers: Leave like you're never going back and grow up before you go big. Those are the things Maureen Sherry, former Bear Stearns managing director, and Shauna Mei, former Goldman Sachs banker, say they wish they had known before they left their Wall Street careers. "When you're walking out the door, don't keep one eye on the rear view mirror," said Sherry, who since leaving Bear has authored Opening Belle, a comedy about a woman juggling family life and a Wall Street career in 2007. "If you leave the corporate world with the attitude that it's all over between you two, your new career will get your full attention." Mei left Goldman to launch her own company, an online luxury marketplace called AHAlife. Her advice to new entrepreneurs is to focus on the product instead of the business. The corporate world teaches different skill sets than running a startup does (Blythe Masters and Sallie Krawcheck can attest to that). "A company is a like living person, first you have to grow up properly, know who you are and what defines you before you can decide who else you want in your life to help you continue to flourish," she said.
Reverse Culture Shock: Remember Sam Polk, the ex-banker who blasted Wall Street bro talk in a New York Times op-ed last month? He gave a wide-ranging interview this week about why he left Wall Street and life since then. He said to change (many) women's experience in finance, "we need to change the culture. And that requires men first understanding that inappropriate comments, even when no women are around, contribute to a negative, disrespectful, non-inclusive culture for women. The next step to the solution will be men speaking up and taking on responsibility for creating a more respectful culture towards women." In his original piece he said much of workplace sexism happens when women aren't in the room, and often comes from bosses in a form of male bonding that's culturally accepted and even expected.
Mary Ann Deignan, co-head of global equity capital markets at Bank of America, will soon join Lazard's corporate preparedness team to do activist and corporate governance advisory work. Deignan spent 11 years in equity capital markets, syndicate and institutional sales at B of A, then joined UBS for seven years, becoming head of America equity capital markets; she maintained that role when she rejoined B of A in 2011.
National Australia Bank has hired Michelle Toy as head of marketing and corporate affairs. She was formerly head of marketing and communications for the securities services business at BNP Paribas.
Old Dominion National Bank in McLean, Va., has hired Stephanie Lykins-Harvey, formerly of Cardinal Bank in McLean, as director of retail banking.
Tech Tools for Building Confidence: A startup called Variable Labs is tackling the gender pay gap with a virtual reality tool designed to train women to be more comfortable asking for the compensation they deserve. Its platform is a "360-degree, immersive, cinematic VR experience" that simulates salary negotiations in which women can practice pitching to and dealing with a resistant boss. Women still make 79 cents for every dollar earned by men — progress since 1964 when the average was 59 cents, but nevertheless concerning that there has been just a two-cent improvement in the last decade. A recent study found that just one in eight women negotiate, compared with one in two men.