Failure on the Front Line: Saying it is the right thing for all banks to do, New York's Amalgamated Bank announced plans to raise the minimum wage for its tellers to $15 an hour, as the industry battle over poorly paid tellers gains momentum. About 75% of the half million tellers across the U.S. make less than $15 an hour, according to a recent report by the National Employment Law Project. And most are women, as this American Prospect article points out. In New York, four in 10 bank tellers and their families rely on programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and housing and heating assistance; nationally, the ratio is one in three. "Many people hear about bank profits and lavish CEO compensation and assume that all jobs in banking pay well. But the reality is far different," Christine Owens, executive director of NELP, said in a statement. "Though they handle other people's money all day, many tellers struggle to survive on wages too low to sustain families."
Could Nasdaq's Next CEO Be a Woman?: Nasdaq president Adena Friedman has been particularly outspoken this week on her goal of becoming a CEO although whether she aims to do so at the stock exchange is ambiguous. "My long-term ambition is to be a CEO," but not for just any company, she said. "To be the best CEO you can be you have to be passionate about the business you're running." And she's passionate about hers. Friedman has spent more than 20 years at Nasdaq, where she began as an intern, according to this article charting her rise. In 2011 she resigned from the stock exchange as CFO to take the same role at the Carlyle Group. Many on Wall Street speculate that her return to Nasdaq as president last year suggests she's going to take over as CEO when Bob Greifeld makes his exit. If that happens, she would defy the industry trend of women rising through middle management only to fall off at the top often because of a lack of work-life balance. But Friedman says women should let go of worries about balance. "It's a matter of prioritizing your time so that outside of work you are there for the important things," she says.
Greener Banking Pastures: Citigroup's Courtney Lowrance and Valerie Smith are among the bankers who make sure their institutions consider environmental risks when making credit decisions a job that is increasing in importance and evolving in new directions. Lowrance says most of the attention in green banking is on staying away from climate aggravators like the coal business and getting more involved in sustainability projects like solar and wind, but the next frontier is making sure borrowers factor in how climate change might affect them. "Companies have to account for things like drought and extreme weather," says Lowrance, Citi's director of environmental and social risk management. This story is part of an American Banker special report that also looks at green banking initiatives at HSBC, KeyCorp and Wells Fargo.
Parent-Friendly Business Trips: New parents at the private equity firm KKR can now bring a child on business trips with them. KKR will cover the travel costs, hotel room and meals for children under age 1 as well as a nanny or other caretaker. It's part of an initiative to attract more diverse talent. KKR has also expanded paid leave time for primary caregivers from 12 to 16 weeks (Blackstone implemented this same measure in April) and launched a transition support program to help new parents reintegrate into work after leave. Research shows women in investment banking hold about 16% of senior positions; in venture capital, 15%. At KKR, 13% of senior professionals are women (three years ago, 6% were).By comparison, women account for 16% of senior roles at Blackstone and 14% at Carlyle.
Fitting Finance with Fashion: A small private equity firm, TSG Consumer Partners, is relying on its women to help push it into the fashion industry. Given that female executives interact with these same brands in their everyday lives, they have a keen eye for some real money-spinning fashion industry deals, according to managing director Jennifer Baxter Moser and TSG Fashion CEO Paula Sutter. "It's very different to have a personal experience with a brand or a category," Moser said. "We've been walking the store floors and living in these categories for a long time." TSG has about $3 billion in assets under management, so it is tiny compared to giants like Blackstone ($333 billion), Carlyle ($193 billion) and KKR ($101.6 billion). But half of TSG's top 12 execs are women.
Old National Bancorp in Evansville, Ind., has named Katherine White to its board. What might be interesting for other women to note is that White has served on Old National's advisory board for the Central Michigan region since last year. Susan Stautberg of WomenCorporateDirectors advises women who want to get on corporate boards to try the advisory board route as a stepping stone. White, 48, is a lieutenant colonel in the Michigan Army National Guard and law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Bank of Hawaii in Honolulu has hired Sheh Bertram as chief information officer. She previously spent 18 years at the $57.6 billion-asset Zions Bancorp. in Salt Lake City.
Regent Bank in Davie, Fla., has promoted Dawn Calder to the newly created position of chief credit officer. She was previously senior lending officer.
The marketplace lending company Social Finance Inc. (SoFi) has hired Pinterest's Joanne Bradford as chief operating officer. A veteran of tech and media companies, Bradford most recently was head of partnerships for the social media site Pinterest. She's also worked in marketing-related jobs at Yahoo, Microsoft, Demand Media and BusinessWeek, and served as president of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Total System Services (TSYS) has hired Patricia A. Watson to be chief information officer. Prior to joining the payment processor, Watson was global CIO for the Texas-based security and cash management firm The Brinks Co.
Lisa Shalett, formerly Goldman Sachs' head of brand marketing and digital strategy, is now chief marketing officer at digital media startup The Odyssey.
In Case You Missed It
Murphy's Mentees: Fidelity Investments president of personal investing, Kathleen Murphy, penned a LinkedIn post in praise of the women she mentors. She says they have given her a wealth of knowledge, inspiration and empowerment. Murphy, who has been one of American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Finance, has mentored women from challenged areas in the world like Palestine, Bangladesh, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Vietnam. "When you think about what these women in emerging countries face in their lives, it makes the things I deal with in my business, generally speaking, seem quite achievable," she said. "And their mission is not to just achieve success for themselves. It's to succeed for all women. They have a burning desire to pay it back to those who suffered before them. They're committed to blazing a trail, often under unimaginable conditions, so that future generations of women can succeed on their own terms."
Moving to the Front of the Bike: Female-only motorcycle collectives like the Miss-Fires in Brooklyn or the Litas in Utah are cropping up. Women who ride are using social media to share their values and often end up getting together, not so much to form clubs as to network. It's about "being on the front of the bike rather than being on the back of the bike, and establishing ourselves as strong women instead of in the background," said Lana MacNaughton, one of five women chosen by Harley-Davidson to take a cross-country ride that recreates a 1915 trip by mother-daughter team Avis and Effie Hotchkiss. Researchers say there's an ongoing barrier breakdown in sports and leisure. Some cite women's increasing financial independence from men as a contributing factor. Others say the emerging generation of women are more empowered to pursue what they want, whether in a career or personal interests.
Swimming Upstream: Women in Japan are now becoming sushi chefs. The job is a longstanding male-only domain, perhaps stemming from a belief that women's warmer body temperatures affect the taste of sushi they prepare. There are still too few women to count among the country's 35,000 sushi chefs, but one of them is Yuki Chidui, who manages an all-female sushi restaurant she opened in Tokyo in 2010. While she's put up with a lot of negativity from those who question her abilities and qualifications, she's still running her business her way, letting her food speak for itself. Sushi chef isn't the only job that's been off limits to women in Japan, which has an unimpressive record on gender equality. But in an effort to boost the economy, the government has set an ambitious goal for the private sector: to have women in 30% of leadership positions by 2020. Today only 8% of those roles are occupied by women in companies with 100 or more employees.
Men Against Child Marriages: A mostly-male women's rights advocacy group in Pakistan called Sujag Sansar Organization is using theater performance to raise awareness about the plight of girls in the country particularly victims of child marriages, who have a greater chance of dying in childbirth than adult women, are commonly discouraged from getting an education or working outside the home, and sometimes become victims of domestic violence if they're in a contentious marriage. Pakistani law requires a woman's consent to her partner, but that's rarely enforced and many young girls aren't even aware of that right. "These issues are basic issues that are keeping our society from progressing," said Mashooque Birhamani, Sujag's CEO. "The time will come when women will be empowered and they will replace men and work for their rights." About 70% of Sujag's board members and two thirds of its volunteers are male.
Also: Why women should be in charge of everything, according to the Stephen Colbert writing in (of all places) Glamour. He offers no advice on how to overcome the "manstitutionalized manvantages built into Americman manciety," just moral support and a few laughs.