24 Sep

Innovation

The Future of Finance is Female

Written By Michele Logan

Michele Logan holding the award for NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business Awards which recognizes women making a positive impact on New Jersey’s economy with their innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. See full story here.

 

The business community is striving for more diversity in board representation, including females that bring a unique school of thought, which ultimately results in a competitive advantage. Companies with diverse boards and workforces simply perform better. The financial sector, while coming later to the table on this issue, has now been moved by the data to get smart about how to create gender diversity, and it’s paying off.

Some of the big names in finance that are demanding diversity today include BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, State Street and Vanguard. The benefits of a diverse workforce include increased productivity, enhanced collaboration, inspired organizational dedication and a decrease in employee burnout. A Korn Ferry study showed that women outperform men in 11 of 12 key emotional intelligence competencies or soft skills that are needed in the workplace. The only soft skill that women did not score higher then men was emotional self-control, where no gender differences were observed.

 

Today, more women in financial services are enjoying longer, more satisfying and more senior-level careers. Diversity and inclusion isn’t just a clever idea. It’s critical to long term business success.

 

When I co-founded CompoSecure 20 years ago, I could only dream of the parity women are beginning to experience in our industry. CompoSecure has more than 700 employees, and today, we have women at the highest levels of the company as well as on the manufacturing floor. I credit our people for being the first to develop an entirely new category of premium financial cards that are now in demand in more than 20 countries. Millions of people around the world pull cards from their wallets that are made by CompoSecure because they’re sleek, well-designed and make the sound of luxury when they hit the table at a restaurant.  Our employees are critical to our growth and continued success. There is always an opportunity for advancement at CompoSecure. Employees can take advantage our our internal job posting program to apply for promotions or simply to learn a new skill.

My experience, like others, is that you can’t create gender or racial parity without a focused and purposeful effort.  At CompoSecure, we have made a commitment to recruitment and advancement practices to ensure diversity of thought from the boardroom to the manufacturing floor.

Throughout my career, there are a few things that have become my guiding principles that I encourage other women and people of color to consider adopting:

Be the change that you would like to see and foster that culture in whatever role you occupy at this moment. If you see something that you believe can be done better, faster, cheaper, then do it. Don’t wait for someone else, even a manager — a positive change will be applauded. Business is moving at a faster pace than at any other time in history, and being passive won’t get you ahead. Look for ways to build and nurture others. Help them to see their own potential.

Put yourself in other people’s shoes to better understand them. It is a good exercise for managers to step into the mind of their team members and understand the complexities and demands of their daily life and vice versa. Spending time on the manufacturing floor and talking to the people on the front lines is so important. Their challenges are my challenges. This approach also facilitates win-win situations for clients and vendors.

• Take chances. If you play it safe, you can’t make leaps and bounds in your career. I have counseled many entrepreneurs in our area to get out of their comfort zone and reach for their goals by taking bold steps, such as starting their own businesses. Be brave!

• Listen to your gut. It is also important to remember that when you get that feeling that something isn’t right, slow down and pay attention to that feeling. Your gut instincts are formed by experiences and knowledge. Is it fear or your instinct?

• Push yourself. Whether it’s an online class in coding, studying another language, playing a musical instrument or dedicating yourself to reading two books a month, ongoing learning is the key to success. Just like working out, our brains atrophy with the same tasks day in and day out. We have to mix up the exercise of our brain, which will spark understanding, innovation, happiness and ultimately lead to greater success in a career, regardless of what you do. Never give up learning.

My career in financial services has been rewarding and exciting. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to achieve success in business and still raise two wonderful kids. Yes, they tease me by saying the business is my third child. I love all my children.  Today, more women in financial services are enjoying longer, more satisfying and more senior-level careers. Diversity and inclusion isn’t just a clever idea. It’s critical to long term business success.

I want to hear about your journey.

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