Last week WCAN hosted its much anticipated Annual Conference at Goldman Sachs, and it was nothing short of a testament to black female excellence! Read on to find out what you missed!
The day kicked off with Kene Ejikeme, co-head of EMEA Equities Execution Sales-Trading and Execution trading businesses and co-head of the Firmwide Black Network at Goldman Sachs. An Engineering Graduate at Imperial College graduate and ex-professional rugby player, Kene shared with us his journey into the corporate environment.
After an offshore engineering internship and a career in professional Rugby, Kene found himself dissatisfied with his current position. At that point, he asked himself “What does a young, black, catholic, rugby playing engineer do with himself when he doesn’t know what to do?” The answer, work at Goldman Sachs of course. Kene expounds that his entry into Goldman was a result of a woman taking a chance on him, and further highlights the importance of networks such as ourselves to create pathways for others to get into the professional world like ourselves.
Following Kene's brief introduction, we welcomed to the stage Heather Melville OBE, an IBM business school graduate and a director of strategic partnerships and head of business inclusion initiatives at the Royal Bank of Scotland. In 2016/17, she was recognised in the Financial Times’ global outstanding executives. She was also winner of the 2016 Top 5 Rising Star champion for diversity. Heather is also a career coach and mentor.
Heather kicked off her speech by taking a room-wide selfie, uttering to the girls “I need to do this [stake selfie] because this is what the future looks like.”, sparking a thunderous applause and cheering from the ladies in the room. In her incredible speech to our ladies, Heather poignantly highlighted the importance of her role and that of others like her to champion diversity in large organisations.
She laboured the necessity to have women of colour in positions of power to mentor the following generation so their talents do not go unnoticed. In her own words, “I was one of the few women colour, now I look around myself, I see amazing, talented people of colour coming up as your mentors.” Throughout her speech, she emphasised the importance of authenticity and reflecting this wherever one was, be it amid friends or strangers; pointing out how authenticity influences one’s brand, and brand the opinion of others about you.
To continue with an already brilliant line-up of women, Yvonne Ike took to the stage to deliver yet another profound and inspirational speech. Yvonne Ike is a managing director and head of Sub Saharan Africa (Ex-RSA) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She has more than 20 years’ experience in financial services, including capital markets operations and fixed income, derivatives and equities products.
Over the course of her career, she has led senior teams in New York, Geneva, Hong Kong, Nigeria and South Africa. It was clear through her speech that Yvonne came here to do one thing with our girls, and that was to cause a paradigm shift in thought and action. She highlighted the importance of accountability, focus and diligence when pursuing one’s passion.
Her penetrating words could only be catalyst for change in the lives of our attendees. She certainly shook the room when she dropped this nugget “Do not run from where you are, run to where you want to be.” A reminder that obsession and diligence are necessary fuel to run this race called success, and fear; the great obstacle. You can find a list of all the quotable using our hashtags #WCANAnnualConference17 or #WCANConference17 (Seriously, we implore you to go through those hashtags. Your life will not remain the same).
Following Yvonne’s exhilarating speech, we had Ade Oshinloye of Capital Moments lead a brief session on commercial awareness. The session was also followed by a CV workshop led by WCAN founder Mariam Jimoh and Strategy Director Melanie Okuneye. Our attendees were given the opportunity to have a one-on-one CV health-check session with members of the WCAN team; offering assistance on how to make their CV industry specific.
Succeeding the CV session, we invited to the stage three amazing female entrepreneurs; Oyin Solebo of MoveMeBack, a global members-only community connecting leaders, influencers and top talent to unique and exciting opportunities in Africa; Abadesi Osunade of HustleCrew, a global careers community led by expert mentors; and Stephanie Onwunali of What’s Next Coach, a professional coaching services to help young professionals make life and career decisions with greater clarity.
The three entrepreneurs shared their career journeys. The three entrepreneurs shared their journey to starting their own business, explaining their transition from their old corporate roles to their new positions of leadership. The key lessons learned from their story were, the need for a change in mindset to effect change in action and attitude. Also, the importance of carefully outlining your business plan and preparing for change. The women also touched on how essential having a good network of investors is, and the power of self-belief and confidence in your product.
To end the day, we welcomed Sophie Chandauka to deliver an electrifying speech to our ladies on overcoming adversity. She is an executive director and EMEA chief administrative officer of the Legal and Compliance Division, at Morgan Stanley, and previously worked as senior corporate finance lawyer at Virgin Money and Baker & McKenzie advising significant multinational corporations.
Sophie has been shortlisted for the Women of the Future Awards, featured in Financial News’ editorial pick of 40 Rising Stars in the European legal profession, and recognized as one of the top 100 most influential Black Britons on the Power List 2014, “15 and “16.
Much like our previous keynote speakers, Sophie came with words of wisdom and encouragement for our ladies. Her message was to uplift and remind our ladies of the brilliance which resided within them and the tenacity with which they must pursue their dreams, forsaking that which diverts them from their goals. Sophie emphasized the importance of consistency to successfully build a brand and left us with five key tools to creating a strong brand:
1. Exceed expectations every time.
2. Demonstrate excellent commercial judgment.
3. Be responsible as a leader.
4. Be influential as an operator.
5. Be approachable as a person.
WCAN sat down with 4 wonderful young ladies - Sawida Magba Kamara, Jocelyn Longdon, Josephine Png and Safiatou Fomba - after the event to get their thoughts on the day, and here is what they had to say:
What were your expectations before attending the event, did we meet them?
Joselyn- "I feel like I had expectations that were branded by other schools and companies, it wasn't that it exceeded it was that it was completely different. It was a nice family atmosphere. It was inspiring to have people who look like me in the room, who are doing great things. Every one seemed to be doing something with themselves. There were lots of ambitious women around."
Sawida - "I've been to conferences everyday. Today exceeded expectations because the women looked like me and the women were so real. Yvonne talking about having a child and working and becoming who she is now, that was really moving. These women are real women, who have faced challenges and overcame. These women are really inspiring. When I came, I was in a place where I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life and listening to their stories made me feel like that's okay. It's okay to not have everything figured out. It left me with a peace that I can do this, whatever it will be, I can do it because people just like me have."
What was the highlight of the day for you?
Jocelyn & Sawida- "Listening to the women speak. They were just so real about everything. From the founder of WCAN to the guest speakers. They were very transparent about the professional ladder process. Listening to the biographies and realising the person behind the success. Being a genuine person, being clever has no exception."
Which of the WCAN Team members you've spoken to was your favourite?
Jocelyn & Sawida- Teju (This may have not been the true answer)
Sawida- "I also loved speaking to Melissa. I was crying because my unsureness about what I want to do was weighing down on me and I felt overwhelmed. She broke things down for me, and it was really nice to have her encourage me."
Where do you see yourself over the next few years?
Joselyn- "I want to complete my PhD in Quantum Physics; I love numbers! I also want to start my own business. I've got the idea down, I'm just planning and looking forward to executing it."
Sawida- "I want to find the role that will make me happy. I have a Youtube chanel called Queens of the Kingdom and I want to continue to influence young women in the faith."
What have you enjoyed most about the event?
Josephine- "I received proper advice on general and professional life. I personally enjoyed Sophie. Seeing so many black in higher places was a reminder. Heather talking about the opportunities that come your way. A lot of people are stuck to one direction. However, you should make your path colourful. She spoke about culpability and perception."
Sofiatou- "Sophie being an immigrant was absolutely relatable to me, as I'm also one. Sophie said you have to build your brand and reputation when I leave the room. When I go home I'm going to modify my social media."
What were the key lessons you took away from today?
Safiatou- "It's okay to fail. I strongly relate because I've applied to different roles and have faced a lot of rejection because of my immigration status, but I'm now determined more than ever to overcome them."
Which two women are your greatest inspiration?
Safiatou- "My mother, she's a good business woman who started with nothing in Burkina Faso. She selfless and always has time for us despite being so busy. I love Michelle Obama because she's smart and she empowers women."
Josephine- "My mum - because she's an incredibly strong woman. She's financed our education and works so hard and she has dedicated her life to us and empowered us. She is also very hardworking.
I also love Sophie is inspirational because she makes time for people even though she's the busiest person I know. I love the way she carries herself and there's something about her presence. She's someone who's absolutely about helping women. In the words of Heather Melville, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help others." Sophie is not like that. She really does care and wants to help."
How will you apply the lessons you've learned today to your lives?
Josephine- "Capital Moment's segment on commercial awareness was really important. I'm going ensure I set aside 15mins just to catch up on what's going on. Also the CV section; I'll be going home to adjust my CV."
Once again, we express our gratitude to the attendees, our panellists, and our keynote speakers, women with tremendous stories of their own, who all left our ladies with a message that renewed, revived and restored them. See you next year!
Last week, WCAN was proud to host its Evolution Conference at KMPG office in Canary Wharf. With over eighty girls age 15-18 in attendance and the contribution of keynote speakers and graduate panellists, it was a day packed full of shared wisdom, laughter, and empowerment.
We kicked off the day with a brief introduction from our KPMG representative, explaining to our girls who KPMG were, there position as one of the big four consulting firms in the market and the opportunities available to the girls at the firm should they consider a career in consulting.
The introduction was followed with a short ice breaker to ease our girls into the wonderful art of networking. Each young lady was assigned either the title of a popular song or the artist's name. Their task was to find their match and learn as much as they could about each other, with the winners getting a prize. The buzz filled the room as the young girls scurried across the room in search of their match, a sight which was both heart-warming and hilarious to see.
After the ladies settled into their seats, our host and WCAN team member, Natalie, kick started with a presentation to the ladies about choosing their careers and the importance of personal branding both online and offline. She highlighted the influence social media has on job opportunities and why it is important to carefully control the content they put out there, as their future employer may be watching or already are.
Up next was a grad panel comprising of recent and previous graduates from different university, with background in Engineering, Maths, Law, Economics, Media etc. Our girls posed questions to the panellists regarding their experience at university, their current careers, and navigating the workplace. There were many important questions raised and one which certainly took our panellists by surprise.
Following the grad panel, we took a short break then invited the girls back to do some personal statement and CV workshops with them. Natalie led another presentation on what makes a good or bad CV, and was later joined by myself to talk about UCAS and Clearing or Adjustment options on results day.
The day concluded with a presentation on interview skills and an incredible speech from our keynote speaker, Paris Petgrave, who shared her journey to success with the girls. Paris reminded the girls of the ingredients needed to succeed, and the importance of consistency and commitment. A woman of faith, Paris openly and poignantly shared how her faith had played a great part in her current success, and she encouraged our young girls to pursue faith where possible. She did not fail to highlight to the young girls the importance of hard work and networking as well. It was truly a memorable moment in the event, which was demonstrated by the rapturous applause received by the speaker.
The girls were led outside to explore the career and university stalls set up for them. Present were our sponsors, Citi, Accenture, KPMG, and Ashurst. We also had representatives from Oxford, Cambridge, and SOAS universities, all coming together to offer our girls insight into the world of work and university.
At the end of the day, I sat down with three of the attendees, Jemimah Asinwo, Hannah Falako and Ellise Gordon to find out their thoughts about the day:
The event truly was a success, and nothing short of inspirational for both the WCAN team and the young future leading-ladies who attended. They were reminded that failure does occur, however, this does not define them as beings. They were reminded that as black women, they can succeed in the professional environment regardless of the obstacles placed before them. They were inspired by the achievements of their now "Big Sisters" in the room. They were reminded that their dreams, big as they may be, are absolutely possible.
#WCANWednesdays is back ladies, and this time, we're serving you Florals, Peppermint teas, Champagne, Macarons, Finger foods, Rihanna in Commes des Garcons, and most importantly...our Summer Garden Party!
It's summer, it's [been] hot, the sun is [was] out, and the rococo sleeves, billowy skirts, bardot tops, and floral pants are out (see Rihanna in Wild Thoughts). It's only fair we treat you, our members and supporters to a great time with a lovely summer party at the charming Sanderson Hotel (see below).
Image: Inside the Sanderson Hotel. What a darling decor!
So ladies, we've sent you invites, you've bought your tickets, what next?
1. Black. Professional. Girl. Magic!
What better place to be than in a darling location surrounded by beautiful, excellent, charming, fashionable, intelligent black women. Be prepared to network, INFORMALLY or formally, whatever takes your fancy. Just remember you're there to have lots of fun!
2. Florals and Fashion.
Ladies, it's a Garden Party, so it's only fair that you bless us with with your different styles and take on summer. Will you be serving us Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the CIty, Michelle Obama realness, Rihanna in Commes Des Garcon extravaganza, or Solange coolness? Surprise us, wow us! Do note that I, Teju, will be coming to slay and snatch edges, so prepare yourselves for greatness.
Mood Board: Pink, Rihanna, Blue Ivy, Solange, Beyoncé. Created by @madetells
3. Drinks, Goodie Bags, Canapés & More Drinks!
2 words ladies: OPEN. BAR. I do feel sorry for any woman who turns up late. I have the liver of a basking shark, so I will have no problem drinking EVERYTHING. Yes my dears, I am that woman who holds a glass of red in one hand, and a glass of whisky in the other whilst sipping on an Espresso Martini. If you're a fellow drinker, I cannot wait to meet you. Fret not ladies, we shan't forget to satiate your hunger too. Expect cute, delicious, canapés being served on the day. Lastly, the Goodie Bags. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal to you the content of our Goodie bags, but it shall be worth it ladies!!
Mood Board: Sanderson Interior, Prosecco, Champagne Cocktails,,Summer Drinks, Created by @madetells
THINK FLORAL, THINK PINK, THINK PEACHY, THINK BLACK GIRL MAGIC, THINK CANAPE.
THINK GONE WITH THE WIND FABULOUS, THINK CHAMPAGNE, THINK GOODIE BAGS.
SUMMER GARDEN PARTY!
Last week, we were hosted by Rothschild & Co at their amazing office (see image below). Joining us to provide insight into finance and investments was the lovely Jade Vanriel, representatives from Rothschild's Private Wealth Division, as well as the founders, co-founders, and directors from MoneyFarm, Isabella Forum, LendInvest, MoneyGirl, and Onyx Property Consultants. So read on, and find out what you missed at our second Money Matters event!
Katherine Taylor (Director, Rothschild Private Wealth) kicked off the evening with a little history on the Rothschild Group. The Rothschild Group was founded by five brothers in Frankfurt, who were nudged by their father to go into Europe to discover their dreams.
One came to Manchester and established himself as a textiles merchant. However, he often faced trade issues given the political unrest at the time of his trade career. Instead, he decided to pursue a career in banking. He purchased a house next to the bank of England. the same land which now stands as the Rothschild's office in London, and has been the Rothschild's property for the past 200 years.
The company currently operates in 3 business areas; Global Finance, Merchant Banking, and Private Wealth. The bank has supported first generation wealth clients, hosted events such as WCAN's Money Matters for those who intend to learn more about investments, and created opportunities to enrich young people and provide them with experiences in the corporate world. Karen emphasised the company's primary focus is to help it's client build wealth, leaving us with a profound quote from the founding father:
"It takes a great deal of boldness and a great deal of caution to make a fortune, and when you have it, it takes ten times as much to keep it."
Next Paolo Galvani, Co-founder and Chairman of MoneyFarm, talked about his company, and gender differences in investments.
Prior to founding MoneyFarm, Paolo's first investment experience was in stocks in US markets, and equity. He highlights, that In order to invest, you must plan. You must nudge yourself. For example, planning to contribute 5% of your salary to investments BEFORE your next paycheck will most likely result in action, than trying to make that decision on your payday.
Paolo then talks about MoneyFarm, and the service it offers. He first explains the difference between large cap (market capitalization) and small cap investments. With large cap investments, there is less volatility and more stabilisation, whereas small cap investments have less liquid shares, more volatility, but higher returns. It can be very difficult to find people who will invest the small capital. MoneyFarm simplifies this by asking different questions to find the client's risk appetite and determine their risk profile. Their technology allows them to offer diversified investments regardless of the amount invested. MoneyFarm uses ETF portfolios for its clients and have ETF for bonds, equities ( which is the core of their products), enabling clients to have a diversified portfolio. They also have ISAs, and an upcoming Pensions project (check out their blog for more info).
When starting MoneyFarm, Paolo explains he thought women would be the best investors, however he came to identify a gap in his clientele. 80% of investors in UK are male, and there are less female investors in MoneyFarm Italy. On average women are paid £300 000 less than men. Family wise, women bear the weight, and this increases life expectancy. This should lead to a pro-active pension and investment activity with women, however this is not always the case. Financial independence is not common with their female clients, though they are incredibly successful professionals. Surprisingly, these women have their finances managed by either their husbands or their fathers becasue they perceive managing finances as being "complicated". Paolo believes it's time to change that, and advocates spreading awareness through MoneyFarm.
Paolo was joined by Esther Bortot (Rothschild Private Wealth) and Rod Lockhart (Managing Director, LendInvest) fo a panel discussion on investments tools.:
How relevant are the products to young women with less capital than average investors?
Very relevant. Having less capital does not mean you cannot invest with FinTech products. Put aside small amounts in a more structured way. Age gives you more advantage to take risks. which can result in higher return. You should also have savings plans as these are more effective for monthly contributions, than single injections. Although not all FinTech products may be suitable for young investors, you can still take invest through other means. One way is through tax efficiency. The ISA is a great tool, and you have an annual tax free allowance of £20000. Invest small amounts and let it grow over the long period, tax free. Use your ISAs!
How do you choose your investment plans?
It's good to assess track record of the company one is investing with. Look at costs carefully, and ensure they're being transparent. Also assess what your risk appetite is, and ensure you understand the product you're investing in.
Why don't young people invest?
The panel agreed that this is most likely due to a lack of awareness around investing. Also, marketing financial products is a sensitive area. Sometimes, young people aren't able to pass the on-boarding process, because they do not fit the criteria some investment companies are looking for. Companies cannot entice young people to invest in their products that aren't suited for them, and sometimes there isn't transparency around the products being sold which often deters young investors.
How do small companies build trust?
Have a great track record as a small company, build client relationships by providing exceptional service. In financial services business it's important to be financially sustainable. LendInvest are creating a product that can survive without LendInvest and have a contingency plan which enable investors to see results on their capital investments. Also, a lot of young people are deterred by the jargon. Jargon is a weapon to make things unclear about investments. Jargon can be used to separate people who know finance and those who need it. MoneyFarm has a blog dedicated to helping people understand jargon so do check it out!
Lastly, a panel discussion on Real Women and their Real Money Experiences. We were joined by Grace Ma, Co-founder of Isabella Forum, a peer to peer financial coaching network for women. An entrepreneur at heart, Grace initially worked in private banking advising bankers on how to use their money. She later developed the passion to help women better understand their finances; from this, Isabella Forum was conceived.
Also, on the panel was Ugo Arinzeh, Founder of Onyx Property Consultant. Her career journey began at Bank of Merrill Lynch, landed a role in corporate real estates in investment banking. Along the way, she started buying property which she really enjoyed, and proceeded to building a portfolio. After 10 years, she got the opportunity to work for Architect David Adjaye, which spurred her move to London. Here, she established Onyx Property Consulting.
Joining the panel was Jade Vanriel, A Youtuber, Law graduate. Jade bought first property last summer, at the age of 22. and took to Youtube to share her story, which has since gone viral. She also plans on launching property website too, to aid young people.
Finally, on the panel was Emma Flaherty, Founder at MoneyGirl, who currently works as a Recruitment Manager at a Redwall Consultancy, specialising in Wealth and Asset Management. She previously worked at EY where she realised the disconnect between women and personal finance management. Emma Founded MoneyGirl to bridge the knowledge gap between men and women, provide straight talking, jargon free personal finance information, and break down stigmas and fears associated with finance.
We asked the ladies to talk us through why property was their first investment choice, if it was, and how they did it.
Gemma: "From an investment perspective, you're putting all your capital into one asset that may not actually bring you results and that can be very risky. I kept pushing it back till rent costs got too high, and with Brexit, it was a good time to get into the market. I chose to buy smaller properties as it is less pressure and didn't feel as stretched. People should think about from both an emotional and financial perspective. What does it mean to them? When you rent it out, how much could it return for you? Will rental yield cover costs of mortgage?"
Ugo: "Owning a home is the American Dream. It is touted as the thing you do. However, not everyone should, and that's where people go wrong, they buy property and overstretch themselves, and don't know what to do when things go wrong. I systematically trained myself to invest i.e. matched funds from company, before pursuing property. Property isn't the only thing to invest in."
Jade: "I invested in property because of safety and security. Whilst at university, I decided owning my own property was a must, so I began aligning my finances to meet my goal of becoming a property owner. I didn't want to just buy a house, I wanted a project, something I could also invest my energy into. I never wanted to rent."
Emma: "We're all learning, buying property doesn't mean we are better than anyone in the audience. Investing in property requires sacrifice, and if you're willing to sacrifice and commit you will benefit from it as it is a worthwhile investment. I'm currently buying my second home, because I wanted security and stability, which has meant moving back into my parent's home, and saving aggressively (saving half of monthly salary)."
The key message from the ladies was to have an investment plan or savings plans, and commit to it. Do your research, property is not the only means of investment so explore other options like FinTech products! Lastly, take your time, and save/invest in your lane. Analyse your income and save within your means! You don't have to compare someone else's savings/investment journey to yours!
If you enjoyed our Money Matters event and would like us to host more of them, or perhaps other types of events please fill out our annual members survey and let us know!
Last week, WCAN was proud to host its first "Money Matters" event, which focused on insights to personal finance and investments! It was truly an insightful night, and for those who were unable to make it...read on to find out what you missed!
The evening kicked off with a brief introduction from Rochelle De Friend (COO at Turquoise, LSE Equity & Derivatives Market) on the importance of gender equality and representation in corporate spaces; also highlighting the support the London Stock Exchange Group has shown to various gender equality initiatives such as Women in ETFs, UN Global Compact, UN Women etc.
We then welcomed Charles Sekwalor (Co-founder, MoveMeBack) who shared with us his poignant career journey, the importance of building value in business, leaving us with 7 key messages to remember when making financial and investment decisions:
Up next was a panel discussion on "Insights Into Investment Tools", with Tracy Sambrook (CFO, Nutmeg), Biola Babawale (Sovereign Credit Analyst, Vanguard Group), and Emily Cassius (Partnership Associate, Crowdcube). Some of the key advice shared by our panellists regarding financial Do's and Don'ts included:
Our panel discussion was followed by a presentation from Shrey Kohli (Business Strategy, LSE) on a current project entitled "The Millennial Forum". The forum brings together millennials (nominated by wealth managers) to share their ideas on how to attract, and encourage a new generation of millennials to invest. On surveying the importance of investing to a group of millennials, it was discovered approximately 67% respondents did not regard investing as being important, whilst a smaller percentage recognised it as being "slightly relevant" to them. This, Shrey explains, can be linked to the upbringing of different millennials, and how accessible and coherent investment literature is for millennials. Finally, he encouraged our attendees to start considering investing, if they hadn't already.
Another panel discussion followed, with Ugo Arinzeh (Managing Director, Onyx Property Consultant) and Zehra Lewis-Wright (CEO, Property Investor chez ZLW Property Solutions) providing insight on "How To Get On The Property Ladder." The key messages included:
Our final panel discussion explored the journeys of four women who have made incredible financial and investment decisions and are now, in one way or another, trying to help others do the same. Our panel included, Oyin Solebo (Co-founder MoveMeBack), Bola Sol (Founder, Refined Currency), Jade Vanriel (Youtube Content Creator), and Paris Petgrave (Founding Partner, Rare Seed Capital).
After working at Goldman Sachs as an Asset Manager, Oyin Solebo found herself somewhat disillusioned with the corporate world and pursued different opportunities to add value in business; the result, MoveMeBack. Bola Sol, a Maths & Finance graduate and lifestyle blogger, on discovering how little her friends knew about personal finance and investments, founded Refined Currency to help bridge their knowledge gap, and assist them with making better financial decisions. Miss Vanriel purchased her first home at the age of 23, crediting her success to her diligence, and her strict parents who encouraged her to save aggressively. Much like Jade, Paris' successful ventures in property and investments can be traced back to strict parents who urged her to get on to the property ladder at age 18
The ladies expounded on their failures and successes, reminding us that getting on to the property ladder or investing isn't an easy feat. It is, however, worthwhile. Finally, they left us with a poignant message, to "invest in ourselves, for we are our greatest assets."